National Poetry Month: “Powderfinger II”

Note: This is meant as a sequel to Neil Young’s song “Powderfinger,” written from the point of view of the gunboat. 

Powderfinger

We were steaming up the big river

the captain said that he had a fever

and the humidity had him in thrall

all because the rain refused to fall.

Around the bend, the map

it showed a town

A sleepy port

but rebel trouble

makes the smallest town a fort.

From the railing I spied

a traitor (so they say)

but I feel I can know him better…

I think about the heat of the sun

and get behind the big Gatling gun

and I pull on the trigger

the gunpowder black

on my finger.

I watch the dock complain

as my bullets turn to rain…

I see the figure as he makes his move

he takes aim, he’s got something to prove

but the red blood explodes

from his head

and falling lies there dead.

My finger is faster today

and the ship banks away

The captain cries that the heat

is making him faint –

“Get a move on, son” miles of river await.

 

 

 

 

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