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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