Saint Julian Press
Terry Lucas ~ Poet
Recorded Live on June 24, 2016 ~ Saint Julian Press Public Poetry Event ~ Performed by Doug Williams
O, ’66 Plymouth Valiant! In you will I put my trust.
Your chromed, Barracuda hood ornament leads me.
Your tuck ’n roll bucket seats comfort me.
Your 400-horsepower Hemi engine will save me
from being shamed by a Biscayne dragging Main Street.
Though I double-clutch down Red Mountain, I will not fear,
for your disc brakes and your Hurst shifter are with me.
Your tubular suspension protects me. Your roll bar
watches over me—a halo of Chrome-Moly black steel.
Your aluminum wheels and posi-traction rear end
will carry me from the Midwest to New Mexico.
Even though I cross-country to San Francisco,
I have no need for a motor hotel. In truck stop
parking lots your double bass exhaust is hushed,
while a waitress prepares a table before me of pork chops,
buttered toast, hash browns, and fried eggs sunny side up.
You anoint my hands with grease. The sweet smell
of gasoline will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the pleasures of your back seat forever.
Summer of ’63
Camping halfway up Abajo Mountain,
one ear pressed to my cold air mattress, one
to a Delmonico, six-transistor
radio: fifty thousand watts of sound
––K-O-M-A, Oklahoma City––
Johnny Dark interrupts the Rhythm
of the Rain, telling me just what a fool
I’ve been with the announcement: “Marilyn
found dead in bed at home.” At twelve years old,
how could I have known about the pleasure
and the pain born conjoined in the body
Hollywood? Till death do them part. Outside
my bivouac tent, black air huddles closer
to nodding fire, hushes its wheezing voice
as earth’s shadow leans against canvas skin
pulled tight across thin ribs with ropes and stakes,
squeezing out the light like white noise filtered
from a song, waves beamed across a nation:
The only girl I cared about has gone
away—along with her she took my heart.
“Psalm ’66” was previously published in Clementine Unbound and “Summer of ’63” was previously published in Diesel, The Anthology of the San Gabriel Valley Literary Festival.