Tuesday, November 30, 2010

If Glenn-effing-Beck went hunting with Gus and Vedder, the world would be a better place, and I'd write a poem for his bullet-ridden ass, too

i.e., while it's not always about the hog, sometimes it is, indeed, about the hog.

(Y'all just think on that a spell, okay? The written arts sometime require the active participation of the written arts-partaker)

(Meaning you. Dammit.)

I told y'all a story in August about a big feral sow I ran over a few years back late one night at Spunky, while transporting a couple of drunken psychopaths back to their deer-camp. It's pert near the anniversary of that dark, dark night of the human soul; so, in honor of Gus and Vedder and drunks with firearms everywhere—in other words, this is for Texas—here is the quartet of poems I wrote memorializing what they wrought.

Red Wind in the Holler

At the bottom of the holler is a joining
of springs, within a wood so dense
and low seasons come and go in tiny

increments. The black soil is cool, and carnal,
and the grasses sparse, and even the cedar
is stanched by the gushing arc

of oak, pecan, and ash that blots out the sun.
The water's pure and cold, and every season
the busy slope is littered with the bones

of those who coveted its sweetness, lulled
against their senses by whispers in trees
among the smell of damp earth, and ruse

of night, when the moon induces fevers
on the willing, and the tender.

The North Wind

Long drops of rain were streaking the clay road
a deeper red when the wind shifted from the west,
a crazy, rudderless whirl at first,

shaking free dried leaves and acorns and stirring
them with dirt, swirling into tiny gyres that fluttered,
short-lived and euphoric, along the holler's edge

leaving ghostly plumes of scattering dust in their wake.
The damp smell of oak and creosote and juniper
loosed in the air, once the first surge of north wind

cleared the tree-line, blue-black sky looming,
wind gradually bolder as it rolled overhead
'til the Norther ripped in as if the Judgement

had come, rain changing sideways, gushing drops
suddenly an angry stream that skipped across the big spring's
surface like furious stones, sun giving full anarchy upon earth,

dream kingdom winking from its crevices.
With evening came calm, and a brittle wind; and at least one lane
that opened for the dead. And everything in the pasture

lay still for awhile.

Dead Sow

Gnarled and split, she is opened and emptying
Given beneath a graceless code
Chrome and steel, dirt-riven and glistening
Ruptured order, sudden as fire.

Boned and blooded, her meat to the nightmare
Her wound a dark river that snakes in the dirt
She lunges with teeth gleaming red under tail-lights
Wavers, and sinks nearer this cactus-land.

A supplication come from the high grass
Leaded chamber, and then wider, mean feral eyes
A strangeness that looms just over her shoulder
Erupts in an instant and craters her sky.

She cannot tell the worm from the root
When she swoons to find the shivering light
Just wakes to summers dripping with acorns
Blood-drunk, under an indolent moon.

The Brood

They were on the scrawny side
her squalling rat-sized orphans
and the moist heat of her sanctuary

was already dim in their memories
when the last of her was suckled.
She was twitching, but gone

and even all of her was never enough
for the blunting of their hunger
insatiable in their panic

sharper than the bristles that mimicked
the contours of their soft spines
or the spindly tusks that budded

eagerly toward half-formed snouts
and now it was all they could remember
because she was milk to them, if she was anything.

And this time, when the milk dried up,
they felt the frigid north wind at the end
of their suckling, felt it blow across the clay road

over their bodies, but into their mouths
from her, until they were inhabited
by nothing else. They began running

back to the tall grass, then over the red clay,
trying to outrun the immensity of it,
to thaw just enough to be hungry again

but colder every stride until they reached
the briars on the edge of the holler
and felt its warm red breath rise up

inviting them home.

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