The poem posted below is taken from my developing manuscript Breath of a Devil: the Untold Story of the Outlaw Jesse James. I share it here in response to today’s Daily Prompt from WordPress.
The prompt asks poets to illustrate, via a poem, a leader. Although not a benevolent leader, the outlaw Jesse James was indeed an effective leader. The poem depicts a childhood meeting between my narrator, Silas Thatch, and Jesse James. I believe Jesse’s leadership qualities, his ability to motivate are well depicted.
Tell me what you think.
The Pit of Me
Jesse slid over toward me, smooth as a snake.
He came close, locked his eyes, blue as heaven,
on me tighter than two rattler fangs in a sliver
of soft flesh. Not mean like, almost kind,
but I knew not to jabber until Jesse said I could.
Days passed, or they seemed to, but Jesse spoke
his first words to me. Guess you think I’m kinda funny.
No sir, I said. Yup, he was no older than me,
but I called him sir. No sir, I said. But those squeelin’
ladies were funny. Couldn’t help, but snicker a bit.
Jesse looked deeper into me, kinda hookin’ them fangs,
or his eyes I mean, into the pit of me, and spit his venom
and I was his. Like a stripe on a cat, I was his.
I admit I worried a bit cause I just seen what Jesse
thought about cats. Then he smiled, looked down
at his feet and kicked a small stone toward me,
said Pick it up. Let’s see what you can hit.
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