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Todd Moore reflects on the poem

Iíve been haunted for a long time by the dubious history and strange mythology of Dillingerís wooden gun, the one he allegedly used in his escape from Crown Point jail. Twenty years ago when I visited the Dillinger Museum in Nashville, Indiana, I saw one of the extent versions of that wooden gun in a glass case. Since that time the wooden gun image has been boiling around inside my subconscious, for what reason Iíll never fully lknerís mythic bear did. Dillingerís wooden gun is a riddle offering limitless possibilities and dark impossibilities that both obscure and define America.understand. What I do know is that Dillingerís wooden gun resonated for me the same way that Hawthorneís scarlet letter A did, the same way that Melvilleís white whale did, the same way that the eyes of Dr. T. J. Eckleburg in THE GREAT GATSBY did, the same way that Faulknerís mythic bear did. Dillingerís wooden gun is a riddle offering limitless possibilities and dark impossibilities that both obscure and define America.

AN EXCERPT FROM THE POEM


From page 118 --

never told
nobody this
but i always
took the
toy wooden
gun my
daddy whittled
out of hick
ory for me
it was a nice
shiny well
made little
pistol that
fit right into
the palm
of my hand 
& if you
are thinking
as i know
you are
what good
is a wooden
gun against
a machine
gun then
you know
why my
heart is
going so
fast it feels
like it
will jump
right up
my throat
but some
thing in
side me
way back
in the dream
ing place
is telling
me that
the wooden
gun will
keep me
warm
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