I got this old car
runs great
but it’s got no hood ornament
Some beer-gorged ‘kicker
twisted it off soon after I bought it
so I’ve always wished I
had another hood ornament to
replace it
Something eye-catching
like a rocketship
or a cow skull
or a sphinx
So today I’m prowling the junkyards
in the scalding summer heat
choking through clouds of dust
fingers scorched by hot rusted metal
The yard is a maze of discarded freezers
towers of cubed cars
sandblasted trailers
ancient cranes
and miles of useless pipes and tubing
There is a mountain of broken toys
a desert of smashed radios
a canyon of fenders and tailgates
The old man who runs the yard
has dyed red hair
and wears overalls with
"Keep on Truckin’" patches on them
Inside his grungy office
he keeps faded photos of his grandkids
and sells unreadable romances
and scratched 45s
After 96 minutes
I find my hood ornament
It is a howling wolf
carved from glacial ice
so cold it will never melt
It reflects and refracts
every beam of light into spiraling rainbows
The old man sells it to me for
a buck-fifty
and I drive away
with a cool breeze in my face

In Filipino vernacular, to "salvage" someone means to murder them, usually by kidnapping said person, shooting them in the back of the head, and dumping the body a couple of kilometers out of town.

Salvagings are usually committed by criminal elements, street gangs, communist rebels, vigilantes, military personnel, or even local police. A common occurence in rural and urban areas alike. Witnesses to major cases (especially cases brought against powerful politicians or high-ranking officers) have a nasty habit of becoming salvage victims. A favorite of vigilantes would be stringing the bodies up on lampposts, wearing signs that said "Pusher kami, huwag tularan" ("We are pushers, don't end up like us").

The grass lot in front of my high school used to be a favorite dumping ground for salvage victims, especially during the Marcos dictatorship, when I happened to attend classes there. You'd wake up one morning and there'd be a severed human head sitting in front of the school gates, neatly wrapped in a clear plastic bag. Sometimes it'd be an arm or a leg, sticking out of the bushes (hopefully, with the rest of the body attached). It'd gotten so bad that we'd hardly noticed, calmly informing school authorities that this morning, there was another one out there, and could they please clean it up before they start to stink?.

Yes, this is all true. I am not making this up. Ask anybody who's lived under a repressive Third World dictatorship, and rejoice in your good fortune.

Sal"vage (?; 48), n. [F. salvage, OF. salver to save, F. sauver, fr. L. salvare. See Save.]


The act of saving a vessel, goods, or life, goods, or life, from perils of the sea.

Salvage of life from a british ship, or a foreign ship in British waters, ranks before salvage of goods. Encyc. Brit.

2. MaritimeLaw (a)

The compensation allowed to persons who voluntarily assist in saving a ship or her cargo from peril.


That part of the property that survives the peril and is saved.

Kent. Abbot.


© Webster 1913.

Sal"vage, a. & n.





© Webster 1913.

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