Terry Savoie

 

Buttermilk Poem

 

           – for former Patient M. of the Mt. Pleasant, Iowa MHI (1971)

 

As scrawny as a plucked bantam rooster,

                               but that kid knew all about hell on earth

          since he'd been there before he turned seven.

 

We'd find him leaning up

                               against the locked ward's cement block wall,

          hard asleep

 

or simply loopy on his cocktail of Haldol, Thorazine & Lithium,

                               which signaled his need for buttermilk,

          cold, ice cold & now

                                                                          Now!

to quiet the open revolt deep inside.

                               He loved that buttermilk as he loved nothing else

          before, loved to toss it back with abandon

 

& let it slide thick & smooth

                               down his gullet with a few dribbles

          left on his chin, neck & shirt.

 

Was it the devil inside him made him do it,

                               mangle his knuckles against a concrete block wall

          or kick & break a ward nurse's neck,

 

but nothing mattered,

                               nothing but his love of buttermilk!

 

                                          *

 

          I'm trying to remember you, M., as you were

 

the last time I saw you, your birthday,

                               one day before you were to be shipped off

          to the penitentiary for the criminally insane

 

where the trustees weren't about

                               to treat him with kid gloves.

          It was a cold February Sunday, that day your folks came

 

to bring you their gift, a dime store fishing pole,

                               seeing how boys need to get out

          & do a little fishing in their spare time, 

 

as they winked me

                               into their family's conspiratorial circle of trust.

          The deadest part of an Iowa winter, & you were lying there, spread-

 

eagled in an isolation cell

                               on a cot & in leather, five-point restraints

          when you turned on me with a hiss,

 

"Fishin's for sissies! Tell 'em that, & kiss

                               their asses for me on the way out! Fuck,

          where's my buttermilk at? Get it & get it quick, you bastard!"

Terry Savoie is retired and lives outside Iowa City, Iowa. More than three hundred of Savoie's poems have been published in literary journals over the past three decades. These include Poetry, The American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, Black Warrior Review, Prairie Schooner, Great River Review, The Iowa Review, and North American Review, as well as recent or forthcoming issues of Tiferet, Tar River Poetry, One, Quiddity, Spillway, Kentucky Review, Commonweal, and America, among others.

Poetry

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Deep Water Literary Journal

2015 - Issue 2 - August

 

 

Welcome

 

Elizabeth Bodien (USA)

All Souls' Night

 

Chanel Brenner (USA)

Back at the El Encanto Twenty Years Later

 

Claire Vogel Camargo (USA)

Touching the Edge of Darkness

 

Saddiq Dzukogi (Nigeria)

Descend

 

S.E. Gale (Australia)

The Reliquary

 

Gary Glauber (USA)

In Philippa’s Hands

Invention

Jeremiad

 

Clare Hepworth-Wain (England)

To mark her passing

 

Strider Marcus Jones (England)

The Two Saltimbanques

 

Robert S. King (USA)

Inside a Photograph

The Ghosts of Machu Picchu

 

Steve Klepetar (USA)

almost from the first

If It Comes to That

 

Ron. Lavalette (USA)

Eurydice

 

Sada Malumfashi (Nigeria)

Petrocalypse

 

Rasmenia Massoud (France)

Ghosts in My Skin

Open Mike Night

 

Catfish McDaris (USA)

Gone Amazon

Soldier Blues

 

Pat J Mullan (Ireland)

Mother Perfection

 

Christine Murray (Ireland)

bind

bind.

 

Heather Mydosh (USA)

Unsaleable

 

Caleb J. Oakes (USA)

Extended Forms of Hunger

Frown For Me

 

David O’Neill (Ireland)

Decisions in the Dark Room

 

Rachel C. Peters (USA)

Heroin

 

Mark Antony Rossi (USA)

This Ancient City

Transatlantic Transfiguration

 

Walter Ruhlmann (France)

Distorted Echo

The Lips of the Wolf

 

John Saunders (Ireland)

Murphy is Out for the Summer

 

Terry Savoie (USA)

Buttermilk Poem

 

Larry Schug (USA)

As If We Were Not Brothers

 

Pepper Swell (USA)

Cold Fury

 

The Man in the Black Pyjamas (Ireland)

Numbers