Unofficial Missouri Poem

Unofficial Missouri Poem

You won’t find 76 trombones
in this poem (that was Iowa);
no orations about rolling rivers,
or salutes to emerald pastures,
stately peaks, or glittering skylines,
though we’ve got our share of each,
not to mention thirty-four kinds
of plastic worm in the world’s
biggest bait shop, or the train station
where Pretty Boy & Co shot it out
with the law,  or towns like Cooter,
Roach, Enough, Licking, Tightwad,             
and Frankenstein -- along with Peculiar,
so called because the state said
the name had to be that or “unique”
 -- and the grave of Harry, who fired
MacArthur because, “I wasn’t going
to let the s.o.b resign on me” and
the license plate with a bluebird
you have to tailgate to see and
weather that can wash your house
into the next county or sing it
to sleep on a soft May night and where
the state rock is something called
“Mozarkite” and bathtubs with feet
resembling animal paws are against
the law, and where 15,000 souls throng
annually to the town of Nixa
for Sucker Day to eat their fill
of that tasty bottom-feeder, and
where the immortal Satchel Paige
first bamboozled batters with the
“hesitation pitch.”

It’s the birthplace
of Mark Twain, Jesse James
(and the coward Robert Ford),
Chuck Berry, Tennessee Williams,
Charlie Parker, Josephine Baker,
Joseph Pulitzer, Omar Bradley,
Belle Starr, T.S. Eliot,  Carrie Nation,
Willie “The Rat” Cammisano,
and J.C. Penney.
                            
Add to all that
the world’s largest pecan, the big
shoe made entirely of shoes,
the Cookin’-from-Scratch Chicken
Car, the world’s smallest cathedral,
the Bonnie and Clyde Ambush
Apartment, the world’s largest
concrete soccer ball, the Jesse James
Feather Duster of Death,
the Walt Disney Dreaming
Tree and Barn, the grave
of Pete Kibbie’s Foot, the home
of Throwed Rolls, the world’s
largest fork, the Dental Health
Theater, a giant concrete turtle
park, the world’s largest chigger,
Cowboy Muffler Man, the world’s
largest ball of string (not twine),
and the Nuclear Waste Adventure
Trail and Museum.
                                   
If you think
you’ve found a place that can pluck
more tunes on your inner banjo,
show me.

-Unofficial Missouri Poem, copyright (c) William Trowbridge