In Cold Blood


—Richard Avedon's contact sheets 
from 1960 photo session 


There’s always been—
I suppose a certain hoodlum
Element to the American West

The Dick Hickock types—
Robbing, killing, hanging
Around the Western scene

Where else could young—
Prison con-artists go but
“Go West, youngman!”

Avedon’s portraits capture—
With amazing accuracy
These American West killers

Richard Avedon, Portraits
Portfolio: Dick Hickock 


Cocky Dick Hickock—
His name oozes with
American West violence

He possesses that—
Sullen young hoodlum
Insolent male beauty

A lop-sided face—
Victim of a car accident
His twisted goodlooks

One eye so gimpy—
It both breaks your
Heart and scares you

Richard Avedon, Portraits
Portfolio: Dick Hickock 


These other shots—
Most people don’t get to
See them very often

Or maybe they don’t—
Want to see the look in
Dick Hickock’s eyes

Dick takes along his—
Hired gun killer lover
Perry Smith the Gimp

All the way out to—
Holcomb KS to rob the
Wealthy Clutter family

Richard Avedon, Portraits
Portfolio: Dick Hickock 


Prison life turns—
A man’s sex life into
A twisted tattoo thing

Dick is str8t and—
Like the young stuff
While Perry likes Dick

They end up broke—
Down in Mexico on the
Run after the murders

They get nabbed in—
Las Vegas in a hot car
Truman is waiting

Richard Avedon, Portraits
Portfolio: Dick Hickock 


To Kill a Mockingbird—
Was a lot easier to write than 
Capote’s In Cold Blood

Harper Lee’s novel was a—
Great success story leaving
Truman green with jealousy

Taking the Super Chief west—
Spending long cold nights
In a Garden City motel

Gradually the form of his—
Nonfiction novel took shape
Twisted, gnarled love story

Richard Avedon, Portraits
Portfolio: Dick Hickock 


Perry Smith slowly became—
Truman’s kept man there
Behind those prison bars

Like two lost brothers—
Suddenly discovering each
Other for the very first time

Capote greased the palms—
To get into Perry’s dingy
Prison suite to make love

The nonfiction element in—
The novel In Cold Blood was
The killer’s pouty sweet lips

Richard Avedon, Portraits
Portfolio: Dick Hickock 


They say that when—
You drop you don’t
Feel a fucking thing

But it took 30 minutes—
For their hearts to stop
Beating, strangling them

They also say that when—
Your neck snaps hard in
The Hangman’s tight noose

That a guy shoots his—
Last extra-long spastic
Wad all the way Dead

1 comment:

pugetopolis said...

Not bad. Not good. Maybe somewhere in between. All these years later... Capote, Perry, Hickock dead and gone. But Kansas is still there. The stark lonely High Plains and vast desolate nothingness out there. Did Capote capture it in his nonfiction novel? Or did Kansas capture him?