Sunday, August 12, 2012

Church Hymns--by any Southern Poet

        So I say ‘a Virginia         in the Subway after
cause she didn’t         feel like makin anythin at home,
just had some sannich meat
                 and breads                 anyways at the house,
I say,
                     or think ol’ Tommy      Mead taday
dropped his Bible                     in the pulpit
            askin for tithez
                                             o come all you
        ten puhcent and all,
 then shakin,
                  shakin his arm           sayin It’s numb!
until he falls        down next the purple IHS
                       screamin I-cain’t-see!,
                                           his fingers all shakin
tearin at the buttons of his blazer
 and cryin like he’s back
                       stubbin his toe on a bottom bunk board,
             his wife,
 Martha er name,
                         skinny diabetic legs chickenin to his side
 wi’ that big          hair helmet always
           smellin like airofsaul
                             “Keep it down Tom!”

Then the preacher     just sittin
     tappin his old finganail        against his chin,
                                                               ‘ose old
                                                lone yella finganails,
waitin until old Alva      and Andy
          done got up from the pew
rushin to his side
           Martha already chickened       over from beside the pianah
wi da hymn book still     iner hand.

I say,
wha you think bout that Virginia
and she dutn’t say nuthin but
look at me wi her face all screwed up.
I say,
           here’s old Tommy Mead
used to be in the war,
            been in the church for yeeahs and
he gets struck bline
the middle a church
falls down
and the preacher just gets
that old chicken take im out back in the social room
and wait on the amblance
then continue on wi the service
sayin its time to siehng
and pray and keep
ol’ Tom in our thoughts and prayers
      while he’s out back cryin and sayin
I’m bline!!
         while we can
still hear im over the pianah
and the And He Walks
with Me.
I say,
       that sure ain’t no Christian way
do things,
sit there siehngin
while a member of the flock
out back struck bline,
that preacher always
been somethin wron bout im
I say, somethin wron,
make us all sit outside
but nobaid wan be disrespectful an
get up the middle a the service.
Well Virginia put down her sannich
and look me in the face.
I see she been thinkin
bout what I been sayin
and she start askin me
why I thought that was wrong
              and I said
I just don’t
see why there’d be reason
make us stay outside like that and siehng
when there wouldn’t no reason a siehng,
                      specially then
and for a matter a fact
I told her then and there
I ain’t had no reason a siehng
em songs in ten years,
             I done lost my faith,
feelin like I’m gonna cry
thinkin bout Mary
been dead these ten years,
                       our daughter and her husband
car crash out on 85
and Virginia take my hand
and just look at me
and I feel like I’m bout
a cry,
but she say wi one of
those smiles made me love her fohty years ago
             wi the curls bout her fohhead,
such pretty teeth,

she say,
What else there
for one ta siehng about?
Days a water
in yeeahs a drought.

She always knew how
quote the scripture
         and I just looked at er
been ten years and taday
            wi Tommy Mead,
a lone lone time,

days a water
I think,
and yes
been a lone lone time,
an always a drought,

so much can’t even
spray the flowerbeds.

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