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  • The Last Hymn of the Ghost of Hank Williams Shorty
  • Chuck Kinder (bio)

Back home in the haunted, holyHills and hollows of West Virginia, Lee Maynard and I had driven down    from Pittsburgh that day in the borrowed old Ford Galaxy ConvertibleTo Greenbank, West Virginia, in order to investigate this here famousRobert C. Byrd Radio Astronomy Observatory andInstitute for Advanced Angel Studies.We were on the lookout for clues, which was our mission that day,Lee Maynard & me,Clues to other worlds of mystery in our midst.There are a bunch of such spookyPlaces down in our home state of West Virginia,That land of pyramidal mountains whereSilver bridges are known to drop suddenlyInto slow moving rivers:Where huge feathered, bird-like beingsWith red glowing eyes and the powdery facesOf monster moths are known to descendInto the hills at dusk like alien angelFireflies: where oriental mysteryMidgets, and dwarfs dressed all inBlack, with long, black-painted fingernailsMake midnight getaways in long, black gangsterLimousines, with smoky tinted windowsFrom the scenes of suspicious high crimes andMisdemeanors. Due to some anomaly of nature in our homeState of West Virginia, energiesBoth spiritual and natural, focus andFlow, and in that process whip up that vortex of the inexplicableBoth holy and demonic, that tears the curtainBetween our own and other worlds.Sober up, Lee Maynard, said I. We are hereWe always was here, wasn't we? said [End Page 38] Lee Maynard. There you go again, said I, Ever time you get a dozen or so    beers in you,you go and get enigmatic on me like you are some sort of Zen cowboy or    a stoned hippy poet.I never do, said Lee Maynard. At that very momentThe old Ford's radio signalFaded slightly, then grew sharp and clearAnd, suddenly, I heard a strange, unearthlyVoice drown out the goofy gospel musicLee Maynard had insisted on playingOn the old Ford's car radio driving down all day, like the ghostVoice of some old 40s radio cowboy singingStar. I thought it was Jimmy Rogers orEven old Hank hisself, at first, but IWasn't so sure. I wandered so aimlessLife filled with sin, went the spookyRadio singing cowboy voice,I wouldn't let my dear savior inThen Jesus came like a stranger in the nightPraise the Lord I saw the light.

Project Ozzie, the spooky guide intoned likeSome preacher man, his voice all quiveryAnd churchy in nature, quaveringAs we sat in the Visitor Center's AuditoriumOf the Robert C Byrd Radio Astronomy ObservatoryAnd Institute of Advanced Angel Studies.Project Ozzie, named in honor amenOf the Ozzie and Harriet show of theFifties, is designed to pick-up the ghost whispers that flow through the    universe as we know it, the voices of the dead, or voices from different    dimensions or from other bygone times, or from the future, and    designed to scan the holy heavens amenFor the magic of them electromagnetic waves like ghostLight beaming from ancient extra-terrestrial teevee sets, and radio signalsResurrected from the far reaches of the Christian universe amenIn hopes of finding holy messages broadcast to West VirginiaChristians from other Christian planets amenOrbiting distant Christian stars amenTo prove to us West Virginia Christians that we ain't [End Page 39] Alone in the Christian universe amen,Intoned the guide, who was a spooky, spectralLooking fellow, with hollow cheeks, andSunken eyes. And he was wearing aCowboy hat. And he was wearing a whiteCowboy suit, shiny with silver stitching, andSequined silver stars, and planets, and musicalNotes, and crosses of silver sequins. And he was a midget.He was a spectral-looking midget fellowDressed up like a midget cowboy singingStar. Clearly he was one of those mysteryMidget types we had been on the lookoutFor that day, me and Lee Maynard,And I knew that midget's preachy, spooky voiceFrom somewhere. I elbowed Lee Maynard, who was dozing...


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pp. 38-41
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