Poem Written as Barter for $366.12 in Outstanding Bills
J. BAILEY HUTCHINSON
I whittle mud from my boot like anyone else.
I pluck hair from my chin.
I like to have a party
where everyone’s dressed good.
This far from the river
I am not often told take care
or pay your doctor, so of course
you find me here, eating unwashed
things—I think a tooth
can handle that. All I want to win is
the most laughs and never
die. All I want to grow is the
tongue that tricks my neighbor, no
I have not took & burnt your siding
to cook my soups. I am still new to this—
to caring for animal me. I don’t need
to be loved except when I do. Except
when I am walking, because I
pluck up too much from the road
and I need a reader, elsewise only me
sees the stump with a pickaxed middle
and the diner’s accumulated fry-oil,
its guard of nurse-mean wasps, the sun
rubycut in the chrome of a passing truck
loaded with crushed chicken. Listen,
I’m not paying you nothing. I can sing
about an acorn gourd. I think the word opaline
can put bread in your mouth.