Poetry by Tim Hunt

Read More: A brief interview with Tim Hunt

The Boy Enters the Record Store for the First Time and Buys John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton (Santa Rosa, CA, 1966)

In what seems so big you think it is a city,
There is a record shop, and you carefully park
The car you are now licensed to drive, feed
Your offering into the meter, and stand looking
Through the window at the cardboard squares:
Perry Como in a V-Neck and Dean Martin
With that connoisseur sensual look but all
Suave and hip as if he wants it just
For her.  You, though, are seeking
Other mysteries, and so, head bowed, you
Open the shop door and enter as if dipping
Your fingers in a bowl of water as Mikey does
When he goes to church and inside you study
The rack of teen albums as if wondering which candle
To light, and they let you go into a booth
As if you would confess if you knew how and there were
A priest, but instead you place the album
On the turntable bowing your head as if in
Prayer and the tiny speaker that looks down
Upon you is an electric sear as the guitar
Declares “I am” and in me “You are” and
“We are” and that light so bright the empty
Dark is not there, and there is no need
To confess, even if you knew how, and so
You rise and walk to the counter as if
Blessed or redeemed or one in something
And pay the money you have earned that week
So that each day after school and work
You can place your record player on the floor
Beside your bed to listen, parsing
The singer’s urging rasp as he imitates
The blues, but believing in the guitar—the
Stolen licks played with their own
Hurt and edge and hope as if they are
Real, and his, and so in a way they
Are his.  Just as they are, for then anyway,
Yours, too.

 

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Blues and Country Had a Baby; They Called It Rock & Roll (by which we understand why Elvis has not left the building)

The Book of Rock ’n’ Roll tells us that Elvis
Went up upon Mt. Sinai and the bush burned […]


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Blind Willie Johnson’s “Dark is the Night”

He looks into the blackness of his abyss,
Blind and black with unflinching faith,
As you teeter on the edge—the redemptive
Dread of the guitar
Keening forever in that final night.


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Tim Hunt’s publications include the collections Fault Lines (The Backwaters Press) and The Tao of Twang and Poem’s Poems & Other Poems (both CW Books). He has also been awarded the Chester H. Jones National Poetry Prize and thrice nominated for the Pushcart Prize. His scholarly publications include Kerouac’s Crooked Road: Development of a Fiction, The Textuality of Soulwork: Kerouac’s Quest for Spontaneous Prose, and The Collected Poetry of Robinson Jeffers.

Read More: A brief interview with Tim Hunt