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poem of the week

Poets in CHILDREN REMEMBER THEIR FATHERS are aptly represented by Paul Hunter, winner of Washington Governor's
Book Award in 2005 for his collection,
Breaking Ground, published by Silverfish Press.

In addition to creating and performing poetry, Paul operates Woodworks Letterpress, publishing many well-known poets in
beautiful hardcover or saddlestiched books.

The poem he reads here is "Hotwire," from page 46 of CHILDREN REMEMBER THEIR FATHERS.

Click to hear Paul Hunter read



When I was big enough to finally kick his ass
one night I rolled in late
my daddy threw my car keys in the creek
I guess to see once and for all
if I would take him on or what

The car was mine I'd earned it all myself
and I stood there seventeen shaking
my fists like a couple balls a snakes
thinking thou shalt not shalt not
It was like that Sunday morning

I was thirteen when
he'd got up out of bed and took
the guitar from my lap
a tired old thing that wouldn't stay in tune
I was sure wailing away at

said boy you make my head hurt
and twisted it in half
with a wheeze like shredded wheat
hawked and spit
and went on back to sleep

and I sat there fingering
the bones and whatnot
then fed it in the stove machines and all
where it took a couple days
to burn completely up

so when he held out that big hand
and flipped my keys over his shoulder
and said there now you got
something to say boy spit it out
here was the chance I'd dreamed of

but somehow couldn't stomach
shook my head to try and clear it
then he laughed and said nowadays
you kids got it so easy
time somebody rubbed your nose in it

and started poking at me
with that iron finger
till I broke and ran straight at him
spun him quick and pinned his arms
stuck my chin in his back and waltzed him

and for a while boy was he hopping
said you let me go now let me go you hear me
but my arms were locked around him
still as death and frozen hard
as a noose pulled deep in its own self

Finally we fell down and quieted
and he begun to shake a little
told me how his daddy used to knock
him ass over teakettle for saying
the least little thing at the dinner table

and I could never tell why
he'd come up to my bedroom
after all he'd said and done
so wrong like it was nothing
in the dark later on and try to hold me

then I turned loose and
got up from the dirt and found a flashlight
and hunted till the batteries gave out
and the creek ate my good shoes
and the sun came up

then he stepped out in the bright light
squinting hard and tried to help me
hotwire the damn thing
so I could get the hell out of there
and somehow between us figured where

to reach up behind the dash
for that handful of blind sparks
and pull a couple down and lay them bare
and twist and touch
just the right ones together

LINK TO Paul Hunter's WOODWORKS Letterpress

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