Winner 2012 Copperdome Poetry Chapbook Contest
After Larry Levis
I hear it mostly in the deep
guttural tailpipes of Fords & Chevys
revving out of a Friday afternoon
high school parking lot in a small New Mexican desert
town–Sunset Avenue pulsing
like a neck vein that leads to the heart
of downtown, where Main Street pumps cars all night
stop light to stop light between the A&W
and the Tasty-Freeze, engines overheating
then finally boiling over in ice-patched two a.m.
driveways, cooling down with the ticking sounds
of shrinking metal, re-buckling of belts, re-hooking of bras.
I’d like to talk to the boys behind the wheels,
the girls curled up on humps between bucket seats;
I’d like to tell them there is nothing out here
in two thousand twelve except what they bring with them,
how they should climb out and start packing–
the juniper’s needle-leaves, never pressed
between pages of a Bible, the scorpion’s breath
exhaled through abdominal stigmata, sand swept
from sagebrush roots, lifted by the twisting fist of a dust devil,
all collecting in luggaged silence–I’d like to tell them
how there will always be enough falling
brimstone, lakes of fire, flaming bushes,
wilted flowers, how there will always be enough gods
to punish them for putting their tongues to the warm clay,
to turn them to salt for glancing back while walking away,
how, when asked “where are you?” “what have you done?”
“who told you that you were naked?” what they will need most
will be to learn to love the questions.
Terry Lucas is an award-winning poet and essayist. His chapbook, Altar Call, was a winner in the San Gabriel Valley Literary Festival chapbook contest, and is published in the anthology, Diesel. His chapbook, If They Have Ears To Hear, won the Copperdome Chapbook Contest from Southeast Missouri State University Press. He won the 2012 Littoral Press Poetry Prize and, among other honors, his poems have garnered four Pushcart Prize nominations. Terry’s work has been published in numerous journals including Best New Poets 2012, Great River Review, Green Mountains Review, Grain Magazine, New Millennium Writings and The Comstock Review, among many others. His essay, Metaphor and Love in the Poetry of Alicia Ostriker, is forthcoming in a future volume of the Under Discussion Series by the University of Michigan Press. Terry grew up in New Mexico and resides in northern California. He is Associate Editor for Trio House Press.