Reading the preceding comic pages in my gallery or at the Lackadaisy site [link]
is pretty necessary at this point in order for this to make any sort of sense (I can't really promise it'll ever make -much- sense, though.
Yeah, I know. Poetry. Blegh.
But at least is has purpose - it's there to serve as a sort of informal chapter break, and amounts to Rocky more or less complaining of the inappropriateness of the Mississippi's nickname, Old Man River. Hopefully the poem isn't hard to follow in speech bubble format, but in case it is:
Old Man River!
That seems far too austere a name
For something made of mirth and rage.
O, roiling red-blood river vein,
If chief among your traits is age,
You're a wily, convoluted sage.
Is "old" the thing to call what rings
The vernal heart of wester-lore;
What brings us brassy-myth made kings
(And preponderance of bug-type things)
To challenge titans come before?
Demiurge to a try at Avalon-once-more!
And what august vitality
In your wide aorta stream
You must have had to oversee
Alchemic change of timber beam
To iron, brick and engine steam.
Your umber whiskey waters lance
The prideful sober sovereignty
Of faulty-haloed Temperance
And wilt her self-sure countenance;
Yes, righteousness is vanity,
But your sport's for imps, not elderly.
If there's a name for migrant mass
Of veteran frivolity
That snakes through seas of prairie grass
And groves of summer sassafras,
A name that flows as roguishly
As gypsy waters, fast and free,
It's your real name, Mississippi.