Riverhills Park: The Pig, the Teardrop Tattoos, the House Trailer, and the Deep Beauty on Third Avenue

by Tim Gilmore, 6/17/2012

Banged-up and rusted-out 1970s house trailer owned by a convicted murderer beneath oak trees, ancient ancient oak trees, seemed to touch that moon, moon gorgeous up over the trees, dead end of Third Avenue, I met their faces when the day closed down, subdivision called Riverhills Park where Lem Turner Road crosses Trout River, vivid eyes broken out, sunken faces, meaningless words, the terror, the terror of the mocking tale, Chris Roberts had holed himself up, Special Weapons and Tactics, SWAT team blocked off surrounding roads, his eyes screamed up from his throat, all changed but nothing changed, surrounded the trailer with guns and bullhorns, the mocking tale, meaningless words from eyes thrown from throats in withdrawal, symptoms attacking symptoms, face inside out eating face, mocking, all changed but nothing changed, but utterly, utterly, a terrible beauty in every cheap ugly derogation and mocking tale, a terrible beauty impossible, crude, sickening, slovenly, inside-out, a beauty so ugly, cops told the neighbors to wait at The Pig, barbecue restaurant on Lem Turner, half slab 12 bucks, two meat combo: ribs, chicken, pork, beef, turkey or smoked sausage! the Po’ Boy Special: a whole chicken, entire slab of ribs, three sides + “white bread you can use to soak up all the pig sauce!” + tracked Roberts to the house trailer four days after he leaned from that car window and shot an untargeted 59 year-old man in his apartment off Philips Highway on the Southside, woman’s days spent, ignorant ill-will, “her nights in argument / until her voice grew shrill,” already charged, a terrible beauty, 19 year-old driver of the car, Jane Mary Austen, murder, murder in a mocking tale, and Roberts, his long hair gristly, long red hair, done the negros called him peckerwood, tiny shabby mustache, rode his imagin’d wingèd horse out amongst her harriers, loved her and loved her, when his mind ate him not alive, eyes screamed up his throat, this terrible beauty sickening, mockening tale, impossible but inhabitant, momentary perceptions these ugliest moments even, these most crude, ugliest, most sickening moments even, beautiful, glorious, hideous, all grand grand grand this ugliest moment, Chris Roberts, illegible tattoos messaged all over neck and chest, white boy some misshapen idea of blackboyness tough, strong, survivor, tattoos of teardrops on both cheeks long as his nose, moon in the ancient oaks, eyes screamed up, Special Weapons between meaningless words and guns and bullhorns, our ribs cooked over an open pit, basted to perfection with our signature sauce, sunken faces pop forth eyes, limbs and belly grown fast on fat food, fat on fast food, fat cheap food fast cheap, a terrible beauty is born, then slow-smoked to finish, Chris Roberts, peckerwood Rob Roy, hero of his own 13 to 27 words, tragedy but beautiful, no less gorgeous for stupid, all the world histories of world history too many to circumscribe, this one, at random, representation of full moon over earth, the ancient tall trees, the old old trees, nearby residents responding, say police should’a shot him full of holes, deep later that night, the air cooled and still, the breeze in old trees spoke sentient; as while we know nothing, the world about us knows, trailer sat empty except for a census of rats I failed accurately to enumerate, rat king and the trumpet shall sound, rattenkönig and the dead shall be raised, incorruptible and we shall be changed, and a barred owl swooped down and grabbed a rat from the roof in its talons, the moon formed a crescent back of broken rising muscles of the branches of the oaks, the old old oaks, and in the ruins of the day in the ruins of the place, a deep beauty that no one noticed showed behind and through and up from under the pitiable and sordid setting of this crude little show.