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In Chambers: Local Law Enforcement Professionals

by Ed Pavlic


hadn’t seen the like since Achille
Baquet on clarinet & that
Perkins boy      light enough to float
away & dumb enough to work
both sides of the street      don’t know how
it's done in these parts      deputies
recall the time better than me :
found Drop A Sack & Hit ‘Em Quick

stiff as boards & tangled up tight
as frozen cats in a laundry sack
some have called it the winter swamp
routine      it’s our “All in One : Field
Sobriety Test for Yogis /
James Crow Voter Registration
Exam     a nephew at State came
up with the script: “put your nose

behind your kneecap & when you
get to infinity      kiss your
black ass goodbye & start counting
backwards”      boy’s a genius      just two
years up there      came back playing “Steal
Away” on nose-harp & jerking
his head round like it got stuck up
behind a rock in white water

 

Ed Pavlic is author of Paraph of Bone & Other Kinds of Blue, which won the The American Poetry Review / Honickman First Book Prize in 2001, and a book of essays, Crossroads Modernism (Univ. of Minnesota Press, 2002). He teaches in the English Department and directs the Africana Studies Program at Union College in Schenectady, New York. (2004)


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