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Poetry Pleases: Buster

In a few vivid lines Randal Looney tells the life story of a poor boy in America's Deep South.

He was born in Jackson County
Moved into a house with rats
They left when the boy started talkin' to 'em
Instead of just gettin' a cat
They lived in a two-room house
The big folks went outside to pee
Buster just filled his diaper
'Til it sagged down to his knees

Momma bought a milk cow
Daddy Albert lost his arm
The rest of 'em moved off to town
Chasin' fallin' stars
Only one store to buy stuff
And friend, make sure you do
Or the old storekeep will raise your rent
And you might as well be through

Buster started grade school
They made him go to church
They made him shine his beacon
For salvation he did search
He thought the teachers were smart
He thought the preachers were dicks
No matter what brand of glue they used
Jesus or Algebra wouldn't stick

Early on, he drank lots of Yoo-Hoo
Later came Budweiser, Gibsons, and girls
Drivin' the same four miles thru a tank of gas
Was the best thing in the world

Buster left for The Apple with his best friend Troy Roy
They picked up a case of sardines, a bunch of beer,
And some Chips Ahoy
Troy Roy flipped his freak-out switch
Half way thru the trip
Buster at the wheel, his temper flared
He busted T.R.'s lower lip
Why....no Mennonite in Pennsylvania
Had ever seen the like
T.R. bleedin' like an old stuck hog
And Buster smokin' Lucky Strikes

The boys came home with their asses whipped
They were limpin' on the rim
Buster went to sackin' groceries
workin' for his Uncle Clem
Clem was a quiet man who didn't understand
Why sayin nothin' was worse than shoutin'
Silence does that to a man
Then he went to see Daddy Albert
But he was already gone
Just some rollin' papers blowin' down the street
Ol' Sport gnawin' on his bones

"Why in the world don't they understand me?
I've got three kids and only one of 'em likes me
Wish I could say that about my wives...."

So now Buster lives out on the edge
Not takin' up too much room
Sometimes he has to take a rest
And just dust off his broom
So let this be a lesson
If your kid befriends some rats
You might save the world some trouble
And just adopt a cat

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