Monday, October 10, 2011

Rodak's Writings: A Poem for Columbus Day

Turner's Rhapsody

The existence of an area of free land, its continuous recession, and the
advance of American settlement, explain American development.
~ Frederick Jackson Turner

Dig in deep, little Injun,
Here rides Kit Carson
Who counts coup with a boning knife;
Who translates vast tempests
Of thundering bison into one
Proper, prairie-rocking noun;
Who funnels all that rolling force
Through a single humming strand
Of transcontinental copper,
Which carries, encoded, the awesome
Name of shaggy Destiny,
Which grinds out at each end
Pale entrails of tickertape,
To fall from the turreted casements
Of meatpackers and railroad kings;
From the raspy digits of wrinkled domestics;
From the inky thumbs of chirruping clerks;
Down, down, down, descends
This glyphy slough of American laurel,
To wreath the rude brow, anointed
With the unclarified fats of beasts and bipeds,
Where beads of blood like flies in buttermilk
Persist, pronouncing the Passion
Of our Messiah of Manifest;
Now honored in grand procession,
As dime novels generate like maggots
In the sun-soaked meat that glorifies
Every distance from Independence to sunset.
Dig in deep, little Injun;
Here rides Kit Carson,
His saddlebags bursting with letters to Santa Claus.