Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Queen Of Picher

The Queen of Picher
loved the wife of a Baptist preacher
and every night she dreamed she kissed her
in a rowboat on the poisoned red waters of hell.

But it wasn't enough to dream it,
so she went down in the old mines to scream it
til her throat was raw as fresh-rolled sin
and she felt as bright as a Baptist bell.

On Saturday nights she ponder and think
of forty-five ways to wring a preacher's neck,
Then Sunday come and she sigh and sink
into an ass-killin' pew, and the sermon last a week.

Rock of ages,
cleft for me--
let me hide
this sweet burnin' desire for thee.

The Queen of Picher couldn't get her
self in hand, and so she kissed her only love
in broad daylight in the middle of town--

But knees and mines can both go weak,
and by the second kiss, the whole damn street
went down, baby, they fell through thin air straight down.

The Queen of Picher and the Baptist minister's
wife now lie entwined at the bottom of the shaft--
in the shadow of the chat heaps...
and that was that.


top photo by my friend Daryl Edelstein, featured today at Real Toads!

bottom photo is of an abandoned church in Picher. To learn about the modern day ghost town of Picher, Oklahoma, click HERE.

optional musical accompaniment available HERE. (opens in new window) 


Kerry O'Connor said...

Fascinating history of this town, and great setting for your story.

TexWisGirl said...

now THAT is not a happy ending!

Sioux said...

Sadly, I imagine there were things like that happened in real life--even if perhaps they were not quite as dramatic as the ending to your poem.

hedgewitch said...

Vivid, emotionally and linguistically. The underlying layers, mined too deep too long, ready to collapse the surface and make the proverbial highway to hell, especially. Agree with Kerry--the Picher backstory is fascinating and adds a lot.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

No one tells a story like you do. Love "bright as a Baptist bell."

Emma Major said...

Wow, it's like a novel on one page, well done, amazing

Hannah said...

Perfect setting for your story, I agree...I love the portion of Rock of ages/cleft for on and the potency in this longing...longing for what one can't consuming sometimes. Amazing, Shay as usual my poetic friend. :)

Robyn Greenhouse said...

I agree with Emma - this is like a whole novel in one poem! Interesting history on the town.

Kay L. Davies said...

Whew, that was really something! And then the story of Picher, Oklahoma.
What a great write.

Anonymous said...

And that was that. :) What a great ending. I loved this poem. But I was confused because I felt like Fireblossom was writing this until the incorrect verbs in Stanza 3, where I felt Coal coming out. The verb usage felt off to me. Other than that, I loved it. I'll come back and tell you my favorites tomorrow when my head isn't pounding.

Mama Zen said...

I adore that third stanza! How on earth did you ever hear about Picher, Oklahoma?

Anonymous said...

Typed you a comment sharing my favorite lines, and it was lost. I'll retry later. Sorry. :(

Daryl said...

LOVE this ...