Vulture on the Outfall (poem)

 

WU 2 (4)

Vulture on the Outfall

There’s a sign out on the highway
Jesus is Lord over us all
there’s an abandoned factory
there’s a vulture on the outfall

Jesus is Lord over us all
in this pissant little town
like that vulture on the outfall
we’re still hanging around

in this pissant little town
there’s a double-wide on the hill
I’m going there tomorrow
to get that prescription filled

Oxycontin, Oxycontin
hillbilly heroin
the time to start quitting
is right before you begin.

 

The challenge over at dVerse is to write a poem in a verse form that uses rhyme and repetition, the pantoum is one of the forms referenced. The last verse departs from the form.

 

 

20 thoughts on “Vulture on the Outfall (poem)

    1. sdtp33 Post author

      A complex problem indeed, Rob. The poem is based on an article about OxyContin addiction in rural US ( Rolling Stone). The last verse is from the point of view of the character in the poem.

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  1. Victoria C. Slotto

    I agree with Rob. The pain spread by the addiction spreads far beyond those directly involved. People with legitimate, chronic pain have to jump through so many hoops (sorry about the cliche) to get adequate pain management. I like the variance from the form in this case.

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  2. jillys2016

    I’ve read and reread this poem since you posted it; felt it needed more time because there is so much built into the language. The Outs and the Ins carry the theme, with some help from the Over, On & Around. All of these words place the poem and bring your reader into that place where we feel the symbolism of that vulture and his choice of perching place. This is about so much more than the drug. In that second stanza, I’m not sure if the “Like” refers to Jesus or to We – and that is a brilliant move. Outstanding writing!

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    1. sdtp33 Post author

      Thanks so much for your comment, Jilly, and for taking the time to closely read the poem. It started off as a song lyric, then a failed sonnet and now a half Pantoum. There a few verses on the floor!

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  3. Steve Simpson

    I love the combination of images and ideas in this one, Jim. The vulture waiting at the factory that will never reopen, and the rhythmic Oxycontin, great to see it in poetry. Brands differ, I have less rhythmic Endone in the cupboard. In my experience, some people are more susceptible than others to the opioids. I am very susceptible, so I’m saving it until the vulture is circling me.

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    1. sdtp33 Post author

      Thanks Steve, End-one….what an unfortunate name for an opioid. My wife had a hip operation recently and was prescribed Tramadol which is far more rhythmic. Joe Strummer once sang “Nembutol numbs it all”. Then again, Joe might not be the man to follow.

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