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Abraham Smith




My thought was: Where is Hank?  Or:  Where the hell is Hank in the present poetical American meadow?  And so I set out to find him, or to steer him into being.  I wrote voluminously but found myself jailed with a bedbug for a button and a poisoned worm for a pen.  That’s when I stopped trying to write the Life of Hank Williams and started trying to taste the stones on the road.  Each poem begins with a gibberish cuss.  The poems are narrow.  Bottled.   I hope they feel inside a hat and happen on a mica-hoof mare.  





call him pile

of crushed oysters before

the road crew drags  

it’s slick kid and flat and hard

on the eyes it’s like it’s glazed

with rock salt penny candy

and the stuff that breaks new neighs

from knackered oldies 

and sweat from rapt fear

and squeaky and bent

watch how you bike it kid  

easy on the either side

narrow wins the egg white way 

house said wins? toss it

there’s junk there is space junk way high

way dark there’s maybe a snapped off

way of receiving commands

or war news in permanent

clocking no time float gat

ditto this child  

lost in the deep 

walk caustically and carry a big drink

her great lakes lungs

him in his toothpick canoe  

fat bull she was

she had that crass almost stroking out stare

she tetanized him and him 

that garden tare lit on fire at night 

like a hand unleashed

from the front row 

a mind’s a cool moonflower

totally worm free

ma’am it was indelicate george washington

after the war and carried away

it was shallow woody toothy slivers

it was barely born baby minnows

greased bolt quiet

in her neck and now it’s morning and a friend of hers

is holding a needle in a working flame

amazing what the eye will fasten to

and interpose and intercom a throat

and stucco holes and pour tune maple style

fasting or broke?

card the spokes to treat the ride to growl

just a little line in the grain 

is it wrong to say the wood’s flow?  

where water once stole and stowed

twenty feet of boarded up river 

smiling ancient finned one

or mawkish desertification

just lash shrive me    

she had cabin wood wall blank

she had that steerage class with a grip

that feeling just looking she was chewing

green from where you might dart a see gear tomorrow

my greenback went belly up

took the bloat

couldn’t help the devil freckle flies

like hectic and tic took a cur to the bawl 

those two knots in the pop board eyes

you just better hold off with that right now

holds you with her howler’s stare

how turn a skulker stone

bakes the pee right over

into amber as i was staying 

down at evaporator’s junction

down and down to a kernel so lone 

as i was one cur coin of field corn

about a fourth of the way down the chaste

gullet of a carpenter’s only hen

of drake kings on four letter ponds

for a flyswatter she had

yard geese what walked walls

of welts on water

cut a grain of sand and you’ll see 

a la farmer in town

a whole lot of hard folks

flashing unrequited piners at definite locales

about a quarry was once a mountain glory 

bacon maypop salad   

you know a plastic cake you sit on and it tells you

you are alright you are alright

poor dog while he was eating

call it inhaling sounded like walking

on lightbulb glass 

that’s good crier’s glass

you can step on it and hardly know  

that type glass is friend to sand

feed sack patch on a square cut dress

swears to the black hole effect

like a cartoony you plus me

knifed in a sap weep pine 

honey honey hush and hear the bells

of december in july along

the elephantine shoulder blades 

of the oxen through a cold mist heaped morning

gentle giants exhaling

mastodon’s stomach linings or guardian humors or cartoon

caption sacks without a word without a word 

when to drag to was to sup with peace

before trains cross bred men with strangers 

and sooted up the atmospheres

and what birds there were

sooner walked than flew

and the sound of someone far off coughing

like two blind boys playing catch with chestnut husks 

on through a gummy timber

the large do not walk they lumber

your sweetheart pine straight out of you

billet a hog gong

belie a deeper root

they slow as through a caro air

we flit why ride wee heart’s fast apple

every windy honey is

a horse’s mouth pushed through the ribs  

every body knows it’s sweeter this side’s side

once upon an eclat dime

stored in the tallow of a living whale

they say her having the country god 

crunch crunch

they say the rest of her days dimes

winked one then another

like a drooling slot machine

from her belly button

they say her floor was knee deep in ten cents

they say those who slip walked through

if they had sense wore magnets for taps

say those were they that knew the sound

of silver was it the anti-simper sureness of pounding nails

or metal on metal on paint honey watch it yes i

know it and i am sorry this corner

this corner won’t let me clear

this one vain door went walking to the water

this one hand drunk door

come to see itself in a cow shit stream

you had the feeling every ripple

was lake wake off a pit bull belly flaw 

should she hollow out a hill

with her laugh should she

had that feeling of retrieving

from a great wide lonesome and her eyes

were war and her eyes were an idiot boy

come down to a river

mama lookie that water’s on fire

tries his best to beat the silver sun 

off the giggling ripples with what

straightness and heft is left in that door 

beyond the boarding house

her business her fat and she

shepherded that such sheathes of it

another child didn’t seem

a meadow she had the energy 

to pee behind a tree in  

her he heard the train’s geometrical 

proofs for the stars as pewees

in a briar with a window

on ice he heard

her solid disappointments

his ticket read lungs maybe 

spittle projectile  

maybe moony beer mirror 

baby back when spilled milk was a big deal

it’s true he was unloved

inside try california to cape girardeau

from her try bakersfield

to baked alaska on a cruise

ship in the mouth of a

retiree dead in 81 days

yet his bones grew on

stretched and met nine tenths forgotten

in from the navel

potter’s wheel plum lonesome

that spat in his low back

where the bone and nerve

sure sugar shoulda been

you couldn’t hear if her heart

was exchanged with the one

she swept flat

the good ones do that

give melon in talk

and lift yes lift the lawn chair

off uneven ground  

badminton birdie feather bat

heart through the air

wants earth loves air trusts wants 

back and stretch and

wrist flick it back and watch

that dog circling mess get

back her heartbeat wrecked

in her fat stretched and met

nothing but her stacked slab like a broke

off spear in the lamps

of a whale if you don’t get

the signal you can’t kneel

your beak deep light’s damps

your ship will knee wreck

i’ll leave my lamp light low

leaves off for under the under

in a silenced baste swollen with heartbeats

heartbeats? or red face men in wooden

carts through ruts that threaten

to bring up lunch with

whiskers like fanned out tail feathers

of courting birds taped to the

sweating to their sweating and them giving

the rears of the horses hell with

whips like fly fishermen in hell as

the storm as the storm clouds

make a fool out of mount rushmore

on high this lightning presiding

and if the world if the world 

of oceans for all of its lay around

side to sides let’s say is

composed of tracking belts

definite fluttering ruts

do what you will with your tail

you are born for the motion

the black out dream a road is 

bound by black strap molasses

once upon a boarded downtown window 

graffiti flash coins a mural glad

the lighter slept in his pocket the slider

menu folks is on the back paint rash

ghost hand through silk size large  

see my middle name

fastball leather dream that one

shook the chain link backstop for

about 45 sleeps in the teeth

of the ufo monster

so much softer this old slaw foot whozit 

on the back of a snowshoe hare

full of snowshoe hares

feeds the coyotes

the pharmacists for sky

they pill the high in pacer yodels

was what got on him

was her

dressing down her fool man’s


we are what we hear

the ears like kids at water fun parks

go down the blood

slap the heart

the meat of the heart

tenderize or terracotta 

if you sleep in the meadow

next the cow’s mouth

you cudgel

if you live next

the wolf’s lips

you yard so cowl

if all the world was fish

and fish he wouldn’t have a pin

to bend to hook just one

piss ant bullhead in the eye if it was raining sheep

they woulda already boiled his

fold for the soup’s dark flavor

and it makes sense that the one

you marry is the one you mar

misdialed darling i thought i was nodding

off but they took it for the sea’s huzzah 

when my chin see pressed i thought

piper got sand see on the line

such is the vast hasp back bench in all those cars

and laying down to save his back

while the others

never walked a balance beam

tongue fling no fletch

you know the pop trot mouth people

you know the nine ten 

either weather war or the wrongs

or the bbq is but nine miles

on that foam that laid a little soft or two

on the small of his back

the french have one word for all these words

honk honk honk honk

that foam made after the war

when we was all just bouncing to happy land

grate ingrate maw and maul

calf leech plant

square at the small 

killed him from day one

or she tried o she tried but it’s hard to

guide a chicken feather in a dust devil

with teeth with teats cry quicksilver

down the buttonholes of them for whom

blackened unborn criers 

call post-war foam home

mountains plus erratic minds equal adios measured breaths

down in there in some

apache valley lonely creek bed

locked in a fennel kiss

with them slipshod moonlights

and a relatively flat road

and all their front seat slip shod chatter

wouldn’t know a tree from the weather

every tree is ninety switches every

tree sleeps an oar 

here’s a claw

like a horny tear

whittle it awake dear

whistle cardinal’s

bingo dauber wins

a paddle on a padlock pond

silver fox paddle home

crossed lines blessed friends

gathered here today around

this toe poking out from this

tungsten gurney like a thumb’s up from

death we got you covered preens

the white linen over a misdial

is just beige gowns on pious moaners

i think the body is an abacus

push my nipple and i am of two

minds kiss me missile back seat

flat bench seat low with that cowboy country god hat

in the back window like a single white cake

when all at once a wing

breaks gleaming like a white

cake wing breaking  

straight line wind

his mama’s heart

if you could believe

it was the first time he ear seen 

his mama’s rat banjo

in that one unwounded leg

like a musical saw

without the cord wood

or here comes the cord wood

jouncing jouncing back

of a truck

but with what am i to pay? no pain

no papyrus country

about a mama was an orbiting rabbit

caught by a hind leg in a mean old steel star 

pal of mine is snap the thump thump

pain of white

trying to climb

what it can’t live off long in vain wake ground

in vain long free

shut it cow road i am

what they call in the song in the song

in the cold river in a sudden

hot spot warm

where the fork buck gone

from the dogs where he took a pee

is its own onerous trap

sordid scared tent flap 

no i am so tired no

let this one brief sweet be





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