WHO IS "MY LORD OF CARS"?

Because my home page carries a dedication of the tantra and karezza portion of this web site to My Lord of Cars, i receive e-mail queries fairly frequently asking, "Who is 'My Lord of Cars'?" The answer is...

During the 10th-12th century in India a movement arose called Virasaivism, which means "heroic worship of Siva." The Virasaivites were wandering ascetics who adored the god Siva (also spelled Shiva). They performed all manner of strange feats and acted kooky. They wrote poetry, the first blank verse in history, and their reason for writing in blank verse was that Siva, as the god of chaos and destruction, would not particularly like tightly rhymed verse. These Virasivite poems were called "vacanas," a word which comes from the same root as the English word "vacant," as in "blank" verse.

Each of these poets had a "signature name" for Siva, that is, each of them addressed their entire output of poetry to him in a name that only he or she used. To one he was "My Lord of Meeting Rivers," to another, "My Lord of Caves." Some of these poets are only known by the signature-names they gave Siva, their own names having been forgotten. Others, like the female author Mahadeviakka, are quite well known to this day. (Mahadevi's signature-name for Siva was "My Lord White As Jasmine" and she was notable for going naked, clothed only in her long hair.)

I am not a in any sense of the word a Hindu, nor am i culturally Indian, but i do worship the deity that i personally recognize as Siva. Many years ago, i started thinking about what it was in this "Siva" that i liked best, and i realized that it was the way men tinker with their vehicles. (Realizing this made me smile because in the Hindu religion, each deity is iconographically identifiable by the animal upon which he or she rides -- and these symbolic beasts are technically known as "vehicles," a term that never ceases to amuse me.)

Due to my poor eyesight, i cannot drive a car myself and each of my partners have been, in the words of the great old blues song by Memphis Minnie, my "chauffeur." Since the word chauffeur comes from the French word for "stoker" (as in one who stokes a boiler), the double entendre is doubly delicious to my ears. The strange truth is that i have been married a couple of times and have been in a couple of other long-term relationships and numerous short-term ones -- and all the guys i have ever loved deeply have owned vintage cars or custom cars or both. When i was in Junior High, i dated a boy named Jim who belonged to a car club called the Torque Masters. Tom Hall and i had a 1940 Chevy panel truck and a 1947 Chrysler New Yorker coupe. Peter Yronwode and i owned two 1950 Studebaker pick-up trucks and a 1940 2 1/2 ton Dodge flatbed truck called The Wheat King. Barrance C. Lespine had at various times a 1948 Hudson coupe, a 1949 chopped and channelled Mercury, and a 1953 Buick sedan. Dean Mullaney and i drove a 1953 Volvo PV 444 DS coupe. Et cetera. I just like guys who drive old cars.


Here's a fake-vacana-style poem i wrote in 1995 for Peter, my co-parent, ex-partner, and still good friend, about an incident that happened in 1972. We were long-haired hippies then, with a year-old baby daughter, hauling a load of Toggenburg goats from the Missouri Ozarks to California...


FOR PETER ON HIS 50TH
A MEMORY

my Lord of Cars
your radiator boils;
pull in, pull in

the wooden-sided station
flanked by frying weeds
where gas is cheap
and oil
flat sunlight
heat

don't touch it yet
you'll burn yourself
it's not a leak
you hear that squeak?
yes, i did too
the belt is shot

sure, help yourself
the soda's in the fridge
just leave the quarter on the --

ain't it hot?
that fan don't hardly do a thing
but move the air around
some little bit

no problem --
if we have a belt that size
old vehicles like this
there ain't much call for --
hey! it looks like you're in luck

you wouldn't want to sell that truck?


In that poem, Peter is the incarnation of My Lord of Cars, but there have been others before and after him in my life. My current chauffeur is a man whose very NAME incorporates that of my beloved Lord of Cars -- he is tyagi nagasiva. (No, this was not planned; yes, it was an "amazing coincidence." Not only that, when i met tyagi, he lived on a street called Ironwood Drive, which is how my last name, yronwode, is pronounced. Crazy? Yes! Fate? I think so.) The vehicle in which my dear nagasiva drives me is a funky beater -- a 1985 Nissan Sentra station wagon -- but we are turning it into a religiously-themed art car and i have plans to acquire something more suitable soon, probably a 1940 Chevy pickup truck. If you have one for sale in driveable condition at a reasonable price, send me email.

Well, like they say -- that explains it, but the explanation may not make much sense...

Thanks for asking.


For more on vintage trucks, kool kustoms, and street rods, you'll want to cruise these wonderful web sites:

  • Rumpsville
    This is where i got the lovely photo at the top of the page of Tom Kelly The Crazy Painter in one of his vehicles. Also be sure to check out the beautiful George Barris shop truck that Von Dutch painted and pin-striped in 1957. Good stuff! (Richard Reesman)

  • The Stovebolt "Down Home" Page
    A fabulous multi-page site devoted to pre-1947 Cheverolet and GMC farm trucks and light commercial vehicles, both hotrods and originals. This is where the picture above of Bart and Chris Owens' 1940 Chevy 1/2-ton pickup came from. (John C. Milliman)

  • Kustoms.com / The Big Blue Car
    A lovely lead sled layout (mostly Mercs) that is both well organized and well written. This site is notable for the many fine photos of heavily customized 1949-51 era cars snapped at shows, and for the useful page of links to other rod and kustom web sites. This is where i picked up the image of David R. Stromberger's "Virtual Merc" shown directly above. (Mel Klimas)

  • Americruise
    In 1996 a caravan of venerable street rods cruised from San Francisco to Lincoln, Nebraska, and here are the pictures to prove it. Be sure to check out the photo of Boyd Coddington's "chase car." I laughed out loud!!! (Boulder Bob Stauffacher)

  • Street Rod Page
    They are roddin' in Canada, folks, out in the ice and snow. This is a nice site with plenty of good pics, nostalgic memories, and links to more cool Calgary cruisin' action than you ever knew existed. (Michael Siewert)



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