(c) 2012 Thunder Publications, Inc.
[The bodies of FLEET and FLANNERY O’Connor are brought into the
theatre or cathedral or county courthouse on a single hospital gurney
by two pallbearers. Filthy white sheets cover the two cadavers.
The ARCHBISHOP leads the procession. Once the gurney is hidden in a "secret garden" the two pallbearers leave the page and take seats
beside the reader. They smoke and discuss trashy tabloid magazines,
as if OBLIVIOUS to the remainder of the poem...The ARCHBISOP (of Savannah?)
addresses the reader. As he speaks, FLEET and FLANNERY copulate
and slowly emerge from their blood-splattered shrouds. [This is a book you are reading.]
Lo! A nightingale of paradise singeth upon a twig of the tree of
paradise in a clear voice, proclaiming, the gladtidings of our nearness
Here lies the great southern author FLANNERY O’Connor and her
nigger lover, who took himself and her from this earth.
As wicked as the lust between them.
FLANNERY, my sister.
The nigger FLEET, sullen bastard too good to be a nigger.
The perfect Nigger FLEET.
The nigger with one, two, three degrees, eight modern languages--
Greek, Latin and Hebrew, too.
Nigger genius FLEET!
Let me tell you about FLEET.
Let me tell you that I warned Daddy the day he brought that rascal
out to the house to drive our car.
I say: "Daddy, you see the way that nigra walks, the way he breathes?
Look at his hands, Daddy, how slender and smooth they are? Look at
the way his jaw is set. That is the face of a Messiah or a murderer.
Either way, he’s out to turn our world upside down."
Daddy, he say,
that be Merriett--that’s his real name--Dr. Merriett Cuffe--be Lula’s boy
and he’d promised Lula that once Merriett finished his schooling he’d
give him a job where her son wouldn’t get his hands dirty.
They plucked a piano or violin as effortlessly as
one could PULL A TRIGGER.
He sang, too, in a satin tenor.
GODDAMN you, FLEET!
(On knees, in supplication and remorse)
I named him FLEET after
Daddy’s big car--Fleetwood.
FLEET, get it? Fleetwood
Cadillac, the finest car MADE.
And I remember the first day
I called him that, he just held
his head low and sighed, as
though I had said something
inevitable, as if I had
He never spoke a word to me again
after that. He only did whatever I told him to do.
And Daddy took up calling him FLEET, too.
He thought it was funny, a fitting name
for a Cadillac-quality darky,
That black shiny thing.
FLANNERY vacillated some days: it was FLEET and others it was
Merriett. No telling what name she moaned as she clasped him under the
sheets, on the backseat of Daddy’s car.
FLEET stood so straight, like a pole was jabbed up his behind.
I saw him on the days he’d strip to the waist to wash Daddy’s big
The day they buried Daddy, he was there--FLEET--his skin as smooth
and hairless as the body of that glistening car, molded or chisled from
iron or some unearthly stone.
I wanted to touch him.
I wanted to glide my fingertips across the lips of the wounds I gave
him--I called him FLEET first.
To name is the first act in murder’s drama.
I was the ROMAN soldier: my tongue was the spear that pierced him
out of the same dumb fate that placed a brilliant BLACK man as my
handservant and between FLANNERY’S hungry thighs.
In this "secret garden" rooted in black and white and blood,
And creamy dew-drops congealed around a shaft of gold hunger,
Then frozen in hatred as facile as the tautology X=X,
Terminology Almighty, this mean mathematics.
Variables? DEFEAT. INSANITY. SEX.
Or our DIXIE TRINITY,
strung along lynchrope syllogisms, blazing in the night sky
from mountaintops dotted with failed ghosts,
clutching their pricks and their yellow-haired women,
while they could be instead holding FLEET to their breasts,
His richness and perfection.
[Close the book now.]