Blind Buck Williams Last Meal at Parchman Farm
Real butter, none of that lard shit.
Four entire barbecued chickens.
Kettleful of grits. Whole mess
of collard greens, whomped up with bacon fat.
Blackeye peas by the bushel.
Bucket of beer. Cold, even.
They could smell that food all up & down the Row, made everyone restless. Like freedom or childhood. Like one of those mornings, the world full of possibility & the rivers singing your name. The kind that usually comes right before someone hammers you in the face with the butt of a rifle or runs off with your gal. This place is the dirt end of the broom, you know that. Guards thought maybe hed eat himself to death, save the state of Mississippi a bit of trouble, but Buck never had a problem with consuming what was in front of him.
If were being honest now,
wed have to say Buck could see as well as anyone
Blind a name the record company made up,
they promised hed be famous so he caught
the Sliding Delta over to Clarksdale,
played every song he knew
for two hundred dollars & a bottle of gin,
Buck probably the only one who didnt see
how things would turn out. Blind after all.
Why would we start being honest now? Buck was so afraid he didnt really exist he invented himself all over every day, & later when they said he got his harmonica back & spent his last night blowing the loneliest notes anyone had ever heard & everyone on the Farm stayed awake to listen, well, thats probably not quite right, either. But what difference? Stormwind screaming through the high branches of river oaks might be made up, too, but it doesnt make the world a happier place to say so.
Hell, every meals the last one.
I told you about the chickens, right? That parts true.
Four entire goddamn barbecued chickens.
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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 39 | Winter 2013