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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Truer Grit






Tess over at The mag posted this image of the painting, Under the Windsor bridge, 1912, by Adolphe Valette. While the image didn't spark an immediate poem, it did remind me a bit of a little spot in the city I live in. Just outside the courthouse on Main street is a set of stairs that go down to the river. The stairs go below the highway that runs behind the courthouse; a highway that has at least four names that I know of. Driving on the highway you would never know that the road is actually a bridge at that point, and the stairs go under the road.
I can only imagine why they built the stairs, maybe to transport people to and from court, on the river. At times I imagined three men in a boat, one rowing, one chained to his seat, and one with a scatter gun, coming to the stairs. The chained man to be brought to justice, and maybe the gallows. This was a rough town, a mill town, and for a time the state capital…and the end of the Oregon Trail.
I would imagine those things, would give life to the rower, Cliff, who got a silver piece to row the leaky boat those miles to the courthouse. Thomas the guard, whose wife should have given birth to their third child by now, Thomas not being there because he had to track down the runner. And the runner, a good looking young man, who killed a man over liquor and gambling…may also have had a bit to do with a brunette named Jane. His name was John Landers, and probably by this time tomorrow he would be doing the dance at the end of the rope, after which the judge and the bailiff would smoke some opium in the den just down the street.
      I would imagine these things as I walked slowly down the stairs. I would flesh out their lives, as mine was slowly ending. I would imagine these things as I made my way down the stairs to my home for the evening, my meager bed under the bridge downtown…that almost no one knows is there.

Chris McQueeney    8/19/12    10:51 P.M.


Truer grit

A wolf spider sat
Upon my hand
So still
Not moving
Beautiful in its
Purpose

I screamed like
A little girl
And twitched
As if jolted by
Old sparky

The spider had
Truer grit
Then I

Chris McQueeney 8/19/12 12:38 P.M.

15 comments:

Ben Ditty said...

I've met some pretty bad ass spiders myself!

christopher said...

Damn, Bud... Both these pieces are really good. :D

Jinksy said...

Well, there's a flight of fancy, if you like...

She Writes said...

I like the firs imagining of the city and bridge!

And as for the wolf spider? :D, yes, I suppose he did!

About the music... yes, I can totally see that.

Brian Miller said...

haha on the spider...funny how something so small will throw us off...smiles...i def like the first bit chris...yes how many do not know it is there...

Berowne said...

Very interesting take on the prompt; well done.

Nadja Notariani said...

Weaving a story about the people you 'see' from your place under that bridge ...hmmm. I like it.

I used to do writing exercises similar to this, choosing from among patrons in a cafe, coffee shop, bookstore, wherever. I'd watch for awhile, allowing my eyes to alight on just the face/posture/expression that sparked my imagination, then I'd weave a backstory and write a short story, inserting all my suppositions into a tale of woe and regret, of elation and hope, or of love unrequitted.

Nicely done, Chris. You'd be a fun one to have along at a cafe or mall. People watching : tag-team style. Ha!

christopher said...

Actually, I have known it was there, knew what it had to be, but never wandered around all lit up downtown. That tunnel is known to some fishermen who work the bank, no?

Tess Kincaid said...

Wolf spiders are too much like tarantulas...

Sue said...

Well done on both counts.

=)

Susie Clevenger said...

I like both of your takes on the prompt. There is so much to wonder and observe when watching people. I hate spiders but love your poem. :)

Claudia said...

dang..that last bit of the first piece..very moving..

Karen S. said...

Well spiders are known for being pretty crafty!

Jannie Funster said...

A wolf spider! Thats' what those are called, I was trying to think of the name the other day.
Loved this poem!

jennifer said...

Very nice bud. I really enjoy looking through your minds eye. Well written!