Sunday, October 24, 2010

Outtakes from Spoon River Anthology


Tinnitus Young

Martha Postlethwaite hunted me for 20 years
Till at last I lay panting under her flashing teeth.
She stole her prize but in the taking
My heart burst and she lived forty years a widow.
Na na na na na.


Trod Strongly

As a child I liked nothing better
Than to roll and tumble in the hay in Art Poorly's barn
But on my first day as a hand on the harvest
I daydreamed and got rolled and tumbled
By Art's new combine harvester
And so I met my baleful end.


Mildred Fulbright

The local party chose me to present our town's gift
When Taft’s whistlestop train arrived.
I waved as the President left and he waved back.
Joe Fulbright was the proudest stationmaster in our state.
But when Washington shut the railroad down
Pa took to drink and overturned our wagon
Into the Spoon River one icy night.
He tried to save me but my hair caught in waterweed.
Now he's a Democrat.


Ulick Angstrom

They said it was a shame how I never ventured into town
Though I had travelled to the onion domes of the Kremlin
And to the minarets of Aya Sofia
And from the cafés of Paris
To the street barbeques of Manila.
But with all my knowledge
I brought home an embarrassing disease
Right when Doc Slein's daughter took over the practice
And that's what got me in the end.


Valerie de Valera

To this much at least they all could agree:
Discretion was not the best part of Valerie.


Pleat Muggins

Dory and Cory Muggins named their son Pleat
After an ancestor who sailed with Vasco Da Gama.
He was surly and never learned, though able,
And massacred his family at the age of 16.
When hanging judge Crudmore asked
If he had anything to say in mitigation,
All he said was, "My name is Pleat".


Mickey Pride

Here lies Mickey Pride.
He laughed till he cried.
He cried till he died.

* After "Spoon River Anthology" by Edgar Lee Masters

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