Sunday, March 19, 2017

Nathanael O'Reilly #9 Escape Sonnet

Escape Sonnet

north away from the Gulf Coast to Fort Worth
past new subdivisions metastasizing
beyond Houston on freshly-bulldozed earth
carved out of the woodlands with beautiful
new floorplans from the low 100s

past the giant statue of Sam Houston
forever standing guard beside the interstate
past the Texas Prison Museum
in Huntsville, ignoring the billboard
advertising the electric chair
past Woody’s Smokehouse in Centreville
where the pits are always smoking
through Buffalo, Corsicana and Waxahachie


  1. howsabout a parallel Australian poem with all Australian names ...

    but b t w why is there a billboard advertising the electric chair ?
    are people buying them for home use?

    1. Might have to work on that after making my way from Melbourne to Booranga in May. "Escape to Booranga"?

      Apparently the electric chair is the star attraction at the prison museum. Pretty bloody morbid.

  2. oh, I love this " Hurricane evacuation route"! Nice sonnet indeed that could be a first episode among others about Texas! Or about Sam Houston and his escape in Mexico after a trial where he was found guilty… the very Houston the Cherokee people recall as a thief … he might have made money on rations that were destined to the Indian tribes… (tribes that would be deported on the trail of tears)… As for the electric chairs and to answer Kit’s question, they could be an alternative to guns … you want to get rid of someone, just invite him-her home for a drink … but this is black humor!

    1. Many thanks! I'm surprised that you know so much about Sam Houston. And impressed! The crazy thing about the "HURRICANE EVACUATION ROUTE" signs is that they go on for at least 5 hours of driving. I guess the idea is to get as far away from the coast as possible and to spread the population of the Houston area out across the state, if need be. I already have a themed book project to work on, but I guess I could steadily accumulate Texas sonnets over the coming years and build a book over time on the side ...

    2. Hi Nathanael, I don't know that much about Sam Houston but I do know a lot about Native People, their cultures , history, languages etc. I translated ans still translate into French something like 40 contemporary Native poets, thus it's my duty to know about their environment, the context etc etc... and what was said about Houston through Cherokee mouths!

    3. Fascinating! Now I really wish I read French ...

  3. A series of place sonnets would be terrific. Texas is probably the state I know least well, but Waxahachie is a beautiful word to end on.

    1. Yes, I will keep that project in mind. Waxahachie is certainly a beautiful word - in fact, much more beautiful than the town itself!