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Everywhere Is Out of Town

by Kevin Young

 

for Maceo Parker & the JB Horns

Beanville. Tea
party. Five black cats
& a white boy. Chitlin
circuit. Gravy-colored suits,
preacher stripes. Didn’t
know you could buy
muttonchops these days.
Afros. Horns slung
round necks like giant
ladles. Dressing. Uptempo
blessing: Good God

everywhere! We bow our
heads before the band
lets loose. Drummer unknown
as a hymn’s third verse.
Older woman pushes toward
the front, catching the spirit
like the crazy lady at church
six scotches later. Communion

breath. Hands waving. Sweaty
face rags, post-sermon
mop, suicidal white girls crying
like the newly baptized. All that
water. Play it. Swing

it. Be suggestive. Request
“Chicken” & “Pass the Peas”
like we used to say. Have mercy!
Thanksgiving’s back in town

& we’re all crammed in the club white
as the walls of a church basement. Feet
impatient as forks. Only ten bucks
a plate for this leftover band. Thigh,
drumsticks, neck. Dark meat.

 

Kevin Young holds a Stegner Fellowship in Poetry at Stanford for 1992–94. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Callaloo, Kenyon Review, and Graham House Review. A member of the Dark Room writers’ collective in Boston, he is also co-founder and publisher of Fisted Pick Press, a fine-press poetry chapbook series. (1993)


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