Charles Darnell (01/19/1950 / St Martinsville, Louisiana)
Neon Bible -For John Kennedy Toole
There in the tawdry glow of a corner lamp,
In the piss pools dripping into gutters
Outside the dim and dreary bars,
The pages waltzing around alleyways,
Rejected and shelved,
They would not stay still.
Words dead were resurrected
Like Jesus at Easter,
And we came to know
How a confederacy of dunces,
Blind to brilliance,
Turned you away.
The staggering preacher bleats
His boozy verse from a skidmarked bible,
Flecked with bourbon vomit and neon glare.
His admonition against sin
Grins back at him with knowing nods
And come hither looks.
He mumbles a prayer and stumbles after.
And in the end,
You found redemption,
A gassy sleep in Biloxi.
A finish to the self hate,
And a slovenly St. Ignatius
Bumbling ahead like a clownish prophet,
Proclaimed your second coming.
What waste, what waste!
What might we have read had you lived?
Instead, a God distracted,
Attention turned elsewhere,
Did not even think to turn off the key.
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