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Misc Poet April 16, 1998
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Charles Wright
1935-

Earlier this week, Chuck won the Pulitzer Prize for Black Zodiac. Here's a poem from his 1981 book, The Southern Cross:

Gate City Breakdown

Like a vein of hard coal, it was the strike
We fantasized, the pocket of sure reward we sidestepped
      the roadblocks for
In Southwest Virginia, seamed in its hillside
Above the north fork of the Holstun River.

One afternoon before Christmas
In 1953, we crossed the bridge from Tennessee on a
      whiskey run,
Churchill and Bevo Hammond and Philbeck and I,
All home for the holidays,
On the back road where they chased us, we left the
      Sheriff's Patrol in their own dust,
And washed ours down with Schlitz on the way home.

Jesus, it's so ridiculous, and full of self-love,
The way we remember ourselves,
                  &nbs p;        and the dust we leave . . .

Remember me as you will, but remember me once
Slide-wheeling around the curves,
               letting it out on the other side of the line.

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