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By Kevin Young

Crashing
again—Basquiat
sends fenders


& letters headlong
into each other
the future. Fusion.


AAAAAAAAAAA.


Big Bang. The Big
Apple, Atom’s
behind him—


no sirens
in sight. His career
of careening


since—at six—
playing stickball
a car stole


his spleen. Blind
sided. Move
along folks—nothing


to see here. Driven,
does two Caddys
colliding, biting


the dust he’s begun
to snort. Hit
& run. Red


Cross—the pill-pale
ambulance, inside
out, he hitched


to the hospital.
Joy ride. Hot
wired. O the rush


before the wreck—


each Cadillac,
a Titanic,
an iceberg that’s met


its match—cabin
flooded
like an engine,


drawing even
dark Shine
from below deck.


FLATS FIX. Chop


shop. Body work
while-u-wait. In situ
the spleen


or lien, anterior view—
removed. Given
Gray’s Anatomy


by his mother for recovery—


151. Reflexion of spleen
turned forwards
& to the right, like


pages of a book—
Basquiat pulled
into orbit


with tide, the moon
gold as a tooth,
a hubcap gleaming,


gleaned—Shine
swimming for land,
somewhere solid


to spin his own obit.


Kevin Young, "Cadillac Moon" from To Repel Ghosts. Copyright © 2001 by Kevin Young. Reprinted with the permission of Zoland Books/Steerforth Press.

Source: To Repel Ghosts (Zoland Books, 2001)

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Poet Bio

Kevin Young
Kevin Young was born in Lincoln, Nebraska. He studied under Seamus Heaney and Lucie Brock-Broido at Harvard University and, while a student there, became a member of the Dark Room Collective, a community of African American writers. “I feel like a poem is made up of poetic and unpoetic language, or unexpected language,” Young said in a 2006 interview with Ploughshares. “I think there are many other vernaculars, whether it’s the vernacular of the blues, or the vernacular of visual art, the sort of living language of the everyday.” For roughly a decade, Young was the Atticus Haygood Professor of Creative Writing and English and curator of Literary Collections and the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library at Emory University. Young is the poetry editor of the New Yorker and the director of New York Public Library's Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. See More By This Poet

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