Claudia Ann Seaman Awards for Young Writers, 2017, Poetry
2nd Honorable Mention: Valery Tarco, Newark New Jersey
My sunglasses favor sepia roads;
darling, do not drive me muddy.
I have salt-sour cashews in glovebox
but not droves needed to pave
GPS sings of you: my shotgun
sun-patch. My honeydew.
Arriving by – too many
cashews past Cincy, past
My fuel light clicks on.
I stir hard oil past the
state line. When I cannot pawn
this steering wheel, flea-bitten
motel has a room, all mine.
Soiled by morning, by polar
valentines – no MasterCard
sleeps in this wallet.
My sunglasses, you see I see,
are doctor’s mandate. 20/40
right eye. 20/200 l e f t
home in search of haven.
Brambles in my rearview.
Will you etch me in your eulogy,
if I run out of gas? If the pundit
idles the Shell attendant, will you
forgive my inefficacy?
Already I am a salvage yard’s muddy;
darling, do not reroute me.
Professor Chapman writes: The archetypal abandon of the road trip poem finds its way into the very DNA of the language in this sound-oriented ride of disordered senses. “I have salt-sour cashews in glovebox/ but not droves needed to pave/ belly potholes,” we learn in the beginning, and from then on we know to keep our eyes, ears and tastebuds open, for there are more aural and visual adventures to come. My single favorite bit is “I stir hard oil past the/ state line,” which captures both the ordeal and the thrill of so many real experiences.