The Smell and Look of Dysfunctional (a poem)

We straddle Piggly

Wiggly crates nestled between

freshly sanded rockers.

 

 

We palm half-pint Masons,

moisture-slick, in gnarled grips.

We guzzle homemade whiskey

 

 

with tokes of two-toned

menthol chasers in the midst

of the midnight hawk.

 

 

Our sugarcane-hardened plasma

coursing, our washtub-scrubbed

bones tautly stretching,

 

 

our bodies twanging

the electric, deep river

Mississippi blues.

 

 

Our minefield pockmarks

Morse-coding, our lost brethren’s

names intimating,

 

 

our bodies twanging

the electric, deep river

Mississippi blues.

 

 

Our skeletal memories

tug-of-warring, our cranial platoon

futilely strategizing,

 

 

our bodies twanging

the electric, deep river

Mississippi blues.

 

 

We are a throng of seniors

on a cinder block porch, airbrushed

by Lawrencean strokes.

 

 

We shine attention

on the one with the gray crop

circles in his hair.

 

 

He hems us

up in a fit of conniption

about a comrade,

 

 

 

drunk off gin and shine,

somersaulting his rocker

off the porch’s edge.

 

 

Our downfallen sir

laces garters of curses

around those splinters

 

 

like a groom, the rice

raindrops pelting him.

Despite the bull’s-eye

 

 

darts thrown by the one who hates

being the center

of attention,

 

despite the tawdry

snippets we hold of the storyteller,

he jaws on.

 

                                Funk

erodes our bank of banter.

 

With her unbuckled

sandals flapping dust whispers,

with her mud-streaked slip

 

 

straps yoking passion

marked shoulders. The friction

of her wedding bands

 

 

corkscrewing around

grooved knuckles emits it: a

pungent potpourri

 

 

of barnhouse sweat

and afterglow effect.

 

 

It Red Sea-parts us

 

 

 

like a belle shrouded

by fans of divining rods.

We, the hung jury,

 

 

stroke our jowls

and crotches, hiking up

tattered pant legs.

 

 

 

Some of us are drawn

to her fullness, yearning

to savor her like

 

 

sweet potatoes and fat

backs roasting for noon lunch.

Some of us crow

 

about all women

being underhanded just

like men, quoting their

 

 

own double helical lines

of DNA intersected by multiple

affairs.

 

Some of us,

familiar with whom

she once was, are sickened by

 

 

what she has become.

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