About the Writer
Amorak Huey, a former newspaper editor and reporter, is author of the poetry collection Ha Ha Ha Thump (Sundress, 2015) and the chapbooks The Insomniac Circus (Hyacinth Girl, 2014) and A Map of the Farm Three Miles from the End of Happy Hollow Road (Porkbelly, forthcoming in 2016). He teaches writing at Grand Valley State University in Michigan. His poems appear in The Best American Poetry 2012, The Southern Review, The Collagist, Oxford American, The Los Angeles Review, and elsewhere.
HAPPY / HOLLOW
We exist down a road three miles from nowhere in particular, south of where we were born, north of one gulf, in the midst of others. So much blood in this dirt. So much green in the air: tornado season all year. Imagine a cedar tree taller than wind. Imagine a buffet of oaks: all the acorns we can gather and nothing to do with them. We are in such a hurry. We think places last forever. The view from here never changes. We should know better. There is no speed limit. There is no stop sign. Every hill has two crests. Every cloud casts a shadow. Every rock leaves a scar. We speak for ourselves.
EVERYTHING I KNOW ABOUT LIFE I LEARNED
FROM 1980S ACTION SHOWS
(after Jeanine Hall Gailey)
If convicted of a crime you did not commit,
make sure they let you keep the car you did not steal.
Cars matter in a world that’s cherry red and glistening,
that has its sleeves shoved to its elbows, sweatless,
eternally cool in the swamp of a Miami summer.
The synthesizer is the most magical of instruments,
is the soundtrack for any mood,
is the salt in the water, the bikini in the opening sequence,
the powder on the mirror at a glamorous party. You
will never attend parties like this. Every chase
ends in a warehouse, every warehouse
features a backroom that contains the tools and materials
needed to construct a handmade cannon
suitable for launching cabbages through the eye of a tank –
do not lock your enemies in this room
for they are clever and the hour is nearing an end.
Coincidence is an artform. You start
a decade at age ten, end it at twenty
and it’s only later you see how little you changed.
Time travel fits in your pocket, 60 minutes
is long enough to rule the world
and even a blank cartridge can kill.
Homicide detectives are rule-breakers
though most of them played in the NFL,
passwords are guessable,
living on a houseboat is a thing adults do
and the sky is full of helicopters.
Fear the mustache. Fear the tiny tiny shorts.
If the guest star has a gold medal it must be sweeps month.
Narrative must work in black and white –
color is a luxury and never lifelike.
There is no problem that can’t be contained in 15 inches
and three acts, no cliffhanger or commercial
that doesn’t make you hungry.
All you have to do is show up and watch. Every series
has the soul of a western, even the president
is made for TV, everyone else in the world
has money, all the names are ridiculous,
the last word is a laugh line.
Sometimes the star is replaced. Sometimes
the whole cast. You pretend not to notice. This is
the covenant you make with each new season
as the cars crash and the neon credits roll –
if Ponch is fungible, we all are.