The American Journal of Poetry
"Strong Rx Medicine"®


Anthony Borruso

Ode to R. Budd Dwyer


            R. Budd Dwyer was a Pennsylvania State Treasurer
            who shot himself during a televised news conference.

To have two mouths, one for singing
and one for screaming bloody murder—

this is what the poet strives for, to speak
from the temples. Still, I promise no spectacle,

I will not make of me a puzzle, a humpty-

dumpty-put-back-the-pieces affair.

So I’ve spent some months groaning
in the dark, sinking into an ossuary

couch. So I sit on the stoop staring
at distressed brick homes. Grant me

these indulgences, this leftover thought
reheated in the microwave of the mind:

maybe I will not mend. Is it melodramatic
if some days I come home and hang

my skull and skin on the coatrack.
If some nights I dream up a man’s

busted bust seeping lingonberry jam.
If I have a kind of morbid admiration

for R. Budd, his moxie and his manners,
how before he blew his brains out—

he stepped back and pleaded,
please, leave the room if this will…

if this will affect you.




ANTHONY BORRUSO has an MFA in creative writing from Butler University and has been a reader for Booth: A Journal. He suffers from Chiari Malformation and sometimes examines this in his poetry. Currently, he teaches composition at Butler University and Ivy Tech Community College in Indianapolis.


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