Elegy for the Forgotten Oldsmobile

On the 5th stop of the journey. It’s Sunday, in Chicago. Amtrak got me here 10 minutes early, and I’m adjusting to the blustery March weather, missing the joyful, open vibe of NOLA, the TEXAS!! spirit of San Antonio, the brilliant blue skies and sweet comforts of LA. Now I’m lazy, processing the whole thing. 

Sharing the following. Wonderful piece of work it took some digging to find. Needed to read something like this to keep me on my toes. 

It’s long. You have the time.😉

by Adrian C. Louis

July 4th and all is Hell.

Outside my shuttered breath the streets bubble

with flame-loined kids in designer jeans

looking for people to rape or razor.

A madman covered with running sores

is on the street corner singing:

O beautiful for spacious skies…

This landscape is far too convenient

to be either real or metaphor.

In an alley behind a 7-11

a Black pimp dressed in Harris tweed

preaches fidelity to two pimply whores

whose skin is white though they aren’t quite.

And crosstown in the sane precincts

of Brown University where I added rage

to Cliff Notes and got two degrees

bearded scientists are stringing words

outside the language inside the guts of atoms

and I don’t know why I’ve come back to visit.
O Uncle Adrian! I’m in the reservation of my mind.

Chicken bones in a cardboard casket

meditate upon the linoleum floor.

Outside my flophouse door stewed

and sinister winos snore in a tragic chorus.
The snowstorm t.v. in the lobby’s their mother.

Outside my window on the jumper’s ledge

ice wraiths shiver and coat my last cans of Bud

though this is summer I don’t know why or where

the souls of Indian sinners fly.

Uncle Adrian, you died last week—cirrhosis.

I still have the photo of you in your Lovelock

letterman’s jacket—two white girls on your arms—

first team All-State halfback in ’45, ’46.
But nothing is static. I am in the reservation of

my mind. Embarrassed moths unravel my shorts

thread by thread asserting insectival lust.

I’m a naked locoweed in a city scene.

What are my options? Why am I back in this city?

When I sing of the American night my lungs billow

Camels astride hacking appeals for cessation.

My mother’s zippo inscribed: “Stewart Indian School—1941”

explodes in my hand in elegy to Dresden Antietam

and Wounded Knee and finally I have come to see

this mad fag nation is dying.

Our ancestors’ murderer is finally dying and I guess

I should be happy and dance with the spirit or project

my regret to my long-lost high school honey

but history has carried me to a place

where she has a daughter older than we were

when we first shared flesh.
She is the one who could not marry me

because of the dark-skin ways in my blood.

Love like that needs no elegy but because

of the baked-prick possibility of the flame lakes of Hell

I will give one last supper and sacrament

to the dying beast of need disguised as love

on deathrow inside my ribcage.

I have not forgotten the years of midnight hunger

when I could see how the past had guided me

and I cried and held the pillow, muddled

in the melodrama of the quite immature

but anyway, Uncle Adrian…

Here I am in the reservation of my mind

and silence settles forever

the vacancy of this cheap city room.

In the wine darkness my cigarette coal

tints my face with Geronimo’s rage

and I’m in the dry hills with a Winchester

waiting to shoot the lean, learned fools

who taught me to live-think in English.
Uncle Adrian…

to make a long night story short,

you promised to give me your Oldsmobile in 1962.

How come you didn’t?

I could have had some really good times in high school

Errant Satiety

seeking sublime surrender


“The lyfe so short, the craft so long to lerne." --Chaucer


Verba volant, scripta manent !


In happiness my words I lack, in grief they overflow.

The Wild Heart of Life

Creative Nonfiction & Poetry



%d bloggers like this: