In response to “The Jolly Flagboatmen”


– George Caleb Bingham, 1846

1.
Some do all the work in this world,
the picker and the one who dins a pan,
the entertainer who’s all step and flash.

Most of us relax, enamored or pleased or bored.
But who smiles knowingly in the back?
The masters of profit and jealousy.

2.
Strike up the fiddle to a little ditty
nanny and pop taught us on the porch
in spring. Though no line links

the openings of ears to eyes,

hitting these tins with old tunes
widens the iris and lets pink in,
and blue, and pales out the sky.

3.
Carcass of a raccoon
Pinned on the flat of a nail’s head
In the cheap seats

4.
Sure, they can dance, those who still have a body,
but I am held here by a rock, pulled from the deep
where whomever wore me jumped, or was thrown,

and only I was rescued. While they are all pale,

washed out and bleached, I am the colored one,
who one day soon will be dried by the sun,
and used again, dancing.

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Author:

A day is not done, until it's filled with words.

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