Freddy goes to Florida

March 7, 2011

The great train goes by like a great but grainy owl,
like a black-and-white two-reeler that’s both
a movie and a mnemonic—oh yes!—

each view a polished memory, each stop,
each station, each picket fence, every tree
a hiding dryad! (Freddy’s read his Keats.)

He smiles. We’ll go easy on the dryads.
It seems there is a rumor on the train
that Greta Garbo is traveling incognito

under the name ‘Mrs. Wiggins’. It seems
that he, plain vanilla Freddy, has been
ID’d as Fatty Arbuckle en route

to Florida to star with Miss Garbo
in his first talkie. What an idea.
Mrs. Wiggins as Greta Garbo!

He is reading the book of poetry
he got from that rather heavyset man,
an insurance lawyer from Connecticut.

Rumor and amour, he thinks. Poems about
love. Freddy turns the page.
O Florida, he reads. Venereal Soil.

Hey, he says. Hey,
this is good.

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3 Responses to “Freddy goes to Florida”

  1. John Stevens Says:

    Ah … I didn’t know of Freddy the Pig. I can see my education missed out on an important component of the literary canon!

  2. extrasimile Says:

    Yes, I like Freddy too. I don’t know if I’m going to write anything more with him being the subject; the idea may be played out. We’ll see. But here’s the story: Freddy is actually Freddy the Pig, the protagonist in a series of children’s books written by Walter Brooks. I read them as a child. There is no character that I have more fondness for than Freddy—though I haven’t looked at any of the books in many, many years—and don’t plan to. (There are Freddy websites you can look at.) The idea was / is to see where I could / can go with this character as he lives in my mind. And no, the ‘real’ Freddy did not read Wallace Stevens, but he did, along with a number of barnyard companions, go to Florida—Mrs. Wiggins is a cow, by the way—and it’s conceivable that he might have taken the train, circa 1932, and Mr. Stevens could have been a traveling companion. As for Freddy being taken for Fatty Arbuckle…well, he was a great comic actor. I hope he’ll understand.

  3. John Stevens Says:

    I like Freddy. He’s pretty sharp: well read in Keats but appreciates Wallace Stevens at first-ever sighting! What a guy!
    Something else interests me in this: I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone read a book of poetry on a train (myself excepted). It’s too embarrassing for most people. I’ve seen them read the Bible and the Koran, pap self-improvement books and studious text-books. Even soft porn. But never poetry. So good ol’ Freddy!


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