Hunka Hunka Howdee!

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Ain’t Got No Press
May 2019
Paperback
276 Pages
Hunka Hunka Howdee! Poems written in Memphis, Nashville and Louisville

Rick Lupert’s 23rd collection of poems and latest travelogue written on the go in Memphis, Nashville, and Louisville. Two music cities, the birthplace of rock and Roll, Martin Luther King’s final steps and barrels full of bourbon are no escape from Lupert’s keen poetic eye and wit.

“The best of these poems come close enough to being both seductive satire and genuinely sentimental encounters that you will want to linger with their wit…Lupert’s deftly sketched poems will help you keep “one foot each on and off / the beaten path” of skeptical wonder at the world’s on-going peculiarities.”

–Bill Mohr, author of The Headwaters of Nirvana,
and HOLDOUTS: The Los Angeles Poetry Renaissance 1948-1992

“Being a Memphian I was particularly enthralled by how much of my city he captures in his short, beguiling lines. This delightful collection is a trip with such a charming guide you’ll want to take it over and over.”

–Corey Mesler, author of Madstones and Memphis Movie


Poetry from Hunka Hunka Howdee!


Labels

Addie is in a labeling frenzy
applying Jude’s name to every
artifact he is bringing to camp.

She offers to label his playing cards –
all fifty two of them. He politely declines
which sends me into a panic

wondering where I can get
replacement spades and jacks.
As best I can tell they only

come in complete sets –
Like the one we’re about to
split up for twelve days.

He’ll be on horses and wearing
all-white a couple times a week.
We’ll need to leave most of

the bourbon where we found it.
I’m going to put a label on his
forehead and foot.

We can always get another
deck of cards, but this trio
is irreplaceable.


The Mississippi Delta is Shining Like a National Guitar

I’ve never woken up in Memphis before and already
there’s a hangover of sorts. I’m going to need the day

to flush out Los Angeles. First on the docket is
buying a postcard with a picture of ducks on it.

Second, breakfast at a place that chases the sun.
The amount of humidity is fist fighting with the

available oxygen, and we’re putting on all the
loose clothing. We’re detaching our hair from

our heads. We’ve got biscuits in our future.
Addie just wants to rock and roll all night, which

is a hell of thing to see this early in the morning.
We are going to Graceland.


Hatch Show

We tour the Hatch Show gallery
and print shop where they tell us
advertising without posters
is like fishing without worms and
negative space is held with furniture.
We operate a printing press.
We take our posters home.
We cover our poetry books with
what they taught us.


Breaking News

I’m not sure where Addie is.
Either she’s been kidnapped
or she’s gone to the powder room.
More as the situation develops.


Nightcap

I’m having an Elmer T Lee shot of straight bourbon,
expensive and rare to find, except the time our waiter
found it at a Stop and Go.

They will not stamp my Bourbon Trail Passport here
at the historic Seelbach Bar where presidents have stayed
and sipped, where the lobby staircase has a reputation of its own.

But with over one hundred and fifty bourbons available,
I am authorized to add my own travel visas.
He brings us the bottle so we can see Elmer.

It’s the bartender’s favorite to pour because of the way
the shape of the bottle feels in his hands. He displays a lot of trust
by leaving the bottle at the table.

At twenty-eight dollars a pour we feel a little like criminals.
Criminals like the ones who used the tunnels under this
building whenever they needed.

That was so long ago and, speaking of time, the ducks at
the Peabody feels like it was a long time ago. I’ll never get used to
the passage of time