Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Three Little Orphans

God Holds Grudges

The one of us who grew too quickly
makes jokes at the rest of our expense.
He laughs at the empathy we share.
He sees nothing clearly, being blind
since birth, both stubborn and angry
at a god who gave him bulk and brawn
but never listens to the prayers he offers,
asking for sunlight—a hint of color,
asking for what other people have.
And still he dances at the altar
and preaches from a raging pulpit
about the sacrament of life and the need
for obedience, unquestioning faith,
and piety. Then he drinks himself stupid
and slaps the whore who lies beside him
across her red lips because she says
she loves him and that her unborn child
is his. He does not preach forgiveness.
He does not forgive. God holds grudges,
he says. And this is how he worships.
This is how he lives his sorry life.

Opening the Mind
Now this
is the key to passing
one piece of knowledge
to another person’s
mind: Take one
tiny microdot
of truth—one
fact plucked
from emotion—
and place it
on your tongue.
Do not savor it
for long. Do
not swallow.
Share it
with the world
one whisper
at a time.
lightning flashes,
sparks fly across synapses,
and sometimes
there is thunder
in the distance.

The Good Parts

The dead rabbits seem so sad
as Grandpa’s knife separates fur
from flesh. We are so glad
to have nourishment packed with protein
and luck. We suck marrow
from the bones.

My brother is partial to the brains,
simmered still in the skull
with what’s left of a rich stew.
Grandma stitches the skins together
to make a blanket
for the baby’s new bed.

                                    And I
read to him stories of Br’er Rabbit,
of southern post-war reconstruction,
leaving out the good parts—
the jolly poverty and zip-
a-dee-doo-dah endings.


"God Holds Grudges," "Opening the Mind," and "The Good Parts" were published in Issue 9: The Originator (Bo Diddley) of Literary Orphans.  This is my second contribution to this stylistically beautiful online journal. My prose poem "The Meeting Ran Long" was included in Issue 5: Satchmo.


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