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Ah, Woodchuck

I will tell the story
of Woodchuck

One day
God looked down

On the people and
the people were having

a bad time
because of the sportsmen

The sportsmen would travel
in cars along the roads

so all the people had to do
was put out their heads

or stand up out of their holes
and the sportsmen

would shoot them from the road
with rifles

To die
when all you want

is to look out of your hole
is a bad thing

So God said
I will make someone

to go down there
and fight for the people

But then he made

as if it were not
really all that important

to him
what happened

But Woodchuck always
stayed with the people

That we must say
Woodchuck has always

stayed with the people
even when things were worst

And he did seek
to avenge them

He carried his penis
in a box

which in some ways
was an advantage

and in some ways
a disadvantage

Sometimes when Woodchuck
needed to be free

of his penis
instead it would be there

in its box

Yes I will tell of Woodchuck
whose strange ways

are with us still
and who killed John Kennedy

to avenge his people
or for whatever reason

I cannot say
because he never explained

Nor was I myself there
to say

One day
God made him

and he came down
among the people

Immediately he wandered off
perhaps because of the box

he could never forget
because it was always in his hand

and he didn’t want to leave it
somewhere carelessly

though he often did
and it was often

very difficult
to get his penis back

Perhaps this is why he wandered
But he always came back

His heart was with the people
It was why he’d been made

Though why his penis
was in a box

was never clear to any
who tell his story

The penis caused trouble
among the people

who sometimes came to shout
at Woodchuck

where they lived with him

Hey Woodchuck they would shout
Get your penis away from our holes

All your penis wants to do
is find any hole it can

and the people cannot
have this

At least put
a stronger lock on the box

But Woodchuck never locked up
his penis and instead

would wander away
to where his penis might find

trouble and then leave it
behind and wander again

So it was for many years
many dangerous years

For the sportsmen
still roamed

Not in the fields or forest
but on the roads

And there were always more
roads and more sportsmen

A sportsman would later fire
his rifle even at the President

of the country
But it was Woodchuck

who killed John Kennedy
from the grassy knoll

on Elm Street
in Dealey Plaza

in Dallas Texas
where Lee Oswald

who had himself in Louisiana shot
at rabbit and at the people

as a youth
fired at John Kennedy

though his shots were not as effective
as they might have been

But Woodchuck
finished the job

Why he had wandered to Dallas
was no clearer to the people

than why he wandered anywhere
though someone once said

it was only chickens
coming home to roost

And Woodchuck too came home
He made that dangerous journey

more than once
even after the sportsmen

forgot their fallen leader
and took to the roads

with new bloodlust
and angry distrust

Woodchuck stayed underground
whenever he could

but he was also
able to make himself

as he wanted to be seen

So one day
Woodchuck made his way out

among the sportsmen
and it is even said

that he rode in their cars
drove along the roads

and drank beer with the sportsmen
open in six packs

on the back seats
though Woodchuck himself

never shot at the people
or even touched a rifle

except occasionally
to disturb the sportsmen’s aiming

He exchanged angry words
with some of the sportsmen

though it must also be said
that he enjoyed their beer

for he liked to have fun
But there was the time

when he put his box
in the trunk of a sportsman’s

car and then got too drunk to remember
where it had been left

Woodchuck’s penis remained at large
for most of the summer

one year in the neighborhoods
of the sportsmen

The penis would find ways
into bedrooms

and there be so insistent
and yet so secretive

that wives of the sportsmen
could easily claim they’d simply

enjoyed very nice dreams
Woodchuck’s penis thereby

surprised many wives of the sportsmen
by making them pregnant

and the sportsmen had more houses
built and more garages for their cars

went for more vacations
sometimes with their wives

sometimes without
and Woodchuck had to avoid them

but also sought to find his penis
and put it back in its box

which was very dangerous
and which became additional reason

for him to be underground
planning its retrieval

Woodchuck thought very clearly
in the absence of his penis

and created wonderful plots
though these were often upset

the moment
it was recovered

Meanwhile his penis
would cause trouble

A hole is a hole to a blind penis
so he left the sportsmen themselves

confused when they knew
it hadn’t really been dreams

Why did they wake uneasily
Why were their wives pregnant

when precautions had been taken
But Woodchuck’s penis

was adept at avoiding
attempts at prevention

so his children began
to live among the sportsmen

Though no one wants
to talk about it

it is nevertheless true
or so the people say

(end of part one)


Ted Pelton

Ted Pelton is the author of several books, all fiction: Bhang, Endorsed by Jack Chapeau 2 an even greater extent, Malcolm & Jack (and Other Famous American Criminals), and the novella, Bartleby, the Sportscaster. He is also the Executive Director of Starcherone Books, and a Professor of Humanities at Medaille College of Buffalo, NY.


The Brooklyn Rail

JUL-AUG 2007

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