The Ballad of Old Buck Holland ( a reading)

The Ballad of Old Buck Howland
 
For years and years he lived right here
in a tent on the edge of Folly.
He brewed his beer and wrote his poems
in the shade of a stunted loblolly.
 
He played at working construction,
could drive a nail I guess,
but what Buck was really good at
was downing his Inverness.
 
He’d have a drop in the morning,
he’d have a drop at noon,
he’d have a drop at midnight,
‘neath the light of a winter moon.
 
The cold on Folly ain’t that bad
(unless you stay in a tent),
but Buck would hum all through the night,
shivering but still content,
 
content because his poems would clack
from that old Underwood,
clack-clack-clacking, like a woodpecker,
on the edge of the stunted wood.
 
The VA doctors warned him
to change his lifestyle soon,
but Buck was a stubborn cuss.
He loved the light of the moon.
 
They found him dead inside a shed
on the side of Folly Road,
and in his hand he held a poem,
the last one he ever wrote:
 
            Drunk me some wine with Jesus [it read]
            At this here wedding in Galilee.
            He saved the bestest for second
            And provided it all for free.
            
            So I quit my job on the shrimp boat
            To follow Him eternally,
            No longer bound by them blue laws
            Enforced by the Pharisee.

            And we had us some real good times
            Till them Pharisees done Him in.
            Ain’t got no use for the religious right
            After I seen what they done to Him.

            Then when Saul Paul stole the show
            I sort of drifted away.
            Cause he never quite did understood
            What Jesus was trying to say.

            Paul was like a Pharisee,
            Cussing this, cussing that,
            Giving the wimmins a real hard time,
            Gay bashing and all like that.

            So I stay at home most nights now
            Trying to do some good,
            Offering beggars a little snort
            Whilst praying for a Robin Hood.

            Drunk me some wine with Jesus,
            It was the bestest day I ever seen.
            Drunk me some wine with Jesus,
            Partying with the Nazarene.

I can think of worse things 
to have in your hand when dead
across the bridge on Folly Road
inside an old tool shed.
 
 
 
 
 
Robert Lawrence Buck Howland 1947-2016