Carl Nelson

"You know what jukin' is, don't you? You drink a little, then you drive a little, then you stop and dance for a while at a juke joint. Then you drink a little more and drive a little more, then stop at another juke joint. Then you just drink and drive."
– from “Orpheus Descending” by Tennessee Williams

Humid warm fragrance of honeysuckle
rushes through the side window
towards the road house hopping,
where breasts jiggle,
uglies bump, jamming horns squeal,
slack guitars slide,
and the jukebox jostles in the key of
bayou gators and Louisiana slumming,
hootch and running board conversation,
car trunk business and tire iron combat.

Evenings and even longer nights call
like nightingales from love’s black velvet box.
Where bald tires slung gravel across parking lot pull-outs,
they’d push in a quarter and the song would play,
“Maybeline,” who couldn’t be true.

“Caught her at the top of the hill
flying fast in a Coupe de Ville,”
some slick with her behind the wheel.
That woman was exquisite yearning.