Transparent Words - Poetry


 Gary Blankenship


Song of Myself #13 - Auction Block

Song of Myself #14 - Drunkard



Song of Myself #13 - Auction Block


13.  The quadroon girl is sold at the stand


I stand on the auctioneer’s blocks

a child some see as old enough to be a woman

myr dress a cast-off gown now rags

budding chest on display for buyers

and any youth in the crowd

who wished to shout rude comments

about this chained wench


my eyes downcast

I looked as frightened as Prissy

as young as Tom’s Topsy


a trio of bidders vied to buy me -

an overseer from Delta cotton land

madam from a New Orlean’s crib

agent for a rancher on the Brazos

seeking a servant for his wife


if my life were a movie

and the future were a Paramount back lot  -


instead of my back scarred from the Boss’s whip arms and legs from chains


see me escape  to birth a doctor who would become Alex Halley’s grandfather


my face painted and breasts bound in chiffon as I struggle in Storyville


I  own the house and am escorted by King Zulu during Mardi Gras


a cold body that didn’t even make it out of Louisiana before I was raped by the agent


I become the matriarch of a spread beyond the Canadian my husband a vaquero who claims his father fought at the Alamo


but moving pictures

have not been invented yet

and there’s an auction block

in every Southern square




Song of Myself #14 - Drunkard


14.  The drunkard nods by the barroom stove


is the glass nearly empty

or a long way from full?


without a half cent

or even a Mormon dollar

for another slug

of three day old homebrew


at least I’m warm

until the barkeep kicks me out

and I wander through muddy streets

in hope the livery

gives me a job

mucking out the stable

for a night in the loft

and enough greenbacks

to fill a few glasses full


during war

no one needs a piano tuner

except a few generals’ wives

following their husbands

like washwomen

who never empty their tub



with an arm left along the James

when it got in the way

of a reb cannonball

as I hid in a pig’s lean-to

while I waited to desert


at least I’m warm

trouble is I’m nearly sober





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