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ELMER McCURDY (1880-1911)


Guthrie, Oklahoma

Elmer mugshot Elmer mugshot

Damn me if he don't find a way out of there,
you just see if he don't.
That sonofabitch wouldn't stay put
with half an arsenal of lead in him
so half a ton of concrete on his fine pine box
won't hold him. No. He's seen too much of life
since dying: rode the rails, cruised the highways,
skated alongside himself in store front windows.
He's tasted the sweet free moving air
through an open door; held the mucus of machine oil
in his hollow nostrils when the ghost train reeks by;
kept stiff as a stiff in auto's that bounced
each new surrogate parent like popcorn in a pan;
seen a two-headed stag and a human crab.
I swear, if nobody comes for Elmer
he'll be coming for them, you betcha,
bad arm under the other,
coin clutched under his fig of a tongue
to buy booze.


from the author's collection Scarecrow Crimes
visit the website of John Lindley

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This page last updated: 13th November 2006.