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Thursday, November 29, 2012


by Earl J. Wilcox

After some days of wandering around in his skin,
I found myself imitating his spikey voice, his iconic

glazed look. His crooked nose fit my face when he
scratched his scraggy chin. When he got down on

his hands & knees, crawled to stir the logs in the drafty
White House fireplace, I felt the creak in his battered bones

from years ago when he’d trained his body to deal
with a typing left foot. O, I cannot say just how many

times I felt Godawful, day after day, night after night
of the movie making because the sumbitch kept

pushing and pushing himself to get my stoop,
my lumbering gait just so. Dan’l was maybe best

when he sat or slept on the floor with that little child
actor playing my son Tad, especially when the kid had

to hide his electronic game so the camera could not see
how bored the boy was. Watching the two of them I can

even now feel Tad squirming like a little tadpole,
never still, running around and around---loving me

like I loved him. I am cold to the core today when
I recall that scene early in the movie in the bitter,

falling rain. I hear Dan’l made a movie about Mohican Indians,
so he adapted to the woods, felt as much at home there

as I might have in Kentucky or Indiana. No matter that now.
What I do remember is being soaked through my scruffy

underwear when I visited the battlefields, listening
to the young, death-driven soldiers, sometimes praise me,

lamenting at length, finishing each other’s rendition of
my little Gettysburg speech. The pain, the pain, the pain.

Earl J. Wilcox writes about aging, baseball, literary icons, politics, and southern culture. His work appears in more than two dozen journals; he is a regular contributor to The New Verse News. More of Earl's poetry appears at his blog, Writing by Earl.