Home > Poetry > Everywhere Is Out of Town
Published: Thu Apr 15 1993
Diego Isaias Hernández Méndez, Convertiendse en Characoteles / Sorcerers Changing into Their Animal Forms (detail), 2013, oil on canvas. Arte Maya Tz’utujil Collection.
Everywhere Is Out of Town

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.

See what's inside AGNI 37

Kevin Young is the author of six books of poetry, including Black Maria (Knopf, 2007) and most recently, The Art of Losing: Poems of Grief and Handling (Bloomsbury, 2010), and editor of five others, including Dear Darkness, winner of the Southern Independent Booksellers Award in poetry, and Jelly Roll: A Blues (2003), a finalist for the National Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and winner of the Paterson Poetry Prize. His anthology The Art of Losing: Poems of Grief and Healing appeared in March 2010; his book The Grey Album won the 2010 Graywolf Nonfiction Prize and is forthcoming in 2012. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Callaloo, AGNIKenyon 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. Young is the Atticus Haygood Professor of Creative Writing and English and curator of Literary Collections and the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library at Emory University. (updated 10/2010)

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