Sugar Baby

This entry is part 27 of 34 in the series Breakdown: The Banjo Poems


I had total recall. I was
loitering at a strip mall
on the outskirts of town,
replaying Dock Boggs’
“Sugar Baby” in my head
note for note as I heard it
the first time, before I knew
what was coming next—
the red rocking chair,
the every dime.
Streetlights flickered on,
& they were a new kind
of streetlight that turned people
transparent, like ghosts
as they hurried from car
to store & store to car.
Every third person
was talking to someone
in their hand, saying
I’m in the parking lot &
Do you want the plain rice
or the fried?
I noticed there were those
who said honey
& those who said sugar,
but white or brown, they all
had something sticky
to keep solitude at bay.
I began wishing
I’d heard the song
from the master himself
so I could taste it too,
raw & unrefined.
I wouldn’t have to take
rides in cop cars.
My feet would find
their way to some
sweet home.

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

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