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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)

  • Nature
  • Social Commentaries

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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