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Frank X Walker


once bloody ground

hunting Eden

for native tongues

apologetically eliminating buffalo

for sustenance

not sport or profit

or pleasure

un common wealth


with immigrants

and freedmen

who discovered black lung

was as indiscriminate

as calluses

& hunger

you remain north & south

interstate highways

your crucifix

blessing yourself with

64 and I-75

you have derbied

and dribbled yourself

a place in a world

that will not let you forget


co-Rupped basketball

your cash crop causes cancer

& the run for the roses

is only two minutes long

kin tucky

beautiful ugly


i too am of these hills

my folks have corn rowed


laid track

strip mined

worshipped & whiskied

from Harlan to Maysville

old Dunbar to Central

our whitney youngs

and mae street kidds

cut their teeth

on bourbon balls

and though

conspicuously absent

from millionaires row

we have isaac murphied

our way

down the back stretch

cassius clayed

our names in cement

we are the amen

in church hill downs

the mint

in the julep

we put the heat

in the hotbrown


gave it color


some of the bluegrass

is black