"[In Cold Blood by Truman Capote] is neither a who-done-it nor a will-they-be-caught, since the answers to both questions are known from the outset... Instead, the book's suspense is based largely on a totally new idea in detective stories: the promise of gory details, and the withholding of them until the end." - Tom Wolfe, "Pornoviolence"
Two boys sit in a cinema
watching a film
about a family of killer rednecks.
Dad's holding court in a motel room
as a woman tied to a radiator
pleads through her gag for mercy.
Dad's daughter switches the station
to a preacher reading gospel.
There's a knock at the door
and now the woman's really scared
because she knows it's probably not a cop.
'You think he fucks her?' says one boy to the other.
'Bitch or daughter?'
the other replies.
A grandmother sits in an armchair
reading DOCTORS WHO KILL
and shakes her head
as she turns the page.
Doctor Willet's following
one of his patients home.
The patient turns
and sees him standing there,
'Oh, it's only you.'
Scalpel slipped inside a sleeve.
When I was a teenager
the magazine rack of
my mother's coffee table had
TV guides and a white-leather,
gold-leaved Bible to one side.
To the left were women's periodicals
weighted by a paperback
called CATCHING CREEPS:
Britain's Worst Rapes and Murders.
The author was a retired detective.
The only story I recall
was one about a rapist who,
the writer said, was remarkably
handsome and charming.
Slept with all manner of women,
and men when that took his fancy.
Yet still, he was compelled sometimes
to awful violence. He'd once been seen
with a woman slung over one shoulder.
I won't give you the gory details,
but not because I'm better
than the boys or grandmother. What ails
me is merely memory.
Perhaps I could say if the redneck dad
raped either the hostage or his daughter.
Or whether Doctor Willet slashed the throat
of the man who aroused his gay urges.
For that, I don't need memory.
I just don't have the creativity.