Epic Poem

Traditionally, an epic poem is a long, serious, poetic narrative about a significant event, often featuring a hero. Before the development of writing, epic poems were memorized and played an important part in maintaining a record of the great deeds and history of a culture. Later, they were written down and the tradition for this kind of poem continued. Epics often feature the following: a hero who embodies the values of a culture or ethnic group; something vital that depends on the success of the hero’s actions; a broad setting, sometimes encompassing the entire world; intervention by supernatural beings. Examples of epics include Gilgamesh, the Odyssey, and Beowulf.

This is the longest duet I have ever done.  In fact, maybe, it could be considered an Epic Poem. In the poem below; can you pick out the hero?  Regardless, I hope you enjoy and be sure to stop by and visit Theodore Ficklestein.



Before I could stop the movement of my hand
I reached out to dig, looking for your breath
Your beating heart; hidden beneath the sand
Birds circle above, a song of betrayal all that’s left
My heart pounds-out a hundred beats methodically
Knowing full well the consequences, the steep price
If an observer were to see this act, prying sneaky eyes

My mind races in slow motion as I begin to recite poetry
Of all the things that could be going on right now
Birds above me screaming, not helping in any way
What is this The Raven? This is it and nothing more?
Is this like a writing desk? Am I Edgar Allan Poe?
No it’s not. No I am not. Merely a poem upon this death
I really should have brought a shovel, a cloak and dagger too

How was I supposed to know that upon this ground
You would end up face first and buried in this grit.
I told ya you shouldn’t have gone swimming, exploring;
But no…You just had to do it your way,always your way.
When is my opinion ever important to you? Never.
You know I’m happy you are stuck in the sand.
You deserve it; you rotten bastard.

This is what happens to bad people, to angry people
God is punishing you for your ill rotten life.
For buying lottery tickets instead of giving to charity
For being a nasty bully to those desperately in need
For living in a glass house and outlawing all the rocks
For being a hypocrite, a liar, a malevolent voice of violence
Never are you to be given a tombstone or proper burial.

You are now nothing more, just a dead body by the shore
The Raven was right about you, this is it and nothing more.
I am about to curse out the world, you and the sand all at once
“This is what you have done to me; this is your fault
I take no responsibility for the predicament you are in
Goddammit this isn’t what I signed up for, asshole”
Then I hear a familiar loyal voice from behind me ask,

“What the hell are you doing?” my loyal friend puzzled
“Looking for the poor soul lost beneath this golden castle”
I looked down to see what made his face become ashen
And I noticed my friend, my foe, my enemy’s hand
Sticking Zombie like from a moat of bloody mucked up sand
Without blinking my eyes I smiled and said,
“Would you like to join me my loyal and quizzical friend?”

“Man you are freaking weird. I mean certifiably cornball weird.
It’s not even because you’re digging up a blood soaked body.”
I knew he was trying to make light of the intense situation
Maybe trying to reconcile this scene in his poor troubled head
“I mean who says things like that? Looking for the poor soul
lost beneath the…what was it… golden castle?
Pretty soon you’ll be reciting poetry out loud.”

I coughed up, “No” but on cue the Raven corrected my reply
A witness determined, screeching his echoing verse into the sky.
“You did that already didn’t you?” a knowing smirk evident
I continued to dig ignoring the voice of my helper, my friend.
“Let me guess,” as he spotted the large crying bird above us.
“The Raven?” “Maybe.” I shrugged. “Mmm. Real original.”
The ocean swam by as we continued digging, side by side.

We worked quietly for a time and maybe a spell or two
before my comrade piped up, “So do you plan on telling me?
why the hell you are digging this bloody body up?”
“I was actually hoping you would just shut up and help,
but that clearly isn’t going to happen.” I could see his concern
“You didn’t kill em. Did you?”
“No. I hated his guts. But I didn’t kill him.”

My helper wiped the sweat off his eyebrows. “Whew that’s a relief.”
I stopped digging to explain the situation better to my friend.
“Before Mr. Withers died what did he tell me?”
“That he hated you?” “Besides that.” “That you’re an asshole?”
“No. Not that” “That you’re a loser?”
“No. No No. He said he hid his real treasure in his soul.”
His momentary look of relief faded into a worried fear

“Yeah so? What are you gonna do sell his heart?” he whispered
“Soles.” I shouted at my moronic friend, “The soles of his shoes.”
“He was talking about a map he hid in his shoes!”
“Oh. I didn’t think of that” noticeable relief came flooding back
I continued to search the corpse’s body as we dug, “Idiot.”
“I take it then that we aren’t going to bury him properly.”
“Why does it matter, the birds pecked him bloody raw.”

We discussed life after death, heaven and hell, and other what if’s
We mused over how he got stuck in this sunken sandy pit
The digging took time as the curmudgeon was buried upright
I once called him friend, although he was mean and crazy as a loon
We nearly dug from sunrise to sunset, when we found our treasure
We discovered his shovel buried next to his shoes; and an open map
Laid open shredded and wet, unreadable except for the inky X

Having never dug that much before
I had nearly become a part of the macabre shore
I wiped the sweat from my face exhausted
But completely at peace with this strangest of searches.
This man, my friend, searched many years
For a treasure he was sure had remained right here.
X marked the spot he said; a broken record over and over.

He told me one day he would be gone and his search… over
The inky X now stood alone, on a page of washed out stains
What did it mean, what treasure did this map bestow
And then I realized what this ol’ cranky friend of mine found
He found that one thing he had been searching day and night
He found his death, buried by the only love he had known

“Man I’m tired.” I called out
As I put the map in the pocket of my jeans.
Realizing the task (for now) was complete I began to wonder
What if he was wrong about the mysterious X?
What if there was more than the eye could see?
I just stood there with my sneakers entrenched
And buried in the sand at least a foot deep

Where to go now? What to do?
I have the map of a dead man.
That won’t look good to some.
Unable to get a clear thought
Maybe I was a bit emotional or some shit
I stared at the setting sun in the distance.
I took in my first deep breath

So that’s how long it took to dig up a body.
Either we stink at it.
Or that is normally how it is.
I’m unsure.
But it was an undertaking and maybe somehow
I can work it into my future resume
Either way it was my first X-venture

I walked closer to the shoreline and observed nature going to bed.
“It still looks nice despite… well this.” I said to my friend
Then I got a bad whiff of the body. The smell of decay
Oh no… it doesn’t smell pretty. I must not have noticed
How nasty a corpse can smell. Now I knew and it’s bad.
In a cruel twist of fate my stomach growled,
“Want to grab something to eat?”

My friend shouted to me as he sat in the sand. “What?”
“Want to get some dinner? I’m kind of hungry.”
“Yeah sure.” he was always so easy
“You pay?”
“Yeah sure” he was ALWAYS so easy
I rolled my eyes as we covered up the body
And together we headed off to fill our stomachs.

X marks the spot, this place in the sand
X marks the spot of my unfortunate friend
And the Raven who had stayed to supervise
And the Raven who watched everything
Shouted once more as we left the beach
And then I knew X marks the spot in the end

6 thoughts on “THE INKY X

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