Old man river

“I knew him in his boyhood
when he took my biscuits like
he was panning gold.” “I knew
he’d turn out that way, all sunk
in his own heart he drank down
when he took his wife out for beatings.”
“I knew him once, seemed nice,
kind of fellow can corn right
or maybe if you needed him to
sling up that paint for winter,
don’t know where he went wrong.”
“I knew him back when he took mama’s
bitch down to Old Matthew’s for her
so’s he could look out for her dugs
cause they was twisted up. I
always did like him ‘cept he was
kind of looking up all the time.”
“I knew him when he needed twenty
hard for his kids when Christmas came
and he spent the whole day in green
tacky leaves like they was clothes.”
“I knew him before he knew war or scowls
his wife hid in his dinner and I bet
he could taste it when she cried,
spat, probably threw some piss in there
every once in a moon, you know the type,
can’t appreciate nothing like hot food
whether or not she’s on her back for it.”
“I knew him. He ain’t here to tell it
but I knew him in ways none of you did,
in ways I’ll unravel and read
when y’all throw me in my coffin and sink
me far down in the river where he drowned hisself.
I’ll just sink and sink and know him
and batter out my ply and find his
and get to know him again like we were friends,
talk the night away with his mouth on mine
’cause otherwise the water’s too loud
to hear him mumble in his good long sleep into me.”


~ by Jeremy on January 23, 2011.

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