Summerdark – Claude Kelley Kirk

In the headlighted pitch
summerdark, flitting
wingless moth-priests of disaffection
we were
on broken shoulders
of a broken town.
Dropped out
and out of tune,
wearing halogen halos and
waving red-tipped Marlboro censers,
drinking from bootlegger baptismals
Spirit of St. Louis
pop-top pisswater.
Proud to be American,
and breathing the last
corn-tasseled air
because there’s no money
to save the farm
from bankers of poverty.
Living little on the little
mom and pop have left,
and choosing not to make the choice
of convenience store or coal mine.
Hell of a choice if you ask me,
but since you didn’t
I’ll tell you anyway.
To earn your keep
by death of the dream
or death of the body,
by blackened hope
or blackened lungs.
You might live longer
hustling cellophane covered cupcakes
and glossy centerfold surreality
to those digging the diamond dust
that pays the mortgage
and buys the boat.
Long enough to see their
shiny, new Chevys
pass you by;
on their way to the same end.
Only faster, with A/C and power steering.

But what the hell do I know?
I’m just smokin’ Marlboro’s
and drinking pisswater
with broken shoulder brothers
on the edge,
of a broken shoulder town.

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