Friday, June 3, 2011

John Wilkes Booth (1938)



John Wilkes Booth  (1938)

Between Post and Clairemont, there are,
for one peculiar mile, as many fence posts
as there are skinned wolves dangling off them,
over two-hundred nearly indentical grimaces.
I am no more Lincoln's assassin than you, friend,
but you have paid twenty-five cents to leer
at my arsenic-embalmed black flesh, to peek
up my khaki shorts, to ruffle my white hair.
I am John St. Helen from Enid, Oklahoma,
a lovesick suicide stuffed with straw.
My left leg is shorter, thus I am Booth?
I swallowed a B-engraved pendant for jealousy's
blue flame, so I am Booth?  But shake my hand,
place my palm upon your true love's breast.


This poem is from a Red Shuttleworth poetry chapbook, Brief Lives.

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