Carrying the Poison

* Inspired by the Bruce Springsteen song “Highway Patrolman”

We was raised on a family farm way out of town

sharecroppin’ wasn’t easy but the lifeblood we found

two boys, me and Jed, our sister Rose died at eleven

buried past the barn when he was twelve and I ten

one day here, then gone, Mama said it was the fever

told me not to say a word and everyone believed her

 

Soon Jed turned dark, just ugly treating others

we was the same but so unlike blood brothers

he earned a reputation, it spread and soiled me

kids would quietly edge away, watching fearfully

Becky Cook took to likin’ me, be it luck or fate

with her I felt alive, liftin’ the heaviest of weight

 

Chorus

Life moves on but absence ain’t just not being seen

Dark holes in families, living in the shadows between

 

My parents said don’t you dare bring her around

When I’d ask why, they’d say you just calm down

Jed told me do it, with a look like he knew more

Then he’d smirk and continue with his chores

one day Becky called wanting to see me all alone

Daddy and Mama in town, Jed to parts unknown

 

She showed up and I told her I liked her smile

I went for a favorite book, floatin’ all the while

when I returned, she was gone less one shoe remaining

I called her name to no answer, cryin’ a silent prayer

then I heard a scream outside and tore into the yard

Jed was draggin’ Becky like an animal to discard

 

Chorus

Life moves on but absence ain’t just not being seen

Dark holes in families, living in the shadows between

 

Jed turned, let her go, then ran into the barn

Becky shaking, her dress dirty and blood adorned

Daddy’s truck appeared, he asked “why’s she here?”

“Jed hurt Becky” and Daddy’s eyes emitted fear

“Where’s Jed?” “He’s in the barn and I want at him”

Daddy had Mama take us inside, him pale and grim

 

A shot rang out and Daddy took two hours to return

sayin’ “there’ll be no more problems, nothing of concern”

one day later, he spoke again, “it’s time for the truth”

He said, “Emory, this is gonna taste like bitterroot

it was evil but family, what Jed did to our sweet Rose

but taking it outside us left me nothing but what I chose”

 

Chorus

Life moves on but absence ain’t just not being seen

Dark holes in families, living in the shadows between

 

A decade on, shivering under the strain of a demon seed

so why Jed and not me doing these dirty deeds?

Why his end while Becky blessed me with her grace?

Will my family legacy lure me to such an evil place?

The Sound of One Hand Writing

I’m still on my John Prine-ish (if that isn’t heresy) binge. Let’s call this a music-less song rather than a poem.


I got a woodpecker in my pants

some mistake it for a fer-de-lance

it makes my legs sway to and fro

although both my feet flatly say no

 

I’m stuck with a pair of alligator arms

don’t worry, they’ll do ya no harm

And the eyes I own aren’t the same size

On the beauty way, I’ll win no prize

 

(Chorus) We have our bodies til death do us part

I think mine was assembled a la carte

 

My disks are each fully fragmented

still in place, yes, but slightly dented

biting into moon pies makes me giggle

when I get up, my thighs they wiggle

 

I need to minimize my gluteus max

ain’t all diets a personal sin-tax?

lost count adding up my multiple chins

Let’s call it a maximizing of all my skin

 

We have our bodies til death do us part

I think mine was assembled a la carte

 

My nose knows what’s fingerlickin’ good

food tasting should be my livelihood

In my boyhood I was just misunderstood

Not too many spark plugs under my hood

 

Some call me a friggin’ human hammerhead

poundin’ roofing nails are my butter and bread

my head is now just one huge cranial cavity

my biceps theys inverted but I think its gravity

 

We have our bodies til death do us part

I think mine was assembled a la carte

 

You know my toes, they refuse to twinkle

when it come to snorin’ I’m Rip Van Winkle

my pecs been the victim of some kidnapping

I’m a piss poor candidate for chromosome mapping

 

The few muscles in me are the slow twitch kind

I’m disinclined to ever seek peace of mind

nobodys ever asked me to pee in a cup

cause my human algorithm has never added up

 

We have our bodies til death do us part

I think mine was assembled a la carte

Colorblinded

It was another usual day

Not much in the way of highs nor lows

So how to provoke my desired state of being?

The light turned red, I slowed up and obeyed, first in line to speed off when given a greenie

Then, my perspective on and of the world changed

As the color periwinkle appeared rather than the expected

I was bemused

Should I take it as a sign?

That it is in real life, but what of the metaphorical sense?

Maybe a gentle reminder of the immense beauty that remains unseen in the world?

Another example that modern technology was, yes, once again askew?

Possibly that I should be pursuing all the Peri Winkles listed on eharmony?

My reverie was interrupted by the sounds of horns squawking directly behind me

Being irritated because I was ahead of them was awfully shortsighted

You know, they could go around

I quickly sent out this vibration: ‘relax all, I am having a spiritual moment’

But I didn’t think I was going to get me a witness

A scruffy man appeared at my driver’s side window

He bellowed “are you hard of hearing or just blind bud?”

On my right was a kind-looking woman who knocked and asked “do you need help?”

I turned in her direction, smiled, then hesitantly asked, “do you know your colors?”