Fabrication of Ancestors

By Alan Dugan 1923–2003 Alan Dugan

For old Billy Dugan, shot in the ass in the Civil war, my father said.

The old wound in my ass
has opened up again, but I
am past the prodigies
of youth’s campaigns, and weep
where I used to laugh
in war’s red humors, half
in love with silly-assed pains
and half not feeling them.
I have to sit up with
an indoor unsittable itch
before I go down late
and weeping to the storm-
cellar on a dirty night
and go to bed with the worms.
So pull dirt up over me
and make a family joke
for Old Billy Blue Balls,
the oldest private in the world
with two ass-holes and no
place more to go to for a laugh
except the last one. Say:
The North won the Civil War
without much help from me
although I wear a proof
of the war’s obscenity.

Alan Dugan, “Fabrication of Ancestors” from Poems Seven: New and Complete Poetry. Copyright © 2001 by Alan Dugan. Reprinted by permission of Seven Stories Press.

Source: Poems Seven: New and Complete Poetry (Seven Stories Press, 2001)

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Poet Alan Dugan 1923–2003

Subjects Living, The Body, Relationships, Family & Ancestors, Social Commentaries, History & Politics, War & Conflict

Poetic Terms Free Verse, Persona

 Alan  Dugan

Biography

First books, especially volumes of verse, are often relegated to obscurity, but Alan Dugan's Poems was greeted with enthusiasm. Philip Booth saluted Poems as "the most original first book that has appeared on any publisher's poetry list in a sad long time," and the awards the book later received bore out Booth's appraisal. Poems was awarded the National Book Award in 1961 and the Pulitzer Prize. Many commentators felt that Dugan . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, The Body, Relationships, Family & Ancestors, Social Commentaries, History & Politics, War & Conflict

Poetic Terms Free Verse, Persona

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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