July 29 2022

by Jack B. Bedell


Swamp Thing Catches the Beginning of a Movie at the Drive In

Hard to know for sure from way back here in the dark without any sound, but I’m pretty sure the fish man in this movie is getting too close to the people too fast. It’s plain to see he won’t make it to the second act without trying to touch one of them. If there’s one thing I’ve learned since coming out into this swamp, there’s beauty everywhere but it’s usually best to acknowledge it and move along. Hell, it doesn’t matter if it’s a hibiscus plant, or a baby raccoon, or a new T-Bird, or a woman swimming in a nice white one-piece. There’s nothing but pain coming for any creature itching to hold out its claw toward it. You just have to appreciate beauty for what it is—somebody else’s. Always best to just find a safe spot to hole up and dream about it. Anything else is going to bring out the spear guns and depth charges.


Swamp Thing Has His First Dream in a While

Mostly, nights out here are for moving along. Or just straight hunger waiting for the sun to rise. I’m rarely blessed with dreams, or with sleep of any kind. Just thoughts and steps, wants and leavings. Last night, though, I dreamed I was able to float on the lake without sinking or getting washed away bit by bit. Everything in the sky hovered over me all eidetic, so luminous and real I felt bound to it, and only it. No worries about cypress trees choking on salt water, or demons rising out of the mud, or formulas to turn this body back into me. In this dream, morning lasted all day. Clouds told stories my mother used to spin of bears yearning for the things we cared about most. Every hawk passing over knew me like a lover. Every breeze whistled a song that didn’t need anything from me.



Jack B. Bedell is Professor of English and Coordinator of Creative Writing at Southeastern Louisiana University where he also edits Louisiana Literature and directs the Louisiana Literature Press. Jack’s work has appeared in HAD, Pidgeonholes, The Shore, Okay Donkey, EcoTheo, The Hopper, Terrain, and other journals. His latest collection is Color All Maps New (Mercer University Press, 2021). He served as Louisiana Poet Laureate 2017-2019.