Joan Jobe Smith: Two Poems

Joan Jobe Smith, founding editor of Pearl and Bukowski Review, worked 7 years as a go-go girl before graduating from CSULB and the UCI MFA Program. Since 1950 her art, poetry, prose, cooking columns, memoirs and reviews have been published in more than 1000 literary journals, newspapers, anthologies–and one billboard when she was age 9 and won a Red Cross Safety Poster contest with her rhyming aphorism: “Always wait for the green/And you will become a Safety Queen.” With her poet husband Fred Voss she has done 7 reading tours of UK and Scotland, debuting at Aldeburgh Poetry Festival, 1991, and last appearing 2012 at the Hull Literature Festival and the Betsey Trotwood pub in London. Her UK-published poetry collection THE POW WOW CAFE was a finalist for the 1999 Forward Prize. A Pushcart honoree with 23 poetry books (including 2 cookbooks), her award-winning work has recently appeared in AMBIT (UK), Swallow Dance, Chiron Review, Nerve Cowboy, Like A Girl, Circe’s Lament, Ladyland: Litteratur Feminine Americaine (France) and the Silver Birch Poetry Series. Her 2012 literary profile Charles Bukowski: Epic Glottis: His Art & His Women (& me) and her 2014 memoir Tales of An Ancient Go-Go Girl are available via and for sale @ Gatsby’s Books and Fingerprints, in Long Beach, California. Fall, 2016, the New York Quarterly will publish her selected/new poetry Moonglow a Go-Go.


Moonglow á Go-Go

Come on baby, it’s June!
Dance us to the moon!
Light our fire, smite our dire while I swoon
seeing you in your blue suede shoes, white
sport coat and a pink carnation, me in my tight
tight red dress, high heel sneakers so we can go-
go shake rattle and roll, rock around the clock as
you drive your cherry-cherry pie Buick 69 fast
past Route 66, the yellow rose of Texas, gals in
Kalamazoo, Mississippi mud, New York, New York,
beyond the sea, smoke upon the water, blue heaven
and the twelfth of never somewhere over the rainbows.
Only you can love me tender, dance me where stardust
trombones moan us weightless as we sway sambas
cha-cha high and low-down in outer space with Mars
Saturn and Jupiter in our face, the stars a tiara prize
in my hair, moonglow á go-go in your devil moon eyes
as we fox trot a boogie-woogie wa-wa-wa-Watusi sighs
and do-wop and be-bop-a-lula like a sister Lucy.
Call me li’l’ Darlin’, kiss me once, kiss me twice my
60-minute man as saxes slap our backsides.
Waltz me in the Milky Way, far-out and out of sight
tango, dip me a total eclipse as our backbones slip
and you light my fire, smite my dire, kiss again my lips
begin the beguine dancing me, prancing me, enchanting me
crooning and spooning me April and May and June
all the way to
the moon.


O, Jim, look up there, in the air

on that building across from Fingerprints there
on 4th Street in Long Beach, California—June, 2016:
it’s YOU, Jim Morrison, from 1967, flying in the stucco sky
jet-plane, propelled by a mysterious mojo-rising
a levitating Oracle breaking on through
to the other side as you, Jim, in that old Jim Coke photo,
sing, scream, and zing and zap in that microphone so long ago.
I didn’t like you back then, Jim, in 1967,
nagging me to light your fire. I wanted heaven
with Elvis loving me tender, wanting me, needing me,
Tony Bennett wooing me with his When Joanna Loved Me
Frank Sinatra longing for me because he got me
under his skin but you, Jim, you called me an L.A. Woman
so alone, so alone, my hair burning, told me about heartache
and the loss of god, how faces look ugly
when you’re strange. Was I strange, Jim, back then? Yes, and Why:
I was a go-go girl when all the good women were housewives
baked cookies for their babies on their Sears Kenmore gas ranges
while I, one in 5, tried to get out alive
with killers on the road with brains squirming like toads
because that no-good man had done left me with nothing but a
fine-tooth comb and no milk in the refrigerator, the rent due.
O, Jim, you were no hanky-panky Frankie, no, no.
Nor did you leave your heart in my San Francisco
but you never called me a Hound Dog, didn’t think me cruel
so I forgive you now, Jim, in 2016, 50 years later
as I watch you, Flying Jim Morrison, up there in the air, breaking
on through to the other side where death makes angels of us all,
finally breaking through to me because I’m old and grown up now
and can take it now, Jim, take it how you told me The Truth, not lies–
my very own write-on, right-on Mr. Mojo Rising.
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