Gary Carter: Poetry: Sept 2021


Southern Legitimacy Statement: Having been blessed and honored to have appeared previously in the Mule, I’d proudly hang my southern legitimacy on that fact alone. However, if you need more, let me just point out that when you grow up in a small town anywhere south, Jesus is just about everywhere, in some way, shape or form.

Hanging around after school, sitting at the dinner table, watching you watch that little girl down the street or just staring down from the wall, a handsome bearded white dude with long hair—which presented problems for mama and daddy when trying to explain why those flowing locks were okay for Jesus but not John, Paul, George and Ringo. We knew he roamed the streets at night, seeking out sinners and making sure good little boys said prayers.

And don’t forget Vacation Bible School where Jesus worked his mysterious ways under disguise of songs, crafts, games, cookies and grape juice—the latter, I’m pretty sure, laced with blood of the Lamb.

Boyd’s Big Bang Dilemma

now boyd was neither a hardcore believer nor semi-soft unbeliever & to be honest didn’t give it all a lot of thought / until for some reason he heard a preacher on the radio talking about how god created the whole dang universe in six days which was pretty miraculous even in boyd’s limited point of view

but then how the lord rested on the seventh day / which led boyd to thinking about what kind of all-knowing being would allow all the crap going on in the world at this time / which then led him to suddenly consider what if ( since the preacher admitted we didn’t have no idea how long one of the lord’s work days was / could be a zillion years or something )

the old boy was still on vacation / still on a long drawn out holiday from all that seriously difficult universe creating / which meant the lord might punch back in any minute take a look around & not like worth a damn what he’d built & decide to pull the plug on the whole thing

wham bam a whole new big bang nothing left

or worse he just turns this particular universe over to the devil & says don’t work for me son / so you have at it / see what you can do & if you can make something worth a damn might get you back on my team

so you can imagine the devil might just consider taking out a few dents & doing some buffing & smoothing things out a bit as an interesting challenge / not to mention an opportunity to slide back over on the lord’s good side & get away from all that evilness & sinning

but then again the devil being what he is & having been at it now a good long time / depending on how long a day is in god time / could just holler out hell yeah done got me a universe of my very own which i’m gonna customize into my own version of a good time & then all hell’s sure gonna break loose

which set boyd to fretting & sweating & wondering if maybe he ought to get some repenting done like sally suggested / just in case lightning really did hit the shithouse

which led him to stop by henry’s roadhouse where it took damn near five cold brews to let the air out of boyd’s head & quieten down the overload & allow a little peace of mind / during which boyd realized it plain old didn’t make a damn what he did or thought or thought he might do or not do & the goddamn universe was going to spin right ahead with him along for the ride or not

so he ordered another beer & relaxed & wondered whether sally was grilling him a pork chop for supper & his heart was duly lifted & he suddenly discerned the peace that passeth all understanding & whispered thanks & amen under his breath to no one in particular / just in case somebody really was listening