I have tried my hand at Erasure Poems before, which work on a similar concept, so this was fun.
Our aim was
To abandon our girlfriends
you could sell those suckers for five bucks apiece in New England.
we’d look for KFC buckets for donation
we were flat broke, Homeless.
hawks on fenceposts, grizzly bears.
THE LORD IS COMING SOON
we’d play an Improve Your Vocabulary tape,
learn words like eclectic and satyr.
Alaska by Tom Franklin (an excerpt)
© by Tom Franklin. From the collection Poachers.
Our aim was this: Alaska.
To abandon Mobile at dawn without telling anybody, not even our girlfriends or our boss at the plant. Bruce knew a bail jumper who got a deckhand job on a crab boat off the Alaskan coast where she made five hundred dollars a day. Bruce was divorced for the third time and I’d never been married, so we planned to sell our cars and Bruce’s house trailer and buy an olive drab Ford four-wheel-drive pickup with a camper, fill it full of those sharp green pinecones hard as hand grenades. Bruce’d heard you could sell those suckers for five bucks apiece in New England.
They’re crazy up there, he said.
Driving through Georgia and Tennessee, we’d look for tent revivals where they had faith healing. If we found a good one we’d stop and visit a service. Bruce would fake heart disease and I’d be an alcoholic—to make it convincing, he said, I’d have to belch and stumble and splash on rum like aftershave. He would grimace, moan, and clutch his left arm, until we had the whole congregation praying for us. When the ushers passed the KFC buckets for donation, we’d shrug and say we were flat broke, just poor travelers. Homeless.
Bruce had stolen his second ex-wife’s Polaroid camera, which we’d keep handy for making pictures—hawks on fenceposts, grizzly bears, church marquees that said THE LORD IS COMING SOON, then right under that BINGO 8:00 EVERY TUESDAY. We’d have a stack of books-on-tape from the public library, too: John Grisham, Stephen King, and even self-help. In the Badlands of South Dakota, when we pulled off the road to sleep in the back of the truck with our feet sticking out, we’d play an Improve Your Vocabulary tape, learn words like eclectic and satyr.)
Inspired by Whiteout Wednesdays #1