Today's poem is is by one of those newly-discovered voices, a man named Mark Gibbons. He grew up in Alberton and Deer Lodge and now lives in Missoula, where he writes poetry and reportedly works as a furniture mover to pay the bills. This is a poem called "Spoiled Rotten," first published in a 1995 collection called Something Inside Us:
I was a rich kid in Alberton, pampered inside
an old two-shack, ship-lapped, slapped-together house
right beside the Milwaukee Railroad. Creosote ties
footed faded linoleum ﬂoors—they supported us like trains
to the splintered end. Barren beaver board walls
Bled frost and our dreams. . . .
. . . we were spoiled most long summer days
tormenting rattlers and climbing castle rocks, skinny
dipping and ﬁshing up Petty Creek from the narrows
To the old goat farm. We swam the Clark Fork like beaver,
circled and slapped, threw hoots and full cannon balls.
We gorged ourselves daily like Romans or kings
eating ﬁlthy-rich feasts, everything in season: green apples,
ripe plums, wild onions, and garden-raided dirt-sweet carrots.
We discovered the neighbor’s basement, ate jars
of silver salmon and gagged smelling limburger cheese.
We sipped on sour dandelion wine, felt our way up the dizzy stairs.
Through a door left ajar, fully framed in a mirror, we saw nipples
round as our mouths—secrets—only told to our dogs.
We lazed under lilacs, read clouds going by, never denied
we were ﬂat spoiled rotten and ruined for good like Huck Finn,
our hero back then. We, too, would have settled for a raft and Jim,
but we damn sure didn’t want to run away. Those days are still
a toy chest so ﬁlled—that the lid can never be closed.