The Ghosts of River Valley Farm


Truman Capote’s torment


Do you visit this lonely farm

on misty Kansas mornings?

Your soul awoken from tortured sleep

by keening hysteric coyotes

and yellow locomotive warnings.


A wispy apparition clutching at your pen,

poised to write your flowery words

gleaned with effeminate guile.

Nepotistic manipulations maximising pain.

Do you search the shuttered house

for your obsession’s love again?


Alone in this forsaken place 

staring over madness’ shoulder,

while Perry re-lives his nightmare guilt

on bloody cellar floors

in the house that Clutter built.


Do you reflect upon the crime

that whet your perfidious senses?

Regretting its en-miring grasp

which left you bruised and brooding

inside your cocktail haven.

Ensnared by the viscid crime

that claimed not six – but seven?


What would Truman write of you

if he should return to earth?

A clone, dramatising a hedonistic decline

of a troubled narcissistic elf.

Would he, again be ruled by obsession

and fall in love with himself?

© Guaj 2023
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Bravo atmospheric and well written. I confess I am not familiar with much of Truman Capote but that did not stop me enjoying the poem.

Alison x


I would disagree that writing “In Cold Blood” ruined his writing career’ I believe that his literary decline was more due to his dissolute living and the drug and alcohol abuse that eventually caused his death.


I love Breakfast at Tiffanys – the film ‘Capote’ shows him in not a good light.


A great cocktail of words to ruminate upon. And I am sure he would “fall in love with himself.” Can’t see it any other way.


Nice piece. I saw an interview of Capote many years ago where he said that the inspiration for In Cold Blood was a cage filled with dogs about to butchered and eaten he saw while on a foreign trip.


Yes, he did embellish a lot on those old talk shows. He was a very sensitive soul who could easily be tormented over things. In this case the trapped puppies he claimed he saw as the condemned murderers.


There’s an interesting article I read about Capote and Harper Lee visiting the town and how people reacted, mostly disliking Capote for his attitude while liking Lee. It highlights the complex character of Perry too, putting a pillow beneath Kenyon’s head to make him comfortable but then being capable of shooting him. I wonder what the book would have been like had Lee been the author instead of Capote.


Ha – I got the Capote connection at ‘Perry’ 🙂

The film about TC writing the book is excellent.

Enjoyed that and your poem.


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