James Huneycutt: Poetry: June 2021


Southern Legitimacy Statement: I was born in Confederacy’s Capitol Richmond, Virginia in 1960. By the 1970’s my family had moved to Petersburg, Virginia. I metal detected at Battlefield Park near a grown over ditch that was “The Crater.” Every so often some fool in Walnut Hill would put a parrot round they’d found detecting in his vice at home an start in with a hand held drill. Boom. We kids would wander in at night past the police tape and check out the demolished garage high on Panama Red. Later I got into street racing, survived that, and went on to college just when Petersburg started to unravel due to Brown and Williamson Tobacco shutting down, and the arrival of crack cocaine.

An Ode to Rebel Anthony of Rebco Machine Shop, Petersburg, Virginia 

Consider all Rebel’s done, and ask not 

“Wherefore and in what oil 

shall our main bearings be clothed?”

Consider instead the flowers of the field 

that push piebald crowns 

through rusted floorboards of Plymouth, 

Ford, and Olds, Chevy, Desoto, Lincoln, 

Pontiac, Opel, and Saab.

Consider the wondrous clamor of color 

drawn from tendrils and root hairs 

slaked by Prestone Antifreeze, 

Brake Fluid, and Type III ATF; 

then consider the source from which you flow. 

Late night cold sweats with pink Bolivian flakes 

urging him ever onward to new tweaks.

Sending his shadow-self inside your combustion chambers, 

Dervish diving down your connecting rods 

and whirling around crank bearings 

chanting and dispelling the friction demons, vibration demons, 

oil emulsifying demons 

licking their chops at your crank clearances. 

The cost! Oh, the cost. 

Rebel has sacrificed the very heart that beats 

beneath his ribs for your horsepower. 

Repeatedly he paralyzed his uvula, 

and gleefully dissolved sinus in freshly chopped yayo 

for an inch pound of your precious torque. 

When will you toss off the pathos of substandard rpm, 

and invite Rebel to loaf unfettered on your cam lobes: 

magnaflux your four-bolt main splayed cap block

and mic your piston ring gap.

His sufferings, his loneliness and agony 

dwell in the throes of your 12 bolt Positraction rear. 

Rebel careens you…he dreams of screaming sleepers, 

whispers oaths at low octane fuckwads, all for your sake. 

He has forsaken all 

except what makes you faster. 

Don’t destroy the shaman’s tweaks with a lousy ratchet twist. 

Exalt him with gears, smoldering sulfur dioxide, 

squeal of tire tread, heat of clutch. 

Lurch and hurl sheet metal, 

and tempered windshield glass 

ever faster, 

knowing his vouchsafed cries 

attend your quarter mile wonderment.

Skin it back 

then let it bleed.

Let it bleed as an offering to your Reb-powered top end cruiser.

Let it bleed as a gauntlet thrown at European/Japanese production muscle.

Let it bleed on windshields of carnivorous street rods.

Let it bleed for Chip, Wes, L.B., Dib, Kevin, and John :

for them your connecting rod clearances 

were more familiar than wifely ass.

Let it bleed for Reb’s long suffering

Sikh cardiologist Ravinder Kohli. 

When congestive heart failure

finally kills Reb

let VCU’s organ harvesting docs

collect the core charge 

on his coke-broke ticker,

part out a retina or two

and shit can the rest.

Let all that remains 

be your bucket seat

kicking your fool butt blue

when you drop the hammer at eight grand, 

and make the smoke enveloped rodder 

staged in the lane next to you

wonder who 

holeshot who.