Joan Jobe Smith
  • Joan Jobe Smith
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  • My father refused to teach my mother
  • how to drive his car. He said it
  • wasn’t ladylike in 1949; a woman driver
  • was no better than a streetwalker. She was
  • to take the bus and be a good wife like
  • his mother was, so my mother took secret
  • driving lessons, the instructor man
  • coming every day in his grey sedan
  • to show her how to let out the clutch
  • just right so the car wouldn’t jerk, how
  • to work the choke and the radio, make
  • turn signals, arm bent up for right,
  • straight out for left, down for slow,
  • me in the backseat watching as we drove
  • the L.A. streets: Firestone, Rosemead,
  • Sunset Boulevard, Pico, La Brea and
  • Santa Fe and the day she got her driver’s
  • license she bought herself a green 1939
  • Ford coupe and waited in the front seat
  • in the driveway for my father to come home,
  • honked the horn at him when he arrived
  • and said Hey handsome, need a ride?

Joan Jobe Smith is the founding editor of the literary journals Pearl and Bukowski Review. She worked for seven years as a go-go girl in Southern California before receiving her BA from CSULB and MFA from UCI. Her literary profile, Charles Bukowski: Epic Glottis: His Art & His Women (& me), was recently published by Silver Birch Press, and her memoir Tales of An Ancient Go-Go Girl is forthcoming from World Parade Books. “Good Wives Don’t Drive” was included in a 2001 City Lights publication, Another City, edited by David Ulin, and will appear shortly in re(verb, a Long Beach-based literary journal.

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