Block Party

Start Me Up! was what started it--Monica Litzkus from up 
the street got tight that afternoon so she put on Tattoo 
You cranked to the Max & anybody coming over to complain 
got handed a beer & invited to dance with Monica & Jason 
on the porch which situation inspired Bill & Sally Young 
to pull these old sawhorses out of their garage to block 
both ends of the street & the McIntosh girls crayoned up 
some signage BLOCK PARTY KEEP OUT UNLESS YOU’RE A DANCER 
which kept out nobody whatsoever it was the first spring 
afternoon warm enough to wear shorts & a T-shirt & Maria 
& Mary broke out some Prosecco & Steve Offenharz said he 
wanted to hear the Alabama Shakes & Fred D Hilton yelled 
HELL YES! & there was a breeze & somebody set up a grill 
& said he’d cook anything but tofu & Patty Corcoran made 
a salad big enough to feed all of Argentina & Leonardo’s 
sent in half a dozen pizzas & then the Shaws said they’d 
show people how to do the Lindy Hop if we could put Duke 
Ellington on Monica’s stereo & right here on South Flint 
Street we flipped back to the nineteen-twenties with the 
Shaws and the Steptos in their sixties stepping out like 
teenagers & the other dancers picked up the moves & even 
the spirit of the country back when we believed hope was 
reasonable things were getting better every day but then 
just to remind us which century we were living in Robert 
Perkins asked Ama Codjoe if she was a citizen & everyone 
got quiet somebody shut down the music & Ama walked away 
from him but of course he followed her & heckled & so we 
yelled at him but people took his side & so when Alberto 
Ruiz blew his referee’s whistle & everybody shut up & he 
yelled I INVITE YOU ALL TO GO HOME NOW BECAUSE OUR PARTY 
IS OVER we all did exactly what he said found our dishes 
and our kids headed home feeling ashamed but not knowing 
why & so kept quiet & entered our silent houses & locked 
the doors & told our kids to stop asking us how come the 
party ended when we were having a great time and so then 
we yelled HOW SHOULD WE KNOW ASK YOUR TEACHERS AT SCHOOL.


Originally from Ivanhoe, Virginia, David Huddle taught for
thirty-eight years at the University of Vermont, then served
three years as Distinguished Visiting Professor of Creative Writing
at Hollins University. He now teaches at the Bread Loaf School
of English, the Ranier Writing Workshop, and the Sewanee School
of Letters. Huddle’s writing has appeared in The New Yorker,
The American Scholar, Esquire, Harper’s, The Georgia Review,
and in  many other publications. His novel Nothing Can Make Me
Do This won the 2012 Library of Virginia Award for Fiction, and 
his collection Black Snake at the Family Reunion won the 2013 
PEN New England Award for Poetry.
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