Unpublished Poem #11: “Southern Soil”

I wrote this poem about nine years ago, in the summer of 2007. I hope that its message is obvious, but looking back on the poem now, I see different things than I did then. The poem was written as a riff on the Jimi Hendrix lyric, “I’m the one that’s gonna die when it’s time for me to die / So let me live my life the way I want to,” from the song, “If Six Was Nine.”

Southern Soil

If one day I am to lay down in your red clay,
let me define my defiance. Close the definite
escape routes, then face me further out than
you might otherwise. My native eyes see too
few wars on poverty, only races between races.

You have no strategy now for new nightmares,
no new Dixie to whistle or wave wildly, no
Ku Klux in the flux of the new main stream.
Southern soil, you will take me down. You
won’t regret it, I know. But don’t apologize,
don’t proselytize, don’t allude to my delusions.

Just have someone dig a deep ditch and drop in
in my hollow carcass, while my blood is still
fresh on the jaws of the lip-licking mongrels.

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