Monday, December 3, 2018

Roger Netzer

BALLAD OF ANNIE CRUDUP

for Ken Chowder

Come hear a tale of local folk
and drugs. Plus alcohol.
The people you will meet in it
were big when I was small.

Anne Crudup was my mom’s best pal,
and liked to make me laugh.
In youth she’d been a beauty,
said my mom on her behalf.

However deep my sulk or pout,
Anne could make me grin.
She had a knack for brightening
the mood she found me in.

But Annie’s own life, I have learned,
was far from child’s play.
Her jokes were just a flip side to
the side kept hid away.

At Crudups’ house on River Road,
her son would beat her up.
Full grown he was, and hit his mom,
did handsome Bobby Crudup.

Rare among men, Bob was a blond
and always kind to me.
Drugs and drinking took the youth
of cruel and tortured Bobby.

No telling why -- except, perhaps,
the rumor I once heard.
(Not to be repeated, ever,
friend -- have I your word?)

They say when Bob was in eighth grade,
odd weather struck that June.
Tornado warnings shut down school,
so Bob came home at noon.

There’s no way to prepare yourself
for what Bob Crudup saw:
The neighbor boy, and on his knee,
Annie in the raw!

The lover’s name has been withheld,
because he was fifteen.
Was such a lapse on Annie’s part
what turned her Bobby mean?

Others say the story’s false.
Anne’s one and only fling
took place before her Bob was born.
Timing’s everything.

Still others (I am one of them)
believe the truth’s no good.
It cannot cure what happened
in our rustic neighborhood.

Anne Crudup used to make me smile.
To her I tip my hat.
My mood can still get shaky,
but she’s not to blame for that.


Roger reads "Ballad of Annie Crudup":



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Roger confesses: "The dear person who is the subject this tribute dispensed irreverent humor when she was not too busy gossiping with my mother. She also found time to teach catechism to me in 1959, and to attend mass daily. What better place to publish her dark and bright story (the facts tampered with a bit) than The Five-Two? (Thank you, Brian Kelly, for direction of the audio version.) "


Photo by Francie Campbell
ROGER NETZER's poems have appeared in Mas Tequila, Green Hills Literary Lantern, The Potomac, Chiron, and on two previous occasions in The Five-Two. With his wife Francie Campbell, he lives in Roxbury, Connecticut.

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