"December 12, 1884: George Cooke"
Click here to listen to Jill McDonough read this poem.
He drank all night and then all day, and fought his brother-in-law in the street. He killed him. The one who saw the murder said after he fired the shot and James Blunt fell, Cooke looked a little stunned and walked around to address the torn, burnt head: Son of a bitch: I've killed you, have I? His defense was simple: not responsible, they said, by reason of being crazy drunk. No chance.
On the scaffold, his gait and voice were firm and clear:
It was at once evident to all that Cook
meant to die game. Reporters saw not fear,
but wonderful courage. The next day, readers could look
at the front page of the Laramie Boomerang
to see Cooke face this headline: HE DIED GAME.
Jill McDonough is a Wallace Stegner fellow in poetry at Stanford University.
For Slate's poetry submission guidelines, click spacerhereyeshyperlinkPoetry SubmissionsSlate reads new poems from Oct. 1 to April 30. Manuscripts sent between May 1 and Sept. 30 will not be considered.To submit poems: Send, as a single attached document, up to three poems of no more than 50 lines each to firstname.lastname@example.org. Use the poet's name for the subject line of the e-mail and for the title of the attachment. We prefer Word documents (.doc or .docx) to PDFs.Please include a brief, professional cover letter, including publication history, in the body of your email. Please limit submissions to one per poet per annual reading period. Simultaneous submissions are OK. Slate no longer accepts poetry submissions by mail. The email address email@example.com is for poetry submissions only (or to notify editors of acceptance elsewhere of a poem under consideration at Slate). Other inquiries, etc., will not be addressed.10000false220061444537PMWednesdayJanJanuary161/4/2006 9:45:37 PM63271989937000000020061444537PMWednesdayJanJanuary161/4/2006 9:45:37 PM632719899370000000.Clickhere to visit Robert Pinsky's Favorite Poem Project site.Click here for an archive of "Poet's Choice" columns from the Washington Post.