The Devil and Alabama

He said Once:

If the Devil
Were to ever tempt my
Immortal Soul it would be in

And he put on a hat

~ The train jolted ~

And into the liquid Night,
Uneven, snaking tracks
Hot enough: in the afternoon
When I Blinds-white and he feared
While lighting a home-rolled cigarette.

~ the land rolled massed and
dark ~


Ah, one more Border-Line
To cross and the Night-Herons
Probe in the secret swamps
Where maybe the Devil--
Maybe worse,
And Not Jackson, not Baton Rouge,
Perhaps--the young boy
On a road to Montgomery

~ Faulkner, then--later ~

And he took the
Train, that station covered
In shifting Layers of twilight
That man there--that
Sharp and his Alabama

~ It is the South
Understand...? ~

When once the flaming
Double-sword of ideologies
Broke across the shadowed
Hills and he wept
As Mississippi
Dissolved into
Heat-lightning and
Pretend rain

~ The station, ahead ~

He said:
The Devil, if anywhere,
Would walk a deserted roadway
In Alabama,

Then he put on his hat

~ someone played a faint song. ~