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Post Road Magazine #34

Screaming Jay Hawkins Esperanto

Jim Daniels

Hawkins fathered many children by many women. About fifty-five were known (or suspected) upon his death, and upon investigation, that number soon became perhaps seventy-five offspring.

In the scrawled chaos of a Cleveland club,
he shouts out to a daughter
he hasn’t seen in thirty years.

Old man in leopard skin, hopped
with props, mumbles dated dirty jokes,
caveman comedian, novelty act for half-
bored half-hipsters, diamond needle
grinding deep into old grooves.

His smudged signature
I Put a Spell on You

rages against the nightly need
to fulfill the promise of the spell:
black paint splashes against
neon fire reversed at high speed
grating knuckles, torn skin
and the blood, and the sucking
of the blood, fist in the mouth
and the spiked surprise of grief,
lightning strike in the campground
of camp, the torn page of novelty’s legacy,
the extended ripping, dark swirl drowning,
the wonder of the one-hit, the bar eerie
as all get-out.

Last call, winter ashing the dim-lit parking lot.
The trailing poison of a car that won’t wait.
A voice stranded in the dark,
a daughter who had to pay to see him.

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