Monday, August 07, 2006

Say, James Dickey, I Have a Poem For You

I hadn’t thought of the James Dickey poem “The Sheep Child” in years until The Curbstone Critic posted a humorous song that he allegedly wrote. Between the humor and the genetics and the familiar tune, “The Sheep Child” came screaming back in a fit of dreamy dew. Ah, to think of poetry again. I am delirious to be in school again, to think again, to live and breathe (which means to write) again. I am comfy and warm in my poetic uterus. Oh I know, I’m not really a poet. (Don’t take that as an apology, but merely a statement of fact.) I don’t really think of myself as a poet. Fiction is where I swim, but from time to time I stretch my poetic muscles.

In college I wrote a poem -- a retort -- to James Dickey. Like him, I too was told a story that was said to be true. My friend from Arkansas, Jibs, shed this story on me while drunk on scotch one boring fraternity night, and I have never forgotten it. Misplaced it maybe, but not forgotten. So Curbstone, this poem my friend is printed for you. Thanks for reminding of James Dickey.


So tell me James Dickey
of your
"Farm boys wild to couple
With mounds of earth mounds
Of pinestraw"
Mounds of dead flesh on the hood of
a ‘68 Ford.
Say, James Dickey I have heard tell

That in a small town in Stone County near the border of
Missouri and
The body of the mayor's daughter
recently deceased
was found missing from the morgue
the night of her death
not ten hours afterwards.

Her newly-pickled eyes were wide open
when her own cousin
on her daddy's side snatched
her up and took her for a ride
in his ‘68 Ford
right down Main Street
right past her daddy's house
right to the drive-in theatre.

He took her to see “E.T.”
He paid for them both and after
the movie had started
he took her out of the car and onto the hood
The whole time hearing the voices of the crowd
and the movie and the sirens
and the whole time hoping to finish before
they came
"Mommy, mommy, what is that man doing"
muffled by the sounds of the sirens and the screams.

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