POET: Shane Hawley
PIECE: Wile E Coyote
Society and Culture
Wile E Coyote explains his addiction.

Key Lines/Phrases

Key Line/Phrase

“It is the curse of an addict to chase the thing that destroys you.”

Certainly this poem inside the mind of Wile E Coyote has more to do with psychology than sociology. Yet even this poem illustrates how sociological principles and concepts can lend insight into all types of situations. Halfway through this piece, Wile E Coyote demonstrates his keen understanding of how the world is supposed to work. Because he knows so deeply “the knowledge of how things are supposed to be” he persists in failure to the point of self-admitted mania. This poem can be viewed as a great metaphor for anomie— where social bonds, values, and norms of a given society breakdown. For Coyote, it is the rules of gravity, the constant misfiring of rockets, and bow firing him instead of the arrow. For people however, it is following all of the social rules, norms, and values yet having different results than expected. I often reference the recession of 2008, where new homebuyers did all they were asked to do to obtain the “American Dream” of home-ownership, yet soon found themselves homeless with tremendous debt instead of promised equity. This may be a stretch for some, but if you can make sociological connections from this poem, you are exercising a great sociological imagination.

Full Transcript of Poem

It will work this time.
It has to.
I spent the better part of 19 hours
crafting this mural on bedrock
and three full days before that
laying pavement
redirecting the winding desert road
so that it would end abruptly
at the foot of my masterpiece:
a rock wall
painted to look like a tunnel.
An optical illusion.
A way out.
But there is no way out of here.
My name is Wile E Coyote
and I am so fucking hungry!
Inexplicably stuck
in this lifeless desert.
My only companion
a mindless blue bird
whom I am forever doomed to chase
to whom all laws of the universe bend, then break.
This is my existence
compulsively ordering
one ridiculous contraption after another
even though
I am on to the people at ACME.
I know
you are fucking with me!
I am hours of flight suits
or a working magnet
or a lit wick short of supper.
And I deserve it
I left my imprint
all over this desert.
I’ve been pancaked, incinerated
run over, diced
and buried.
I’ve accepted my failure
with only simple signs
pulled from invisible back pockets
begging for your empathy
as if it will cushion what comes next
And whoever fancies himself my maker
was cruel enough to imbue upon me
the knowledge of how things are supposed to be.
fire upon ignition.
roll when the pull is great enough against them.
The trajectory of catapults is not arbitrary.
Can you imagine how it feels?
Your best-laid plans
crumbling around you
Peering into the mouth of fate only to have it
blow up in your face!
It’s enough to make you wonder.
If it’s better to be a perfect physical specimen than it is to be bright.
If all the time you spent lost in thought has been a waste.
When all along it’s been easier
to just
I am a super-genius,
and I can’t capture a flightless bird
who grins as I drool for his flesh.
I keep at it
as if the next bow will fire the arrow
instead of me.
As if the poisoned birdseed
will somehow end up in his mouth
instead of mine.
It is the curse of an addict to chase the thing that destroys you.
But until you’ve done it…
Until you’ve launched yourself
off a thousand foot cliff
for that thing that you love,
you will never
understand the gravity
of my plight.
This is it,
the culmination of my mania,
this fake, fucking tunnel
is the best I can do.
And when the dust settles
I will stand firmly on red sand,
his broken blue neck
clenched beneath my teeth.
This time,
it will work.
It has to.

posted at: https://amrestorative.wordpress.com/2013/04/22/the-curse-of-an-addict/

Artist Comments

This space is reserved for any comments the author of the piece may have about the points he was trying to get across and the background of why he wrote the poem.