Thursday, March 18, 2010

post-midterm poem

"Southern Literature" by Andrew Hudgins

She hunched in the backseat and fired
one Lucky off the one before.
She talked about her good friend Bill.
No one wrote like Bill anymore.

When the silence grew uncomfortable,
she's count out my six crumpled ones
and ask, noblesse oblige, "How ah
your literary lubrications

progressing?" "Not good," I'd snarl. My poems
were going no where, like me--raw,
twenty-eight, and having, she said,
a worm's eye view of life. And awe--

I had no sense of awe. But once
I lied, "Terrific! The Atlantic
accepted five." She smiled benignly,
composed and gaily fatalistic,

as I hammered to Winn-Dixie, revving
the slant six till it bucked and sputtered.
She smoothed her blue unwrinkled dress.
"Bill won the Nobel Prize," she purred.

If I laid rubber to the interstate,
and started speeding, how long, I wondered,
how long would she scream before she prayed?
Would she sing before I murdered her?

Would we make Memphis or New Orleans?
The world is gorgeous now, and bigger.
I reached for the gun I didn't own.
I chambered awe. I pulled the trigger.

Dr. Somerville read us this poem on the first day of class and I love it. We had our midterm yesterday and it was quite difficult, but I feel decent about it. I know I switched one of the IDs (the quote's speaker was Ran MacLain, but I said it was Eugene MacLain, his twin brother-- wah-wah). I do know, through class survey, that I am the only one who got the Caroline Barr question right. Caroline Barr, since you're so curious, was William Faulkner's black mammy whom he dedicated 'Go Down, Moses' to.

I am currently in the Chemistry lounge in Strosacker with Vivian, working on the thesis. If the science people know I'm not one of them, they're not calling me out. I like it here because I can usually get away with working past 3 a.m., even though most buildings on campus close down earlier (library at 1, classroom buildings at 2) because once I'm back at Kappa, my mind starts to shut down for the night or I start talking to Heather. Pure will is going to make me stay here to push through a couple more thesis pages, because I am exhausted and it's barely 10:30 p.m. It is crunch time, though. No excuses or justifications at this point, only results.

In other news, LBJ may be my new most disliked president, but the Mumford and Sons station on Pandora is pretty great.

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