Monday, March 12, 2018

Joseph S. Pete


At the funeral, scores eulogized the 19-year-old
who grew up singing “Veggie Tale” songs, who was strangled in that motel room,
who perished pallid and lifeless in a bathtub that hadn’t had a deep scrub in months
that the housekeepers barely touched.

She endeared everyone with her contagious laugh,
and always had lofty aspirations, wrote poetry, devoured The Hunger Games,
sung along with Sister Souljah, told her mom she’d be famous one day,

Life didn’t go as planned.
It never does.
But she had talked about going back to college, studying nursing, musical engineering,
something, anything, she hadn't decided yet.

The serial killer Darren Vann choked the life out of her,
as he had to so many victims over the last 20 years, whom he had dumped in Gary’s glut of
abandoned buildings, forsaken houses, vacant storefronts, shuttered schools,
moldering structures that time forgot, weakened brick and rotting lumber
that had outlived all its earthly purpose.

This time he got caught,
technology advanced enough where they were able to track him down,
to trace his phone records, pinpoint the murder on a killer who had long evaded detection.

But the most ghostly aspect of the killing was that
the motel still rents the room out where that young girl died senselessly.
The national motel chain still rents rooms out where victims died
in shootings, garrotings, overdoses,
where people, actual people, were stabbed or beaten to death.
where ghosts dwell amid leaky faucets, stained comforters,
seemingly barren rooms with little more than Bibles in spare drawers and
five piddling channels.

These rooms don't reside in shady low-lit motels with blood splattered on the stairwells,
where shady and slumdog lodgers know what awaits, and likely don't care.
This is a national corporation that houses its guests in ghastly murder rooms
haunted by voiceless slabs in the morgue, checked out to anyone
without regard or consideration.

When you’re vacationing in a distant city and staying somewhere you found on Orbitz,
you never know if someone breathed their last breath
in the seemingly anodyne room that was such a bargain.

Joseph reads "Poor Afrikka Hardy...":

Subscribe to Channel 52 for first view of new videos.

Joseph confesses: "As a newspaper reporter, I covered the heartbreaking funeral of Afrikka Hardy, a young victim of the serial killer Darren Vann. She was found in a motel bathtub, which prompted my curiosity. I discovered motels apparently routinely just keep renting rooms out after murders or deaths. In one case, a family found a corpse under the bed in Memphis."

JOSEPH S. PETE is an award-winning journalist, an Iraq War veteran, an Indiana University graduate, a book reviewer, and a frequent guest on Lakeshore Public Radio. He is a 2017 Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee who was named the poet laureate of Chicago BaconFest, a feat that Geoffrey Chaucer chump never accomplished. His literary work and photography have appeared or are forthcoming in The Five-Two, Pulp Modern, Dogzplot, Stoneboat, The High Window, Synesthesia Literary Journal, Steep Street Journal, Beautiful Losers, New Pop Lit, The Grief Diaries, Gravel, The Offbeat, Oddball Magazine, The Perch Magazine, Rising Phoenix Review, Chicago Literati, Bull Men's Fiction, shufPoetry, The Roaring Muse, Prairie Winds, Blue Collar Review, Lumpen, The Rat's Ass Review, The Tipton Poetry Journal, Euphemism, Jenny Magazine, Vending Machine Press and elsewhere. His work as a newspaper reporter has taken him to a number of crime scenes, criminal trials and funerals for murder victims.

No comments: