An Epic Poem

by Roderick T. Long

[Idaho Falls, Dec. 1975 (age 11); I don’t know what the assignment was or why it has this title. In the first sentence the teacher changed my comma after “July” to a period, thus changing the meaning of the sentence. She also, irritatingly, changed my “should” in part II to “would.”]


I was born in England, in a cup of tea, but on the fourth day of July, I decided to become an American. As I walked toward America through the great purple jungle that covers half of Europe, I stepped on some napkins and fell headlong into a clump of dangerous, man-eating moss. As the tentacles came toward me, I leaped forward, escaping the vines. Then, I decided the naughty moss must be taught a lesson, so I struck it again and again with a roller. The moss promised to be good and I went on my way.


I soon came to the great Eastern plains, and the great Western desert, which I crossed. At the other side, I found the great Quicksand Canals. They were very muddy, and I knew I should sink into the mud if I attempted to cross them. However, in the army I had learned to swing across a wall by a rope. So I went to an artist who sold many useful things and I got a rope from him. Then, I swung across the quicksand by tying one end of the rope (which was made of many different colors) to a cloud. Once across, I continued on my journey.


I continued my search for America until I finally found the Land of Freedom, where I fell in love with an ugly old hag who quilted sheets for ghost costumes on Halloween and wore a bucket of paint on her head. We wrote love-letters to each other in the mail. We saw each other daily, and each day she seemed like a trimmed prune bush with that book in her hand that listed the names of the twelve Caesars.


The next day, I was elected King of America. As I was leaving the coronation, I saw a pretty flower that was perfect for my girlfriend. It was against the law to pick flowers, and I was a little bit anxious, for I usually obey the law, but I picked it anyway. The police caught me, put me in the electric chair, pushed the controls, and I died with my flower in my hand.


Back to Juvenilia and Other Offenses