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Success Comes To Cow Creek Analysis

Author: poem of James Tate Type: poem Views: 7

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I sit on the tracks,

a hundred feet from

earth, fifty from the

water. Gerald is

inching toward me

as grim, slow, and

determined as a

season, because he

has no trade and wants

none. It's been nine months

since I last listened

to his fate, but I

know what he will say:

he's the fire hydrant

of the underdog.

When he reaches my

point above the creek,

he sits down without

salutation, and

spits profoundly out

past the edge, and peeks

for meaning in the

ripple it brings. He

scowls. He speaks: when you

walk down any street

you see nothing but


of shit and vomit,

and I'm sick of it.

I suggest suicide;

he prefers murder,

and spits again for

the sake of all the

great devout losers.

A conductor's horn

concerto breaks the

air, and we, two doomed

pennies on the track,

shove off and somersault

like anesthetized

fleas, ruffling the

ideal locomotive

poised on the water

with our light, dry bodies.

Gerald shouts

terrifically as

he sails downstream like

a young man with a

destination. I

swim toward shore as

fast as my boots will

allow; as always,

neglecting to drown.


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