from TUSKALOOSA KILLS
…I’ve lived my whole adult life by semesters. There is a micro- wave backstage where the stripper heats up a hot pocket. I think about being washed up like a starfish and having a kid test her pocketknife on my arm. Colorful dreams of Vegas and the big time leeching into an everyday routine of 64 ounces of drinking water. Got to make the desert seem fertile if you want to take their money. Las Loosa wouldn’t have been the smart choice if you’re intention is to strip people of their cash, but the poet’s decision must always be for inconvenience sake. We are all losers. Dropping out with no credits but still getting stuck with the bill. And an ankle tat. An ankle tat of the frat he pledged. A free advertisement every time he doesn’t wear socks with his penny
loafers. And a slight addiction to Adderall. Blackout loss of virginity. Memories of college to take back home and make epic. And a record. A minor in possession of what? I know. We the teachers know but rich parents won’t listen. It’s all got me talking about Ricardo’s knot, it’s got me talking again about how amigo would start hanging and purring with certain amigas and those amigas would start to jangle like amigo. A damn familia sound. And it wasn’t just amigas, it was also some estudiantes speaking with a hickish lilt. Catatonic tone come down from Jonathan Edwards having intertwined with Emily Dickinson. Puritan husbandry in a cold pastoral. Classic. Tuskaloosa going all glossolalia on me. Rollo. Nothing that lives is symmetrical. Like the Boobie Bungalow. Cause once you say it, you can’t take it back. Spoken words fluid like fluids in an unleaving verbal genetic stain.
Tuskaloosa Kills has the teeth of a saw. And the eyes of a wolf. It’s a patchwork prose back-and-forth—it’s a heady screwloose brew of marblemouth and jughead musings upon a famous football town with a clandestine literary history. Tuskaloosa Kills is a soapbox upon which McWaters and Smith howl of how humans make community and community unmakes humans. Think threads and scraps, interlaced and unraveling: how a yarn isn’t bellyached from one voice but through a spice-cabinet of voices—heard, misheard, remembered, misremembered, and echoing for one more round.
Abraham Smith is the author of four previous poetry collections. In 2015, he released Hick Poetics (Lost Roads Press), a co-edited anthology of contemporary rural American poetry and related essays. Destruction of Man, his book-length poem about farming, is forthcoming from Third Man Books.
Scott McWaters’ fiction has appeared in Caketrain, Carolina Quarterly, New Orleans Review, NANO Fiction, Relief Quarterly, Denver Quarterly, Pindeldyboz, Madison Review, The Florida Review, Quarter After Eight, Rio Grande Review, and Yemassee.