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first thing, i’m gonna paint the toothbrush red. i’m gonna quit my jalopy. i’m gonna whip up a few dead horses and put them out to passion. i’m gonna wash up on some distant score. first thing, i’m gonna get the expel outta dodge. i’m gonna run like the wound. i’m gonna wash away our skins. i’m gonna blow this icicle point, first thing. first thing i’m gonna do, i’m gonna freeze dry my clown wig. i’m gonna stumble under your breath. yeah, i’m gonna make like elvis and exit the gilding. i’m gonna spit out that taste of punch, then wash my mouth out with hope. are you kidding me? first thing, i’m gonna hit the toad, i’m gonna get down to brass tracks, i’m gonna head for the thrills, if it’s the last thing i do.
Evie Shockley is the author of semiautomatic (2017; finalist for the LA Times Book Prize and The Believer Poetry Award) and the new black (2011; winner of the 2012 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award), among other collections of poetry. She has also published a critical study, Renegade Poetics: Black Aesthetics and Formal Innovation in African American Poetry (2011). She is Associate Professor of English at Rutgers University–New Brunswick.
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