Poem by Brian Griffin & Sculpture by Wayne White
He got the death chop of a Chickamauga hog.
He got that Chattanooga dirt-eye bone-lust,
that blood-jowl bristle-tuft
He got that warp-hoof carrion-cut
mouth-rip of maggot flesh,
that gray hide quiver-wallow
of butt-kicked battlefield pork,
lean as a hollow pencil.
He got that mucus-snort
burrowing through wound-black
corn-and-cotton-dead blood soil,
and through it all,
he got that look.
He got it –
Chickamauga-Chattanooga-Stones River-Shiloh-I’d-as- soon-rip-your-balls-off-
look in his chest-ripping heart-chewing child-devouring eye.
That look? Yeah, he got it.
That one. That look. Yeah.
That’s the one he got.
Note on the Collaboration
My poem “That Look” is a reaction to a shooting that took place at my church during Sunday morning services on July 27, 2008. An unemployed truck driver who “hates liberals” fired three shots from a sawed-off shotgun into a crowded sanctuary, killing two people and seriously wounding many others. A friend of mine saw the gunman’s eyes as he took aim and became haunted by the “look” that she saw there. When I learned that the gunman’s neighbors considered him a “latter-day Confederate soldier,” I began writing poems. “That Look” is based on tales I heard as a child about hogs eating the bodies of dead soldiers on Chickamauga battlefield. Ambrose Bierce, who fought at Chickamauga, also referred to corpse-eating battlefield hogs in his stories. I shared the poem with my childhood friend and bosom pal, Wayne White, who like me grew up near Chickamauga battlefield, just outside Chattanooga.
The sculpture “Chickamauga Hog” was inspired by Brian Griffin’s “That Look,” a poem that includes the image of a flesh-eating hog. The sculpture is a motorized cartoon pig chewing a bone. His hat can be read as a chef’s or a king’s crown. The pig is both the emperor of war and a happy roadside BBQ shill, obscene and absurd.