This is the official blog of Northern Arizona slam poet Christopher Fox Graham. Begun in 2002, and transferred to blogspot in 2006, FoxTheBlog has recorded more than 423,000 hits since 2009. This blog cover's Graham's poetry, the Arizona poetry slam community and offers tips for slam poets from sources around the Internet. Read CFG's full biography here. Looking for just that one poem? You know the one ... click here to find it.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Oil Dealers and Deepwater, Part II

Part II – Étouffée

the last thing he remembered
was her étouffée
the way shrimp and chicken
could fall apart in his mouth
the texture of onion,
the soft burn of the bell pepper,
the crunch of celery
for a moment
after the alarm sounded
after the shock of fear subsided in his spine
he was there again
in her Baton Rouge kitchen
surrounded by the smell of her labors

he had seen a blowout on another rig
everyone jumped to their posts
did their jobs
and when all was said and done
wounds were treated
scars healed
insurance wrote off the damage
and they thanked heaven no one got killed

for a moment
he flashed back to that rig
hoped it would repeat
and as the rumble rose
his eyes dimmed
the world fell away from focus
and he could taste her étouffée in his throat

the moment was too quick to prepare
he saw the faces of the men around him
he had seen them all today on the rig
they were 11 roughnecks who would go home
when the job was over
they were strangers before the rig
and they would be afterward
they were forgettable
and always wanted to be
for a roughneck,
to have one’s name known
means you’ve fucked up
you screwed the boss’s daughter
you carelessly killed a man
or you died on a rig

they were 11 men
whose names would be remembered:
Jason Anderson
Aaron Dale Burkeen
Donald Clark
Stephen Curtis
Gordon Jones
Roy Wyatt Kemp
Karl Klepping
Blair Manuel
Dewey Revette
Shane Roshto
Adam Weise
no longer forgettable

when it came
the rip roar of steel and crude
swallowed in a sun
the last thing he remembered
was her étouffée
the last thought
was the smell of Cajun cooking
the feel of her arms around him
as the bowels of the earth
those billions of animals
compressed into oil
buried for millions of years
saw the sky again
released the rage of imprisonment
ignited into fire
rose into the sky
carried his disintegrated memories
with them
rising like steam
from a cooking pan
of her étouffée

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