Whitewalls  Mudflaps
Late night howling down
   a dark dirt road   Headlights 
killed and so the world gone 
   black but for the two blunts 
lit  illuminating Jojo’s fake gold
   grin    One girl each  screaming
from the backseat  we raced
   the red moon  rawdogged
the stars   His mama’s car
   my daddy’s gun   Public Enemy
Number One   Seventeen and
   simple  we wannabe hard-
rocks threw rudeboy fingers
   and gang signs at the sky
Blinded by the hot smoke
   rising like the sirens
in the subwoofers   blinded
   by the crotchfunk rising
from all our eager selves   We
   mashed in perfect murk   a city
block’s length  at least
   toward God   toward God
knows what  when  or why   
   neither Jojo nor I  nor our 
two dates screaming   had a clue 
   or even care   what the black 
ahead held

                        Come road
   come night   come blackness
and the cold   Come havoc
   come mayhem   Come down
God   and see us   Come
   bloodshot moon running
alongside the ride  as if
   to warn us away from  as if
to run us straight into   some
   jagged tooth and jackal-throated
roadside ditch

                         When Jojo 
   gunned the gas  we pushed into
that night like a nest of sleeping 
   jaybirds  shaken loose and 
plunging    Between our screams
   a hush so heavy   we could
almost hear what was waiting
   in the dark





From Kontemporary Amerikan Poetry (Four Way Books, 2020). Copyright © 2020 by John Murillo. Used with the permission of the poet.