I Awoke The Night That Attica Happened And Wrote A Poem


It Was A Long Poem That The Arkansas MFA Workshop Did Not Like

It’s not like the Arkansas MFA Workshop thought much about my other stuff either, but the feedback for this poem reinforced my commitment to wield #TheTerribleSwiftianSword with complete commitment to equality in terms of Truth Social, injustice, and ain’t that just The American Way!

For Bonus Points, pick out the places where I am misogynistic, racist, homophobic, a liberal apologist for bad behavior, a laissez faire Capitalist, woke, or “just out of touch with the realities of modern crime and punishment.” 

Then stick those bonus points up your ass, where you keep your delusional soul. Did you really think colonoscopies were intended to determine anything more important that if your soul is covered with malignant polyps? You fucking naif!

The Telling of the Tale

I wrote this poem in a single sitting on the evening of September 13, 1971 while the curse was being passed around Attica.

Since this is not true of one man or two,

But ever so many, it is hard to imagine what life must be like.

— Howard Nemerov, "Angel and Stone"

I pitied the poor werewolf once, forced of a full

Moon to scrounge up blood to satisfy an urge,

But who seemed likable enough despite his hang-

Dog affection for self-loathing and degradation.

"A few days a month," he'd say, "it's almost as if

I should have been a woman in my mouth."

He seemed anxious to prove a monster needn't be

A martyr in his guilt the way he toyed at humor,

Although each time the night came near to drink

Again, he'd whine and curse his rotten stars:

"It's not like I can help it, understand.

A one in a million shot, this werewolf bit.

It could have happened to anyone; so here

I am, a man no worse than most, condemned

To feed forever on nameless veins beneath

That hollow light; there's nothing you can do.

The world's set up with two kinds of things

And I've been made a taker. There's no forgiving."

Each afternoon before the moon he'd beg

To be locked up, a piercing gleam of torture

In his eyes. "Please don't let me do it again,"

He'd moan, and always I complied, but always

He'd escape to roam the roads around

The town to find his necessary meal.

I often heard him howling down the street

For bitches in heat, or slurping the mess

Off his paws in his room, and once I watched

Him mount a village girl after tearing

Off her head, but through all this I pitied

Him and his condition, and all the years

I harbored him, he never bothered me

Or mine until he said: "If only I

Could end it all, be free, and sleep in peace.

If only someone could fix this,” and I said I would.

He stared at me. "You're sure?" he asked. I nodded

Once to tell him yes, but he went on: "You know

What you have to do?” I nodded again. "But why?"

He asked me, and then I saw that burning look

I'd seen so regularly for so long. "But why?"

He asked again. I said: "I'd do it because

You asked me. I'd do it to make you happy."

And he began to laugh.

He howled until

His flesh burned red before he said: "Yes,

I believe you would." He tossed me a silver slug

And said: "Yes, I do believe you would.

Get the gun." And I, of course, complied,

But when I returned the werewolf was gone

And this alone remained: "I'm sorry, but now

I have to leave. I thank you for being kind.

You saw the good beneath the bad and cared

Enough to pity, but you didn't care enough

To search beneath the good. Haven't you

Ever wondered why a werewolf lives

So long, hundreds, maybe thousands of years,

With all the mobs of people chasing him

With clubs and crosses, wooden stakes and fire?

Tonight you'll find as the world grows dark

That I've given you the answer. A werewolf never dies

Because the curse is in the bullet."

Ironically, I worked for nearly two decades in meaningless jobs where I could have been called a Compliance Officer. 

I still think this interpretation of the werewolf myth can be used to explain the NRA and its membership.

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