Bretty Hursey 5, Some Assembly Required

Brett Hursey week continues with this little poem about the joys and benefits of hatred…

Eagle Scout

Mr. Easterbrook’s being dead
makes despising him
a little less satisfying,
but I still like warming
my hands over the hatred,

huddling over it
as I did the campfire —
watching him polish the brass
on his Scoutmaster’s hat,
and hoping Smokey the Bear
would eat him

while he joked
about the plate in his head,
and the twenty-seven gooks
he shot in Korea,

once described in graphic
detail how he wore their ears
around his neck on a bootlace
and called Timmy Munson
a “gutless wimp”
when he went to throw up
in the bushes.

I know it isn’t “Trustworthy
loyal, helpful, or friendly,”
but I first started figuring out

who I was by despising Mr. Easterbrook.
And the hate kept me warm
in my sleeping bag
and filled my belly while he marched
us on ten mile “nature hikes”
designed to “build us into men.”
But it was the hate that built me —

I worked harder on it
than any merit badge I ever earned,
learned more from Mr. Easterbrook
than anyone I ever loved or admired.
And now he’s dead,
hating him’s like freeze-dried
trail-mix — just add a little water
and the slightly stale flavor comes back,

along with the urge to dig him up,
stake down my tent with his ribs,
and proudly pin his ears on my uniform —
all for the pure, uncomplicated pleasure
of being able to hate Mr. Easterbrook again.

This poem appears in the book, Some Assembly Required, which I was reading through today, and it just struck me how talented this guy is.  With every poem, you can sense the underlying craft and skill that went into it.  Yet there’s a quirky, irreverant quality to his work that makes it accessible to everyone.  This book is just really superb, and I highly recommend it.

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1 Comment

  1. […] Brett Hursey 5, Some Assembly Required […]


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