Saturday, June 21, 2008

first draft of poem

THE WIDOWMAKER

To hear the box in my brother is to place his suitcase in the grand viewing room of a funeral parlor. There was a time when his strut electrified most of the Midwest. The people there wore his name on cotton. In terms of historical significance, there was the death of Pope Pius IX and then my brother’s. So for me to hear the box that’s buried in his chest I have to go back to the times he sang me an unfurled strut. He had a funny way of walking. He was born with two clubbed feet but he could still unfurl a strut. One time we drove all the way out to Iowa City on a dare. We ate Mexican food in a yellow brick building. During the drive back to Mason City he asked me if my girlfriend had a moustache. “Some girls have moustaches,” he said. “Usually you can’t tell unless you’re right up close and at an angle,” he said. “Most of the girls back home have one.” This was followed by ten continuous years of minimum payments and stints in cream auditoriums backlit by the rattlings of empty-assed hecklers. With his clubbed feet and funny way of walking he was a natural fan favorite. His prefessional name was The Widowmaker. When he died I told his wife the moustache story. Then I told everyone the moustache story. As a tribute, the women of Mason City shave their upper lips every Saturday night before heading over to the gymnasium which has since been renamed in his honor.

written in notebook 6/20

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