the museum of americana

a literary review

Found Poems: Cultural Fragments of Missouri’s Antebellum Frontier — Poetry by Michael Hoerman

 

Death of William Crawford at Dry Fork
Stuart Lundy, January 1864

We had enough incursions from Kansas
Enough Jayhawkers cursing our names and mothers
Kicking stones in our cemeteries
July 5, 1861: First Carthage
Dry Fork is sweet honey below our post
The hive waits unlimbered
Caterwauling shells collide overhead at 8:32 a.m.
Black powder puffballs down on Crawford, hocus-pocus, Crawford
Sparks
A flittering charcoal moth
Eaten alive by flame
We shot him down
The blues did too

 

Lawrence County winter camp
Lundy, January 1862

Cross snowfield prairie into forest moonlight
River crossings between rolling hills
Through cuts in the terrain
We ride for Missouri
Merilee, seven years this December, the palest
Freckle peach you ever saw
Last fall they dragged out Mr. Watson and Jack his slave
Veterans of Mexico and killed them both
I galloped from a wooded height
Pursued two hours beyond Cave Spring

 

Daughter
Lundy, June 1863

Merilee’s hair was prairie grass
Swaying last September evening light
I will see it again this season
After we knock down the aggressor
And ride freely
We will be together at home, dear girl
Remember

 

James Spring
Local militia near the Lundy homestead, July 1863

The free-flowing hair
Of the neighbor girl
Found tangled this morning
Where two years ago
Sigel broke camp
Our poor neighbor
Saw rigor mortis flash its terrible grinning invitation
A tongue-flicking serpent in blue
Lunging from a cave
When she came for water
We found him
Filthy guerrilla
Lying in the shade
Small arms
Muffled in the woods

 

~ ~  ~

MichaelHoermanBorn in Carthage, Mis­souri in 1968, a descen­dent of pio­neers to the Mis­souri Ozarks, Michael Hoerman now lives in Massachusetts where he serves on the board of Lowell Celebrates Kerouac. His work has appeared in journals such as Arkansas Literary ForumChiron ReviewMain Street Rag, and Potomac Review. His work has also appeared in anthologies such as Fuck Poems (Lavender Ink, 2012), The Bedside Guide to No Tell Motel (No Tell Books, 2007), Mischief, Caprice and Other Poetic Strategies (Red Hen Press, 2005), and Off the Cuffs (Soft Skull Press, 2003). Michael was a 2004 poetry fellow of the Massachusetts Cultural Council selected by Naomi Ayala, Mary Gan­non, Thomas Lux and Afaa Weaver. He is creative director of The Temp Series Project, an organization that gets its name from the ephemeral nature of inspiration and the necessity for adaptive rather than template approaches to creative placemaking. The project develops community-based art such as “A Streetcar Named Desire”, a reading in March 2013 that brought together Merrimack Valley and Mississippi Delta poets at the historic Worthen House in Lowell, MA.