Crying Like a Baby
The coal lobbyist told the mtn. man:
“The man who provides your pay
tells you what to say.”
The hillbilly is an unpaid advocate.
Lack of pay makes the poet free.The hillbilly poet lies
on his bed crying.
The explosions on coal mtn.
make his grandbaby wake up and scream.
Poetic words are the hillbilly’s
way of dealing with the baby’s tears.
Both are mutes
advocating unseen, unheard
by the coal operators
for the birthright of mtn. men.
Old Time Religion
The Raccoon postmaster asked the
green neck poet where he lived.
The UPS driver overheard, butted in,
saying, “I can find out.”
The Poet had a wooden award sent to him.
UPS sent him a post card to pick it up
at their warehouse, because the driver
received no 911 address.
This annoyed the tree hugger almost
as much as getting a wooden award for a poem about
muddy water, dirty minds.
The old time religion was Coal in E. KY.
The Poet had been saved
by the grace of God and given opened eyes
to see the trash in the creeks.
To taste the chemicals in the water.
He sought the Lord and was delivered from fears
of speaking without a filter on his mouth
Like professors mistakenly
Put on their faces.
The hillbilly poet pontificated:
“A liar tells stories to deceive people.
A story teller tells lies to make people laugh.”
The hillbilly poet trusted the county librarian
His psychiatrist told the poet he was delusional –
imagining himself to be a writer.
His psychotherapist gossiped in the poet’s ear shot.
Social Services visited his friends on misinformation.
Opposing lawyers shared laughs at their client’s expense.
A grade school teacher informed the poet
that he was an academic writer
so he couldn’t expect to meet a reader
of his published works.
The poet read that he was
a social commentator
According to two major regional magazines.
When his storekeeper told him stories,
the storekeeper was a bullshitter.
When the poet was paid for
repeating the storekeeper’s stories,
he became a social commentator.
The Mt. Dream librarian was concerned
about the poet – the hillbilly poet
was a person of interest for the Feds.
The locals knew him
for his parables,
his redneck pacifism
International Reading Association to literati
(the IRA to his neighbors)
C.P.R. to his neighbors
(Communist Party of Raccoon to the readers of People’s Weekly World)
and fear of travel outside of Ky.
When the Feds interviewed his psychiatrist
about the alleged conspiracy,
the psychiatrist told the Feds
his co-conspirators were all imaginary.
The Feds laughed and closed the book.
But, the poet’s neighbors, they believed.
Waltr Lane is an Appalachian social commentator and a paranoid hit-n-run survivor. He refuses to tell where he lives in self-styled exile somewhere in Eastern Kentucky. His work is featured in Written in Blood: Courage and Corruption in the Appalachian War of Extraction and Coal Country: Rising Up Against Mountaintop Removal Mining.