Give the Bard a Tetanus Shot

How the hell am I supposed to write poetry
in the dirty, crowded parking lot of the local Piggly Wiggly—
hunkered down and avoiding eye contact
with checkout clerks on their smoke breaks
and drug dealers, faking car trouble, waiting for their drop?
                          Not to mention the zombies,
high on meth, ghost-eyed, and shuffle-limping along
the muddy, littered riverbank over there, where
the kudzu's too dry and dead to bother creeping,
and late November has stripped the trees bare,
revealing a monstrous eyesore in the distance—
a rusted out corrugated metal tank, a wraith
of the old, abandoned water tower, which once
nourished our forgotten fossil of a town.
Classic European poets found their inspiration
among the crumbling ruins of ancient castle stone.
New York City poets see their muse's reflection
in the shiny glass of towering skyscrapers.
While here I sit in Appalachia—the point where
the Bible Belt's buckle ever tightens the Rust Belt—
surrounded by nothing but decay and desperation.

 

 

V.C. McCabe is a West Virginian poet and music journalist whose work appears, or is forthcoming, in Poet Lore, Prairie Schooner, Tar River Poetry, Spillway, The Cape Rock, Southword, Appalachian Heritage, Appalachian Journal, Coldfront, and elsewhere. 

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