Crazy Dave

When I was a kid
Crazy Dave plied
the streets w/an axe
and a croaker sack
over his shoulder

A black man
always dressed
in knee-high
rubber boots
and a navy peacoat
with a toboggan cap
no matter what time
of year

In mid-August
with the
mercury climbing
above 100
old Crazy Dave
walked around with
his axe and sack
grizzled gray hair
sticking out from
under his cap
staring straight

"You'd better be
good" we kids
were told "else
ole Dave will
cut off your ears
and put them
in his sack"

I was scared
shitless of
black people
until I went
in the Navy and
met guys like
Bobby Joe Reed
who taught me
that blacks are
no more
to be feared
than whites
in most instances
and less in

Still the ghost
of old Crazy Dave
walks my mind
at times and
I remember the
glint of his
axe blade in
the sun and
that nine-mile
stare and I
shiver a little
like a rabbit
just hopped
over my grave
on a moonless

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