Goodbye, Tuscaloosa

Goodbye bug line.
Goodbye Hackberry and Slash Pine.
Goodbye do what now,
Preciate it,
Preciatecha and all the lexicon that found its way into this Jersey mouth—
I may be a Yankee but at least I don’t act like one.

Goodbye train trestles and your impossibility,
goodbye soundchecks at the amphitheater on Sunday mornings.

Goodbye early morning bread bakes from the 15th Street Factory;
it was always cinnamon raisin day when I most needed it.

Goodbye Canterbury Apartments pool—
I carry your fence climbing scars with me like a chlorine’d promise

Goodbye to the biggest cactus in town,
glowing green like a cross in the night; much like Christianity, I never “got” it,
but I respect a messiah of messy nachos.

Goodbye to the good Dunkin and the bad Dunkin—
we all deserve a slow sweetness sometimes.

Goodbye 5am traffic to the Mercedes plant,
goodbye German women walking two-by-two as my grandmother once did.

Goodbye Waysider, where my grandmother’s ashes rest—once telling me she
only “ate grits in Alabama,”
goodbye ice machine graveyard, one of many places where the cold goes to die.

Goodbye Kenyan Drake can fly,
goodbye to looking to get some of it back.
goodbye making a man miss.

Goodbye what three sides

Goodbye Bama Bound dads, proud in their polos. I walk amongst you. I am not sure where Russell Hall is.

Goodbye Lemmy’s T-shirt,
Inshallah we will solve the world’s problems.

Goodbye Megan and Olivia, my son’s first loves—
may you be sorted in the right bucket by a deliberate hand.

Goodbye Patti.
Goodbye Zelda.
Goodbye waxed thread and a pockmarked table.

Goodbye Martone,
you told me about all of these places I had to go to
and now I have to go.

Goodbye student athletes—overworked and overtired,
I share in your exhaustion and joy.

Goodbye Sandy and Judge Jim,
goodbye Blue Dot Elephant Club,
goodbye new house smell for tired eyes.

Goodbye Starbucks workers on sorority row—
may the servers become the served in Valhalla.

Goodbye Rec Center basketball courts,
goodbye get it to the big man,
goodbye to my students witnessing me at my most vulnerable and sweat-stained.

Goodbye Free State of Northport,
may your hypothetical waterslide never run dry.

Goodbye Austin. Goodbye Sara. Goodbye Owen.
Metal, Wood, Bubble, Air, Crash, Heat, Flash, Quick.

Goodbye to all the places I’ve already said goodbye to:
Marquee Moon six times on the Pub jukebox daring Bear to hit skip.
Face down in cheap gin and margarita mix while El Tri force another draw.
The cold rush and eternal Christmas home of the Liver of Dixie.

Goodbye Beidler. Goodbye Zach. Goodbye Cecil. Goodbye Fluff.
Goodnight, goodnight, goodnight, goodnight.

Goodbye to the space between the tracks and the power box I traversed in the dark
after a poor shooting night in the hangar.
Goodbye to getting it done anyway sometimes.

Goodbye to the high school prom photos on the steps of the Gorgas House,
goodbye black-tarped day parties invisible to the naked eye.
Goodbye Wagon Wheel in all of its iterations,
I begrudge, but the song is fine.

Goodbye Bo,
I don’t know if the druids had saints,
but you were as sturdy as the oak trees
under which we performed our rituals—
I promise to keep it between the mayonnaise and the mustard.

Goodbye Target parking lot watching students in their Tuesday best while my son sleeps intermittently.
Goodbye Publix Heath Bar Cookies.

Goodbye Greensboro—the only heaven I believe in is Catfish Heaven,
baptize me in the mustard speckles of Archibald’s sauce.

Goodbye Ichiban babies,
goodbye crackled Hooligan’s speakerbox—
Tasha says to try to the fish.

Goodbye Bob,
the Coca-Cola and cashews of people,
the most quality product I’ve ever known.

Goodbye Friday fly-over practice—
thank you for only half-scaring the dog.

Goodbye propane topped with a cherry out near the rubber plant.

Goodbye December 12, 2017.
Goodbye Zion Baptist Polling Place.
Goodbye to the good trouble.

Goodbye Goldie the Robot,
eternally asleep and hot to the touch.

Goodbye polygons,
goodbye storms just over the Mississippi State line.
Goodbye hard rain.

Goodbye Bojangles apostle and the well-worn path to salvation.

Goodbye the last Lawson’s last living day,
goodbye Virgil Caine.
goodbye to all the anthems that only sound good within your hallowed walls.

Goodbye Mr. Tee, O Captain of late night seas—
thank you for being the anchor to this swaying ship.

Goodbye Forest Lake ducks.
Goodbye LG,
steadfast in how you rescue.

Goodbye FWP,
to love our students is to love their writing
and whatever form it takes.

Goodbye Melinda. Goodbye Jennifer. Goodbye Melissa.
You know where the skeletons are buried—
when it’s time to unearth them, send me an Outlook calendar invite.

Goodbye Hunter and no liquor night games,
goodbye to the crack of light that comes through the upper deck
as the sun sets on a November Saturday.

Goodbye C-High Band Practice swirling into my backyard—
let the kids play “Neck”.

Goodbye Ms. Terry, Maxxinista to the gods—
a bargain and a margarita for every one of your husband’s victories.

Goodbye to the all the magnolias I never climbed.
Goodbye river.
Goodbye, you.

Goodbye Deontay.
Goodbye fighting out of Tuscaloosa, Alabama,
but still fighting for Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Goodbye crooked sidewalks and flooded streets, until we meet again, give a roll tide to your folks and keep one for yourself. Goodbye, sweet home.

Brian Oliu
Brian Oliu
Featured Writer