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Page 10 of Blue-Tail Fly, No. 6

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SAYINGS AND DOINGS These pieces have a certain kinship to the "found objects" of the sculptors, and for that reason I have been tempted to call them "found poems. " But the term is only approximate and not satisfactory. These poems weren't happened upon. I have had them in mind for a long time, some of them for most of my life; they were overheard and learned in my native part of the country; many of them had been told and retold, had passed through the memories of numerous other people, before they came to me. And so they are not so much found as inherited. Also, unlike sculptural found objects, these pieces cannot simply be displayed, but must be recorded--first in memory, and then on paper. The record inevitably shapes what it records, and so there is a necessity to say that to a considerable extent these pieces have been made. They have been made memorable by being remembered. And I am aware that writing them down in verse has, in turn, affected them strongly, and in ways of which I am sure I am not fully conscious. The verse is necessary, for it gives the inflection and the weight that the words bore in being spoken, and it makes clear that memorable speech is measured speech. "Billy, why in the name of God would you tie up with a woman as ugly as she is? " "You see this watch? That's a dollar case but it's got a hundred dollars worth of works in it. I was kicked out of Hell for playing in the ashes. "Pap, health officer said you got to get them damn hogs out of the house. It ain't healthy. " "You tell that sdnvabitch I've raised a many a hog in this house, and ain't lost one yet. " Having diagnosed pregnancy in the case 01 a young girl, un-married, the doctor steps out onto the porch, followed by the distraught mother: "Oh doctor, do you suppose a man could have got to that child? " "Well, a good big boy could a done it. " They've worn this country out and sowed it in automobiles. It would have been very provident of Providence if He had made a certain proficiency necessary for procreation. Dance on a dead Indian's grave and ask him what he died for. He'll say nothing. Having been hit in the side of the face with a_ stove-shaker and waked up in the doctor's office, he asks: I thought he finally had a woman he could keep --knock-kneed, cross-eyed, fat. And then along comes a blind man. "Doc, does that hole go clean through? " The doctor, poking his finger through the hole: "Yep. " Don't think of the dollar. Think of the job. If you want people to love their country, let them own a piece of it. 10 Number Six