Poem for a Redhead

Poem for a Redhead


In a lot of hobo literature, there is not much mention of women or romance–one suspects that hobos didn’t get much pussy, being smelly and broke and all.  In a few hobo ditties, there are mentions of women, and almost invariably, they are redheads.  The hobo romance about redheads is peculiarly universal (one folk song attributes red hair to being akin to the devil; or the Devils daughter);  in others, it is a marker of almost angelic grace and beauty.  Redheads seem to be the most desirable of feminine prizes to the hobo.  The myth is they are temperamental.  There is the legendary New Orleans story of “Bricktop,” a nineteenth-century hooker in the Crescent City who killed as many as eight lovers.  Her story is impeccably chronicled in Herbert Asbury’s splendid history, The French Quater, published in the 20’s.  So mercurial was Bricktop’s temper, the local gendarme only approached her with weapons already drawn.  Her favorite method of dispatching those who’d displeased her was a straight razor, backed up by a long wicked hatpin; a slash and puncture kind of gal.  Failing this, she had a”Jesus gun,” a small, lady-like, two-shot Derringer, in a garter holster worn on her wrist.   She was also breathtakingly beautiful, which, according to the local lore, “made her variety of lewdness wickedly irresistible. . .even men of the cloth succumbed to her lascivious charms.”

You have to love a woman that dangerous.

Redheads are infinitely more mysterious than other women.  They tend to get right to the point and you don’t want to piss them off.  Oh no.

My mother is the most angelic of redheads, but when I displeased her, she had no trouble letting me know in not-uncertain terms that my behaviors were not acceptable; not that it did much good.

Redheads are the subject of much poetry and song-writing. . .they are walking poetry.


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