Portland, Oregon (February 11, 2016)
When I’m stuck and scared, when I cannot summon the right words, or even the distant cousins of the nearly right words, or the memories of the words I thought I heard rattling around in my head just a few moments ago (even just a few of them), I often turn to the one soul who consistently reminds me how to find my voice again.
No, God, not you this time.
I turn to James Dickey, and to his genius poem, “Looking for the Buckhead Boys.”
I read it to myself, aloud, in Dickey’s Georgia drawl.
I read it like it’s the last thing I’ll ever read.
And by the time I reach those final lines, I’m home, too, Mr. Dickey, and God bless your soul for that.
Today I cheated. I Googled the poem, too lazy, I guess, to traipse upstairs to a dusty bookcase.
And there it was, the first time I’d seen it, right there in the dusty stacks of the World Wide Web, James Dickey reading that poem on a black-and-white video.
I thought perhaps that when Dickey reached those final lines I would just smile.
But, as always, I dried my cheeks and turned back to the keyboard.
-- Bryan Denson