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Kentucke

Frank X Walker

Kentucke

once bloody ground

hunting Eden

for native tongues

apologetically eliminating buffalo

for sustenance

not sport or profit

or pleasure

un common wealth

repopulated

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

you

co-Rupped basketball

your cash crop causes cancer

& the run for the roses

is only two minutes long

kin tucky

beautiful ugly

cousin

i too am of these hills

my folks have corn rowed

tobacco

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

and

gave it color

indeed

some of the bluegrass

is black