Poems by Daniel Crocker

City of Bones
the worst thing we've ever seen
Robert Bow­cock, envi­ron­men­tal inves­ti­ga­tor and col­league of Erin Brock­ovich
(speak­ing of Lead­wood, Mis­souri)


The bones bro­ken
bleached cages
just down the street
the new weeds grow
a strange green

The solu­tion to cov­er lead
with more lead from a town
not much bet­ter off than we are

When that didn't work they
sprayed it down with sewage

It's safe, they promised

and the bones grew to dan­de­lions
and we were thank­ful

to find femurs, ribs bent
to smiles, bits of teeth
tumors spread­ing into
the mar­row of our lives

The shit brought in from the Live­stock
Sale Barn, the port-o-pot­ty com­pa­ny
full of hypo­der­mic nee­dles bit­ing

and then

Well, and then there was noth­ing
not even the sound of our can­cers

This is what our fathers died for
we said

Part II

I said
The Com­pa­ny left us
here where the chat dumps loom
like tomb­stones
Left us like pigs with­out tits to suck
I said
The Com­pa­ny decid­ed
lead was no longer viable
and left us with it, an ill­ness
I said
and ill­ness
It doesn't real­ly mat­ter any­more
what the men in suits from safer cities
say I said
When they got around to it
they hauled in dirt with less lead
to cov­er what we already had
and when that didn't work
they cov­ered our town in

lit­er­al shit

Months lat­er we were still
pick­ing out bones and teeth
from the dirt
In some yards after the rain
had washed it away
we were left with piles of bones
cat­tle they said
it's safe and the nee­dles
an unfore­see­able side-effect

Our grand­fa­thers won't speak of it
won't utter an ill word toward The Com­pa­ny
that fed them
put shoes on their chil­dren
gave them some­thing to do with their
backs and hands


What I real­ly mean is this:
the lead runs deep
the dark waters
the tumored fish
the rough hands
run deep

Rob­bie killed him­self
Mike killed him­self
Buck killed him­self
on and on

It's so sim­ple
our town is small
there's no mon­ey


We live in shit
We vote Repub­li­can
We pound our Bibles
Eat at McDonald's
dri­ve big trucks
We drink a lot
we fight a lot
we fuck a lot
and pray a lot for sal­va­tion

The lady across the street
final­ly took down her Jesus
is com­ing soon sign

There's glo­ry in the blood

We were all so busy
wait­ing on Armaged­don
we nev­er noticed
it was already here.

Full Moon

I'm in the dog food aisle
at Wal-Mart when I
am told that my sis­ter
is going to die

I hap­pened to run
into my moth­er

Well, she said

My sis­ter has
lung can­cer
and there's noth­ing
that can be done about it

She's fine
She's found Jesus
but when it was in
her throat
and they thought
it was gone
after the surgery
they called it a mir­a­cle

This will be the
sec­ond child my
moth­er los­es

A lot of peo­ple
die ear­ly here

That night, I smoke a joint
I step out on the back porch
I try to imag­ine the woods
behind my house as death,
a pas­sage to the oth­er side,
even with a full moon,
it's dark.

crockerDaniel Crocker's lat­est book is The One Where I Ruin Your Child­hood. It's avail­able as a free down­load from the Sun­dress Pub­li­ca­tions web­site.


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One Response to Poems by Daniel Crocker

  1. lynne savitt says:

    Daniel, still try­ing to con­tact the grown-up you. Try me at grnylust13@​optonline.​net
    this old broad is still breath­ing, Lynne Savitt

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