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Poem of the Month

Barbara Hamby is the author of four poetry collections, including All-Night Lingo Tango and Babel, winner of the Donald Hall Prize in Poetry. Her book of linked stories, Lester Higata's 20th Century, received the 2010 Iowa Short Fiction Award/John Simmons Award. She also coedited an anthology of poetry, Seriously Funny, with her husband David Kirby. Hamby is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Kate Tufts Award, and numerous other honors. Her poems have been widely anthologized, including The Best American Poetry 2000, 2009, and 2010. She is Distinguished University Scholar at Florida State University, specializing in poetry and fiction.

APRIL 2014

From On the Street of Divine Love



Drive me to the edge in your Mambo Cadillac,
            turn left at the graveyard and gas that baby, the black
night ringing with its holy roller scream. I’ll clock
            you on the highway at three a.m., brother, amen, smack
the road as hard as we can, because I’m gonna crack
            the world in two, make a hoodoo soup with chicken necks,
a gumbo with a plutonium roux, a little snack
            before the dirt and jalapeño stew that will shuck
the skin right off your slinky hips, Mr. I’m-not-stuck
            in-a-middle-class-prison-with-someone-I-hate sack
of blues. Put on your highwire shoes, Mr. Right, and stick
            with me. I’m going nowhere fast, the burlesque
queen of this dim scene, I want to feel the wind, the Glock
            in my mouth, going south, down-by-the-riverside shock
of the view. Take me to Shingles Fried Chicken Shack
            in your Mambo Cadillac. I was gone, but I’m back
for good this time. I’ve taken a shine to daylight. Crank
            up that radio, baby, put on some dance music
and shake your moneymaker, honey, rev it up to mach
two. I’m talking to you, Mr. Magoo. Sit up, check
out that blonde with the leopard print tattoo. O she’ll lick
            the sugar right off your doughnut and bill you, too, speak
French while she do the do. Parlez-vous français? Okay, pick
            me up tonight at ten in your Mambo Cadillac                         
cause we got a date with the devil, so fill the tank
            with high-octane rhythm and blues, sugar cane, and shark
bait, too. We got some miles to cover, me and you, think
            Chile, Argentina, Peru. Take some time off work;
we’re gonna be gone a lot longer than a week
            or two. Is this D-day or Waterloo? White or black—
it’s up to you. We’ll be in Mexico tonight. Pack
            a razor, pack some glue. Things fall apart off the track,
and that’s where we’ll be, baby, in your Mambo Cadillac,
            cause you’re looking for love, but I’m looking for a wreck.


Copyright © 2014 Teresa Leo. All rights reserved.











© 2014 University of Pittsburgh Press. All rights reserved.