Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Poem: The Blood of Billy Bob Thornton, o silly culture

Update, August 4, 2011.

Just saw a newsblip.  Today is the birthday of Billy Bob Thornton. Feeling kinda sanctified?

So I thought of this poem, published a while back in Sprung Formal, from the Kansas City Art Institute.  The poem is part of a veritable triptych of movie-fancier verse, the other two poems being "The Brave One" and "In Denzel Washington's Gaze."

One reviewer of my book wrote that sometimes I rely too much on pop culture references.  Now, everything this reviewer had to say was smart, insightful and worth consideration. And I'm still not sure if I agree or not, except it is possibly the case that his comment, while not being entirely on the mark, signaled a different problem with some poems.  I suspect those poems may not be complete, fully fleshed, in and of themselves. I could just as easily rely to much on philosophy or literature references. 

Literature, nah. It's my love, was my life until I expanded, but I have never assumed everyone or anyone around me would chuckle (or cry) as they read a few lines referring to Gargantua's never ending education. Ya know? Besides, I read Gargantua and Pantagruel over forty years ago. I can't remember it accurately.

Philosophy, on the other hand, I do reference in poems, now and then, if and only if it's there. "It" being a memory of something I read in those there great books, and the memory being present because of the magic of association. When I posted "The Blood of Billy Bob Thornton" in 2010, I just shoed you the poem. Today I wrote this intro.

The Blood of Billy Bob Thornton

Elite aeries. Angels airlifted. Special ops. Lean/
hard. They get the job done. From way high up,
euphoria, oily blue wings and lo! a pulley.
Round my waist, one wing. It’s our time for visitation.
Lord, I’m glad I’m not skinny. Ma’am.
The matchstick in his lips is a Black Hawk, hovering.
Precise but mortally built. O, silly culture.
Love is a warning. I can lift you it pleads.

Don’t ignore my offer.

dedicated to Evan Washington
First published in Sprung Formal, Kansas City Art Institute; and collected in The Future Is Happy, available from SPD or Amazon.


  1. Joysgrape,
    Thanks. And thanks for taking the time to comment!