Sunday Service: Tim Earley Poem
from The American Folkways Series
Spring placed its finger on my spine. I am not some kind of zombie with a surfboard and ham. I am not some kind of pigeon cooing itself to death. The engine of my flatbed truck cuggles on the hill. The neighborhood wyvern sits alilt on the berm of its own brain. I am ready to have some babies. I am ready to be a bellicose producer and have some babies and toss them into the air for years until the Lord strikes them with the gift of speech and their tales turn the mountain’s insides out into the meat I eat for breakfast. Until then I will watch my squash grow and pine for the cleft of some long lost beauty’s historical chin. The daily path is riddled with deceits, dresses, yellow hems. We were merry once. We hung curtains. The Lord brought us together in a shallow pool, the water beaded on her fur. I loved and despised both her vicious and enduring parts. She could not get on with my mother and left for the insolvent side of Jacksonville, Florida. The blue mouth killed my mother. Her head-wrap. Her incessant dusting. The hymnal contained eternal springs and she sang over it, her thick ankles and periwinkle eyes. The spard-misted clouds of March reached inside us. Walking to the church was terrifying. Walking into the church felt like walking into your own mouth. Inside the church Jesus was hairy with milk, laments, and there was a copperhead swimming in the baptismal. The blue mouth killed her. Do not put your mouth on the spigot, dear Lord, do not insert into your mouth a hickory twig, Sweet Peter James. I suspect my children will not exist or else become legendary in their silences, mute puttocks scrimmed from the sourmash. And yet the mountain rain, all kinds of spectacular dying, Biblical black leather, going to town, hair that won’t stop growing, a mosquito stealthing blood, the asylum inmates buried vertically. I shall play my toothpick. I shall eat yonder cabin. I shall ride yonder donkey. I shall ho yander cake. I shall be wrought from my own particular orality. I shall wear the yellow dress in private. I shall smoke my mother. I am not some kind of zombie with a surfboard and ham. I piss upon your digital age and your perfumes rent from dog eggs. I am wrenched into this mountain. It is airish out. Aroint my crotch with your killing gun. Scoop out my scrotum like a pumpkin’s entrails. Remove my potato eye and shove into its gulch the caché-bearing fury of your Quaker cock. Break my spine, silver rain, a bait of ruined teeth and quick-feckled lies. She remains in Jacksonville, still, and in my dreams tiny dobros hang from her firm and too large ears. My warped singing shovel hangs in the barn. I have never heard a more vatic rooster. Some bright morning. A song more dead. That dazzle. Oh, Twila.
Tim Earley is the author of two collections of poems, Boondoggle (Main Street Rag, 2005) and The Spooking of Mavens (Cracked Slab Books, 2010). His poems have appeared in Chicago Review, Colorado Review, jubilat, Conduit, Typo, Hotel Amerika and other journals. He lives in Oxford, Mississippi.