After Watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Poem By Michael Meyerhofer
In real life, there was no chainsaw.
Nor was there a blood-sucking grandfather
carried down the stairs in his wheelchair
by a family of bumpkin cannibals.
No meditation on cows and sledgehammers
either, much less a van of college kids
pondering astrology just before, one by one,
they’re pulled behind the sliding tin door
of a killing room under the stairs, resplendent
with an overgrown chicken in a bird cage.
There were bones, yes, and grave-robbing,
even a homemade suit of women’s skin
but the true killer, Ed Gein, acted alone.
His weapon of choice was a small revolver.
Despite the opening sequence, he was not
driven to perform by solar prominence.
His mother, a dominating fundamentalist,
scolded her sons against making friends,
sermonizing the dangers of loose women.
He probably killed his only brother, Henry.
An old photo shows Gein in a checkered
hunting cap, unshaven, his thin drooping
eyes clouded by a thoughtful loneliness.
After the asylum, buried back in Plainfield
where they teased him for being a sissy.
One woman, Bernice Worden, was found
hanging from the rafters, gutted like a deer.
Newspapers showed him descending
the steps of the courthouse in shirt and tie,
handcuffed, grinning like a Rockefeller.