Friday, April 12, 2013

tales of the hotel st crispian: chapter 104

"the poet"

by Horace P. Sternwall 

edited by Dan Leo*  

illustrations by roy dismas and eddie el greco

a rhoda penmarq studios™ production

A poet came down from Burnside,
his pockets filled with trash,
but to him these pieces of paper
were as good as any man’s cash.

He wandered into Main Street
and stopped in the middle of the way,
in between Big Joe’s Saloon
and Rosemarie’s Soul Food Café.

“My pockets are filled with paper,” he cried,
“on which are written such beautiful things
that they will exalt the most debasèd soul
and to the crippled give wings!

“These poems I offer to you dear friends,
and all I ask in return
is free beer and whiskey and tasty food
and perhaps a reefer to burn;

“I also ask that you not deny me
the favors young girls might bestow
upon a handsome troubadour
underneath a shady willow.”

But alas his words fell on ears
indisposed to poetic beauty,
and a group of ruffians
began to beat him most stoutly,

with fists and beer- and soda-bottles
until he fell into a pool of his own blood;
they kicked him with their boots,
and then dragged him through the mud

tied to the fender of a model T.
and left him unconscious in a ditch
out by Farmer Jones’s place,
And when he came to he said, “Son of a bitch.”

Then he got up and hobbled toward the lights
of the farmhouse, and when he knocked
Farmer Jones’s daughter Emily opened the door.
“What happened?” she asked, quite shocked.

“I am a poet,” he said, “come down from Burnside,
my pockets filled with trash,
but on these pieces of paper are writ poems
as good as any man’s cash.

“I wonder,” he went on, “if I might trade
a poem or two for a bath and a hot meal
and some poultices for my wounds,
and then, perhaps, you and I can get real.”

Sadly for our man, Farmer Jones was right there
sitting in his chair, and he got up sighing,
and easing his daughter aside, he threw a punch
that sent the poor bastard flying.

And so our poet dragged himself away
to sleep in some filthy abandoned shack,
shivering, and in pain and misery.
But — no need to cry alas! alack!

No need, indeed, for these sad events
only gave your man the raw material
for the poem which now you read
over your bowl of breakfast cereal.

Please go to "flashing by" to read the entire sordid chapter.

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