Aaron J. Poller – Poetry

Southern Politics

We moved to Winston-Salem even though
we quit smoking over thirty years ago

it turns out RJR’s no longer top banana
now the Baptists keep the bearded

Jesus highly competitive
and the economy based more

on doughnuts than naughty tobacco plants
made southern cities glow a distinct culture

ya’ll god may frown on tobacco sugar
so the city fathers plan branching out

to the computer Dell’s church rising up
no doubt will aspire to a heaven here

in Winston life filled with prosperity
with demon speed of communication

hardly seems a renunciation’s in order
crape myrtles line the street and even if

my neighbors are not all Republicans
allowed a war necessary to stop

Saddam and that new wave of imports
the undocumented working Mexicans.

West 74 to Wytheville

One ridge rides another ridge
one guitar solo rides another

guitar solo riding both
raises a poignant question

of immense proportion
unsettled a sign painted

along the road pointed
to the Baptist church

what if god is salvation
sawed bones unaccounted

a bone one had better
not be taking for granted

one winter rides
another winter one

father rides another father
one forged check rides

another forged check
day begins essentially

some question some looking
for any answer to this power

we start to pay attention
to things that happen

things that might happen
one thought may ride another

thought one horse may ride
another horse one moment cross

another moment this morning
Wytheville is much farther than

I intend to go or any singing


The race against time is like the moon.
It comes and goes, pulls us in its tide,

illuminates us if we are too soon,
too late, a bloom out of season, a sad bride.

Whether we push on at all, a question
fathers bring to such mortality, our children,

years of holding up the world upon our shoulders,
till we may sleep free of dark, exiled fears.

And still we run and run and run.
And all the black holes we have faced head on,

and all the hard and hardened laughing we have done,
return to us our days, our nights, a dancing over oceans.

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