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Tony Hoagland

Tony Hoagland

Tony Hoagland's most recent collection of poems, Unincorporated Persons in the Late Honda Dynasty, was published by Graywolf Press in February 2010. His four other books of poetry include What Narcissism Means to Me (2003) and Real Sofistikashun: Essays on Poetry and Craft (2006). He teaches in the graduate writing program at the University of Houston. His Five Powers of Poetry, a weekend intensive seminar on teaching poetry, intended for teachers of all kinds, is held in different cities three or four times a year.

His Majesty

What does His Majesty Mr.-Boombox-In-My-Jeep think
as he drives the beach road every night, at two AM,  

under the bleached shell of the summer moon,
assaulting all the houses with his rude tunes?  

Is that boom-boom-boom a cry for help? Is it the kill song of a hunting shark, or
is that a neuro-limbic-node-blastoma I detect

spreading like junk food through the cheap        
software of the American soul?

Atilla the Hun, in your combat-camouflaged new Jeep,
white boy pretending to be black, or underprivileged, or street,

driving slow enough to wreck the sleep of these
retired, pajama-wearing citizens,  
                                                     what is wrong with you?  

I bet I'm not the only one to hope his vehicle might flip
at the zigzag bend of the canal

and toss him headfirst in the swamp
where the dreadlocked mangrove roots

will seek and suck the Rastafarian right out of him.

Oh peaceful, divine Florida night,
mesmeric waves shimmering with lunar light,          

jazzy with the June bugs and cicadas and the surf,
Won't you rise up now and shake and take your beauty back?

Won't you inflict the human condition with a big flat tire
or write it a ticket for two thousand years of disturbing the peace?

Won't you make the little people all just sit down for a minute
and button their big fat traps,  and listen to the music

of the spacious frightening concert of the living, never-ending night?


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