Sunday, October 2, 2016

Beet-Blood Tongue

Just north of Brownsville, Pennsylvania, east side of the Monongahela, on Albany Road is a metal tunnel under railroad tracks. My dad and his sons honk horns inside driving to or from Republic and Fellsburg. The woman profiled as a Trump supporter in today's Washington Post lives in Brownsville.

The woman with the shitty hopeless life in Fayette County, her party greased the clusterfuck and feeds her her avenues of resentment, know what? My once-upon-a-time party does me too. Fuck me to mock that woman in Brownsville.


Bob Hicok

We were young and it was an accomplishment
to have a body. No one said this. No one
said much beyond “throw me that sky” or
“can the lake sleep over?” The lake could not.
The lake was sent home and I ate too many
beets, went around with beet-blood tongue
worrying about my draft card-burning brother
going to war. Other brothers became holes
at first base at war, then a few holes
Harleying back from war in their always
it seemed green jackets with pockets galore
and flaps for I wondered bullets, I wondered
how to worship these giants. None of them
wanted to talk to me or anyone it seemed
but the river or certain un-helmeted curves
at high speed, I had my body
and flung it over branches and fences
toward my coming sullenness as the gravity
of girls’ hips began and my brother
marched off to march against the war.
I watched different masses of bodies on tv,
people saying no to the jungle with grenades
and people saying no to the grenades with signs
and my father saying no to all of them
with the grinding of his teeth he spoke with.
I’d pedal after the nos up and down a hill
like it was somehow a rosary, somehow my body
was a prayer I could chant by letting it loose
with others like me milling around
the everything below five feet tall
that was ours, the everything below
the adult line of sight that was ours
to hold as long as we could: a year,
a summer. Until the quarterback came back
without . . . well, without. When the next Adonis
stepped up to throw the bomb.


  1. Snobbery is part of the human condition. The question I hate the most is: where are you from? Redneck motherfuckers are snobs too. Liberal motherfuckers are snobs. Christian Bible thumper motherfuckers are snobs. Tennessee motherfuckers are some of the biggest snobs I've ever met. Apparently if you live in a given geographical location your shit doesn't stink but if people find out you're not a local they automatically believe they are better than you. Sometimes the so-called class wars are really culture wars. Humans are weirdos wherever you go. I just ignore it, it's just part of the insanity.

  2. about brownsville pa from wikipedia:

    In 1940, 8,015 people lived in Brownsville. Its postwar growth led to the development of cross-county-line suburbs such as Malden, Lowhill, and Denbeau Heights (Denbow Heights), which were mainly bedroom communities within commuting distance. In the mid-1970s after the OPEC Oil Embargo of 1973-74 triggered a recession, with the restructuring of the steel industry and loss of industrial jobs, Brownsville suffered a severe decline, along with much of the Rust Belt. Generally, the region has declined in population and vitality ever since.

    By 2000, the population was 2,804, as younger people had moved away to areas with more jobs. In 2011, Brownsville has a handful of buildings that are condemned or boarded up. Abandoned buildings include the Union Station of the railroad, several banks, and other businesses. The sidewalks around the town are still intact and usable.

    Brownsville attracted major entertainers in the early postwar years, who also were performing in nearby Pittsburgh. According to Mike Evans in his book Ray Charles: The Birth of Soul (2007), the singer developed his hit "What'd I Say" as part of an after-show jam in Brownsville in December 1958.

  3. i saw the following poem at gate b-17 of the indianapolis airport yesterday, and liked it

    it took a bit of googling to find the title and author

    Below you home
    lies somewhere in the patterns
    of soy and alfalfa, winter wheat
    and corn,
    but for now you’re flying
    over quarry lakes, green water
    where stone was once cut
    for the Empire State,
    the nation's capital, buildings
    all over the world
    aspiring towards sky
    deep and blue
    as you, heading away
    or back, thinking
    of the people below
    living their lives
    above bedrock
    formed from the silt
    of ancient seas,
    on the prairie plowed flat
    by glacial ice. And though
    you are of that swirling earth below,
    for these few moments
    you float
    with some small time away
    from the matters you're going to,
    the places you've left behind.

    Joseph Heithaus, Professor of English at Depauw University, won the 2007 “Discovery”/The Nation Prize for a group of sonnets about poison plants that are now the central thread of his first book, Poison Sonnets (David Robert Books 2012). Professor Heithaus earned a Ph.D. and an M.F.A. from Indiana University and his work has appeared in numerous journals including Poetry, The Atlanta Review, The North American Review, The Southern Review, and Prairie Schooner. His poem “Indiana Flight” is etched in the stained glass mural of British artist Martin Donlin in the Indianapolis International Airport and with the other, so called, "airpoets", he's published Rivers, Rails, and Runways, and Airmail (San Francisco Bay Press 2008, 2011). His poem “What Grows Here” can be found painted on a barn just outside of Greencastle on West Walnut Street. He’s taught literature and writing at DePauw since 1996.

    his web page, not updated since 2012:

  4. The modified image/photo of Clinton and Trump at the top of the Chris Lehman article you'd linked to ("The Pseudo Bowl Of Politics") -- isn't that the twin girls encountered by Danny in The Shining?