tagNon-Erotic PoetryThe Last Words of E. H. Stanley Carter

The Last Words of E. H. Stanley Carter

bygreenmountaineer©

An airplane? Goddam!
Why'd I let Lil talk me into it?
Should've taken the train.
Goddam right! That's Jimmy Rodgers
Ringin' in my ears!

Oh, engine, engine number nine,
Runnin' down that railroad line,
Headin' west for California wine, so
Westward Ho. Westward Ho,
Westward Ho go the wagons.
Quebec was Seagrams®seven days out.
California's mine for the takin'.

Forty-nine years workin' the rails,
I started as stoker. They call me "Ashcat."
Now the boys're wishin' me well,
Slappin' my back, singin' and soundin'
Like a bunch a screech owls on metal
Grindin' down the Laurentides track.

Oh, engine, engine number nine,
Runnin' down that railroad line.
Injun, injuns, rifles, guns.

Oh My God, he's got a gun!

I'm shot.
They got me, Lil.
I'm done for.
Kiss me.

On June 24, 1972, Mr. Carter, recently retired, was travelling to California with his wife to live with their daughter. He was caught in the cross fire between federal agents and a would-be hijacker.

The lines in the last stanza were his exact last words.

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