Today's poem is by Scott Bailey

Why Should I Stand for Jesus?

When I win four hundred dollars at the National Tobacco Spitting Contest,
I buy a Civic, the paint peeling. I feel a Holy-Ghost freedom when I pass
The fat, grinning, rich, daddy's boy who calls me Buckteeth Ugly, laughing
At my fake Reeboks. When he passes me in his silver Trans Am,

Bumper sticker Eat My Grits, I floor it; my motor blows, and I coast
To the side of the road, fat boy flipping me the bird, driving on,
Most likely to Wards for a Big One. I walk down a hill to a porch
Where an old woman stitches a quilt; she tells me to take it slow,

Just as she is, sipping on a glass of warm milk, sitting in her rocker,
Waiting for her dogs, already in heaven, who met their fates
On the road. I call Dad on her phone, a red rotary box, just like Grandma's
On the wall, under a stuffed sea bass that Grandpa caught while

Honeymooning on the coast. Dad arrives, tractor chain in hand,
And I drive attached to his beat-up blue Chevrolet with dents from pulp-wooding,
The truck that my cousin and I drive to downtown Magee.
It's Crazy Day, an annual event—wooden ducks, benches with heart-shaped backs,

Peanut brittle, hotdogs and powdered doughnuts—that kind of crazy;
People crowd the streets to show off fancy cars, sparkling rims, spoilers,
Motorola antennas. We never score a date, only invitations for mud-bog,
Beer-guzzles. After months of looking, we place a newer-model motor

In an olderjunk frame. Dad loans it to me after my brother wrecks his car,
Missing a woman in her elderly scooter but hitting a hamburger shack.
The body's not completely totaled, so Uncle Ulmer and Dad
Repeatedly pull the car with a tractor into a pine until it's beyond repair.

When we realize that the pine won 't live, the sapling my brother
Won as a prize for selling the most pies for Smokey-the-Bear Awareness Week,
It's a cold morning before school, the day my classmates swear to a walkout
When our teachers don't get a raise. I crank the car, such God-awful screaming.

I pop the hood to find guts, stool, hair, and fluffy tail pieces splattered
All over that newly installed motor. Another kitten, its butt bald without a tail,
Wobbles out from under the car that dies and won 't crank, so I have to ride
The bus, bus 125 where I fight Tanya. Four years prior, she slaps my glasses

Off, calls me Sissy. I slam her on the floorboard and commence to punch,
Then her tall brother's on my back, scratching me, kids screaming, Kick that bitch's ass!
Till this day, I don't know if they were referring to me or to Tanya.
Her father comes to our house, and Dad whips me with a switch,

Tells her father that I won't cause any more trouble. I'm confused.
I'm just standing up for myself. But Dad says if I'm doing any standing up,
I should be standing for Jeeeazuss. He drives a forklift at a plant all day,
So he knows the importance of standing. The walkout is a success,

Because we make it on T.V. despite Principal Bowen demanding that we return
To class, but we say, Hell No! We Won't Go, all the way down Main Street.
I hear that Tanya has a lazy eye with stigmatism, like a team of horses
Pulling in opposing directions. She's married, wearing Dollar General

Makeup and feeding her kids bologna and welfare-cheese sandwiches.
That serves her right. Maybe, she'll think twice before slapping another sissy.
Who knows where she and Fat Boy end, but I know Uncle Ulmer's
Tilling gardens and Grandpa's spilling heavenly seeds, that old lady

Taking it slow, stitching, sipping on a glass of milk, alongside her dogs
Panting with purring kittens, all watching Dad drive that forklift
While praying to win the lottery. I don't want to live or die. I want to be.

Copyright © 2014 Scott Bailey All rights reserved
from Thus Spake Gigolo
NYQ Books
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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