. The Poet's Beat .

. The Poet's Beat .
"A working class citizen is apt to see this country for what it's worth... A miasma of interlocking variations on differing demographics and geographies unlike any other inhabited space in the world. The American Dream. The rolling footloose hills and the upstanding Apache badlands where criminals cut bread with priests and the children of Hollywood. I am no different. Yet I am still brazen enough to think that the world is a playground built by the rugged hands of a hard-working man in order that my fantasies be materialized." -- P.P. Vonnersdale

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Louisiana Born

Trying out some new homegrown spice...


I remember being born in the soft yellow guts of a bloated catfish,
Pushed into the dark recess of a rotten
     cypress stump with the rest of her pale brood,
Grasping at the new uncertainty of life,
Wrapped in those slimy gray whiskers and held against blubbery lips,
She whispered my name,
Lifted my head above the black skin of the swamp
     to be baptized in the shared blood of a thousand mosquitoes,
The fresh smell of rotten wood and stagnant water,
The guttural croon of antiquated alligators drunk on love,
Pregnant mother thunderclouds sickly purple and swollen,

The mill whistle sounds and mother calls us in for lunch,

Rice and gravy and pork and carrots and always mashed potatoes,
Homemade shoestring bows and twig-arrows left at the door,
Dirt under our toenails and in the creases of our necks,
Sunday morning sharp in clean clothes never worn elsewhere,
Displayed for local grandmothers who grin with someone else’s bright teeth,
Carving my name with a paper clip into the wood of the pew,
Stealing hidden glances at her sitting pretty with her parents
     but considering donuts after Mass just as earnestly,

I remember watching tug-boats churn through the deeply
     thick gumbo brown waters of the river,

Where my father would drown kittens we couldn’t afford to keep,
Worming my toes down into that malleable silt
     until I grew from the Earth itself,
Discarded trash from passing ships caught in the trees like
     silly Christmas ornaments,
Otters and lonely mallards circling one another in the eddies,
Abandoned rope swings where older kids had braved the cold mad currents,
The older kids that I would one day become,
The distant shore and the tree line of another world,
The levee at my back like an impenetrable wall against reality,

On the back porch a fiddle band plays ,

Fat fingers drumming on the upright bass to the
     swaying summer skirts of dark-eyed girls,
The electric lights and the pale blue moon
     bring sheen to the sweat on their faces,
We left the dance floor and I followed you into the sugarcane,
Those rows of sharp-edged stalks whistling like an ocean,
Kissing you on the soft dirt where armadillos
     sometimes find their evening meal,
Hungry for your lips and the taste of home,
Hart Kingsley and the Creole Cousins singing us to sleep in the distance,
Yapping coyotes hunting field rabbits to wake us in the morning.

1.2011


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