Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Joan E. Bauer: Get Your Kicks

The dawning of my restless youth. Route 66. 
Tod & Buz as Harvard & Hell’s Kitchen. 
Shot in black & white in Butte & Cleveland, 
Punta Gorda, Carlsbad, Corpus Christi.  
 
Writing by Stirling Siliphant: '10 Drops of Water,' 
'Ever Ride the Waves in Oklahoma.'
Acting legends: Buster Keaton, Julie Newmar, 
Bob Duval, Sessue Hayakawa. 
            
In 'Goodbye Pittsburgh...Hello World'
Buz & Tod cruise past the Fort Pitt Tunnel 
but get drawn back to gather Ethel Waters’ 
old jazz friends before she dies in Pittsburgh. 
 
Jazz greats Roy Eldridge, Coleman Hawkins 
& when else did you ever see them on TV
as black people with real lives in the Sixties? 
 
In tenth grade, our English teacher told us:
Just do a project for the year don’t bother me  
so I wrote a full-length script for Tod & Buz 
& it was lame but what I learned: 
 
Sure, it would be great to be winsome 
Inger Stevens or that earthy Zohra Lambert, 
but maybe kicks enough to write the stories. 
 
This August my niece Holly will drive 
the Mother Road. She’s a writer & I say: 
Don’t miss anything: not cornfields, chili fries, 
maple syrup farms, not the Big Texan 
 
Steak House in dusty Amarillo, or the boho 
coffee houses, tattoo bars in Albuque—
or La Posada where Einstein & Gary Cooper 
stayed in Winslow, Arizona. But not together. 

--

Copyright 2020 Joan E. Bauer. A version of this
poem was previously published in Iconoclast.

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