The Poet Spiel

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telling how miss hubbard’s bed had ears

just about nobody doesn’t say how this could never happen in evitts   Artwork by Gene McCormick
how everything’s so nice here—like god’s country
but i’m just saying what other folks’ve been saying
how miss hubbard passes over on her front stoop in boiling sun
in that same old blue and kind of green loose dress
she always wore going out to wilson’s feed and seed
how everybody knew her window shades were duct-taped plumb shut
with just one peek hole as long as anybody can remember
how louis jr.’s chihauhaus pester on her ankles
like yellow jackets on raw steak

how louis gets chosen from across the street to go over and touch her
they want him to feel if she’s cold blue
and he leaps up and backwards like a stray tomcat
shot in his hoojading with a bb gun
how shandy johnson right-away rings up fire chief wells on her little pink pocket phone just as soon as she finishes mooshing with jimmy
mind you i wasn’t the one that saw it but grace and her bunch
tell it around down at wal-mart back in the back
where you eat corndogs and whatnot

how chief wells jumps right over miss hubbard like those hurdles
down at evitts high school track field
they say when he takes an axe to her front door
you’d have thought it was an orange crate
how he comes out of her house real quick
stands right over miss hubbard who’s dead as six-day roadkill
how his face is puffed up the color of sun through fire-smoke
and he slips a flask of jim beam out of his rubber boot
then empties it without as much as a breath
while louis jr. shoos his scrappy dang chihuahuas to hell 

how rabbits’re multiplying all around the chief’s feet
those gawldang rabbits’re oozing out those bashed-up door splinters
and over miss hubbard’s god-blessed whatzzit (may she rest in peace)  
little bitsy rabbits bony rabbits and big old fat floppy ear rabbits
folks still talk about how louis jr.’s dang chihuahuas screech at them
til it’d make you wish you were deaf
how those rabbits’re popping out miss hubbard’s little old matchbox-house pop pop popping like the popcorn machine at the movies  

it was more than ten days of big news
how it was all over channel 5 v.i.p. people seeing it
probly even burt reynolds seeing it
how some say she must have slept on those little buggers
up to her ceiling but others say she never could have slept
with all those baby rabbits pop pop popping out 
how shandy johnson actually sees the whole thing on her computer
and worries people in china can see it and might believe
evitts is not god’s country because this is the year of the rooster
and she fears the chinese will see rabbits as an omen 
how seventeen oldtimers from the v.f.w volunteer a task force
to chalk up more than one-thousand-eight-hundred rabbits
(not counting the p.g. mamas who’re about to pop new crops)
which miss hubbard’s been harboring behind duct-taped shades

like everybody says, you just wouldn’t think something like this
could possibly happen in a small town like evitts with its
well mown lawns three baptist churches and close family values  
how grace claims some hell-bent soul with a red mohawk
copped the old lady’s cameo broach right while she was dead blue
and it ended up in a pawnshop over in ohio
but everybody knows grace’s got her heart set on seeing herself
on channel 5 and nobody saw nobody touch miss hubbard’s broach
how frankie milner swears he buried her with it
but i don’t know.


The Poet Spiel is a master at risk taking an uncertain world where, harboring the visceral paranoia that accompanies surveillance at our every turn, we wish everything would turn out ok but we are too often disappointed to find out that it does not. “Bad Things/ Good Things” is from his chapbook, Come Home Cowboy: poems of war, evoking life and times in Bush the Second’s administration.