SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT [1977]

Fall 2014 / Issue 96

Martin Arnold

A golden eagle landing on a midnight Trans Am.

Its big-blocked, American, eight-cylinder thunder

and lead-lined cloud of exhaust fumes mixed

with burning tire tread. That smuggler’s smile fueled

by a bootlegger’s truth: there’s public good detouring

pedantic rules. Kojak with a Kodak, choke and puke,

I got my 10 in the wind, your ass is grass and I’m gonna mow it. 

How vengeance pursued beyond reason’s jurisdiction

cuffs you to failure and ridicule. Ahead, missing bridges

only a desperado’s bravado can cross, roadblocks

evaded through the sanctuary of strangers. A wedding

in search of a bride. That you too can hitchhike from

unsatisfied’s altar when the Bandit arrives in tight jeans

with a ten-gallon lid he only removes for the one thing

he looks for in every pretty woman. And you’ll be free

if you can lose yourself in relentless movement, if you

can see carnations in the carnage of police cruisers

littering the future he cultivates in fame’s name.