Car Music By Marissa Michel

Car Music
After Hanif Abdurraqib

____settle into the cheap, aging leather seats of your silver Toyota
Let our bodies simmer in July heat
I am drowning
In sweat and so are you and so are
The children selling hot and bitter lemonade that costs too much
On a run-down street we pass by
We over the radio as usual
I want jazz
Jazz like Gillespie or Ella or
Chick Corea and his keyboard
Jazz like the songs my mother plays while she drinks
In sunlight on lazy Sunday mornings
As the curtains flutter to the dawning beat of a new day
____you don’t
You want to ____about
White nets and scorching pavement and burnt rubber
And how “Michael Jordan definitely pushed off” Bryon Russell
God referees should learn to do their damn jobs
I am listening to the poor engine along
While the air conditioner groans and heaves
____approaches its final hour
God knows it’s too hot to be driving around in this oven
Talking about nothing
I stare out the window and want to____
Because I am lost in the sky’s cerulean blue
And I worry I’ll never find myself again
I imagine it’d be nice to have wings right now
Until I watch as a flock of black birds drops to the earth
And pity them, their frail frames no match for this enduring sun
Presently, you are upset I said I don’t know
Anything about basketball
But you don’t know anything about____
Maybe that____a good thing
Maybe I am happy I don’t know anything about basketball
I know the empty air is____heavy so
I turn on the crackling radio
And you roll your eyes and keep on driving and don’t say
Even though the music is too____

*we argue and

talk and
mumble and
cry because silence is
too loud

*The quote in this piece is from the title of the poem It Is Maybe Time to Admit That Michael Jordan Definitely Pushed Off by Hanif Abdurraqib.

By Marissa Michel


Marissa Michel is a second generation American of Haitian and Puerto Rican heritage. She served as the 2020 Prince George’s County Youth Poet Laureate. In 2020 she received multiple national gold medals for poetry in the Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards, and an American Voice nomination. She was also the recipient of the 2020 Diaz-Mattison Poetry Prize. Her newest works can be found in the Scholastic Arts and Writing Online Gallery, Love Letters To the Mothers and Fathers of the African Diaspora, and the Bridgewater International Poetry Festival. More information about her can be found on

Leave a Reply