April 12, 2013
The New Literacy

for Jud Decker


I’m chasing birds and cats and leaves,
Old Testament heroes,
trailing apostles through Judea,
studying the moves of the Lord Himself;
I’m chasing myself
around the living room,


seeing sleepy projections—
15th-century Flemish art:
the Merode Altarpiece;
I’m running down baseballs
in the backyard,
searching for a homerun
through tinseled trees,

spiking at the calves
of long-legged cross-country runners;
I’m playing lost solos
to my best friend’s twelve-string—
Brookwood Park;
it’s a tag game
and still going— Herkimer, South Washington Street Bridge,

Ilion, the back roads of Mohawk,
the cemetery,
the candle shop in Utica;
I’m hunting down day and night themselves
and climbing toward the big bands:
the elusive bari sax,
Latin percussion,
ghosts of nightclub conductors;


I’m riding shotgun
in my brother’s LTD,
sinking Cobain
back to the belly,
knowing I’m being chased too,
being run out of my own town
like an outlaw until finally,
at last,
the body becomes the name,
the words become the body,
the body, the body,
the thousand versions of warmth.


—Daniel Bowman, Jr. (Blackford County)

This poem originally appeared in A Plum Tree in Leatherstocking Country (Visual Artists Collective, 2012).


Daniel Bowman, Jr. is the author of A Plum Tree in Leatherstocking Country (Virtual Artists Collective, 2012) and the forthcoming novel Beggars in Heaven (Antler Books, fall 2013). He lives with his wife Beth and their two children in Hartford City, and teaches at Taylor University.

Indiana Humanities is posting a poem a day from Indiana poets in celebration of National Poetry Month.

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