Martin Eden places his hand on the Holy Bible
as in the jaws of Fenris, the jaws of life
and spends years afterward on The Road
with beat, Teutonic gypsies
chased by sirens across a sea of yellow prairie grass
outside Wichita, Kansas
hustling Dorothy and the Jayhawkers for their futures
without a thought for the morrow

Let those three unlovely sisters vouch for him
flying monkeys for the Valkyrie scoped out in Dayton
hauled by flatcar through the Cumberland Gap
to join the merchant marines in Norfolk
corded muscle in a pea coat
and nut squirreled away under a black knit cap

Under the Havana sun, they call him
“the great white hope” but he hasn’t

Jack Johnson has him

turning on a spit again

his meat sloughed off

the bone

when he lets go, the world comes undone
and Dorothy returns to the garden
to hang from the world tree
dirty red slippers
and a dog

[WC Roberts lives in a mobile home up on Bixby Hill, on land that was once the county dump.  The only window looks out on a ragged scarecrow standing in a field of straw and dressed in his own discarded clothes.  WC dreams of the desert, of finally getting his first television set, and of ravens.  Above all, he writes.]

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