1893 – 1911
Now, there was a place to be!
It is true I was born a brute in a Quaker Town.
Born a bad-tempered brute of a boy
In the two-room digs on Bailey Street and Comstock..
My father fathered two other families,
Unbeknownst to his wife..
And I was the first one disowned.
But my father was a great believer,
And I loved the man like a fool.
I took up the milkin’ business at fourteen,
And made my morning way from Orange Drive down to Penn Street.
Delivering the dozens of clinking milk bottles.
Delivering the dozens of morning salutations,
To neighbors and friends in the glad and dismal days.
I had but one romantic interlude in my short stay,
Just one futile attempt at Carpe Diem.
But was left slapped and standing by a disheveled Ethel Hurst
There in the dark shade of Black Canyon
That inauspicious August day in 1910.
Ethel Hurst did not accept the entreaties of a 17 year old brute.
Did not accept my wild stares
Or my insanely puckered lips.
It was to my surprise that I died.
Died so young and so unready.
Still desiring the perfumed kisses of Ethel Hurst,
Still desiring her heart-quenching embraces,
There, in the dark shade of Black Canyon.