Monday, April 22, 2013

Two Poems by H. Alexander Shafer


thank you, billy childish

i love everyone on these
cracked roads
which stretch for miles
in all directions,
the ones who’ve lived
three generations long
w/ dirty rim plastic glasses
an out-of-date ideal of
societal standards
& self-conduct
& a healthy appetite for
gold coins
in indian casinos,
& those who eat at fake
chinese restaurants
who are ran by ½-chinese
who look chinese
& act chinese
who ain’t really chinese,
i embrace the colonels
the master sergeants
the privates
& the recently enlisted
convicted of a non-violent
offenses, i even care
for those who gangbang
on street corners
shopping center alleyways
corner stores
& your front lawn,
w/ fists full of spray paint
cans, 40-oz bottles of
3.2 & sixty-dollar cash
pay checks, i love
the sports fanatic
& his shouting,
the used car salesman
lying through his teeth,
the mommies w/ short haircuts
bedazzled oklahoma
shirts & the sudden ability
to text message, & the daddies,
as they either silently accept their
typing out text messages
& water the grass every
other day, or
are boisterously hollering
& shaking their fists
during their pill addicted son’s
junior high basketball game
for kicks
& false sense of success,
of course i couldn’t forget
the store & shop
owners, the iltalian
grocer, who lies
about the sausages,
the pakistani side-shop
clerk, who sells
hash pipes at ½ price
cheaper than anywhere
else in town,
& the korean doughnut
shop owner, who ain’t
so good at selling
doughnuts & only seems
to serve cold shit coffee,
& always those who
sell car insurance
drugs & tires & cocktails
to middle-aged divorcees
& junior college dropouts
on the same night,
& by the way
the divorcee
& the dropout too,
i love them & everybody else
eaten up about
leaving or staying
truth or lie
religion or flesh,
& especially those who hate
because of cumbersome
snows, then stand in the
street & curse the heat,
admirable are
the passerbys
the homeowners
the drunks
the board of education
tv junkies
& not to mention the dull
teenager walking
alone at night,
i’m loyal to the
high school art teacher
punk rocker
hospital janitor
& everybody else
accused of only wearing
black shirts,
& also those who practice
faith as religion
eat the body of christ
on sunday
play golf
on tuesday
visit their mother
on wednesday
& get busted sorting through
dirty magazine racks
on friday, & even
the ones who condemn
sinners & the sinner being
condemned by sinners.
from the sewage pond
to housing editions, to
the shopping mall
& military base, which
make up the four corners
of town,
i love these miles & miles
of cracked road
& everybody within,
i love them
because they are me
& i love myself
because i am them.


the fool on the hill, has taken up residence in my head.
& then on the couch, smoking my lungs blacker each
drab day. my fool eats whatever is thrown close enough
but the best cuts of meat are thoughts & hands. the same
fool who, with best intentions, led me to bickering
relationships with women, drudging days of bank
work, microwave nachos & regular day long arrested
development marathons, which made me question life.

that fool takes my hand, searching through stacks of un—
educated this & that. & is always sure to keep me
comfortably uninspired & like wrists hog-tied to a couch.
it’s only when i drive, alone from the bank, my head
becomes clear, & music cha-chings from ear to ear, as if
my black jeeps cab creates some kind of homebase.
inevitably the needle scratches the record & my fool

comes to mind. driving thirty-five down twenty-third
takes the piss out of me, i pass homeless like they were
starbucks. the music now sounds dull & the thoughts
stop. only thing coming to mind whether or not to take
mom up on the offer & call doc for free anti-depressants.

that & the bums. i bet they got some fools too. click—
clacking fool’s voices in the ears of every busted home—
less on street corners, highway exits & barhall parking lots,
who i refuse to pay out for fear a buck less brings me a
step closer to them. these hands, when i drive alone, ache
to collect my thoughts, yet at the end of everyday are

stuffed sweating through the denim of my pockets, or
demolished between my ass & a couch cushion, while i
stare up at the ceiling fan on hi, like a fool, focusing on
each blade, tryin’ to figure what i should already know.
barhalls & banks have little to do with hands. cigarettes &
couches have little to do with hands. knowing this
all thats left to do is flip the fuckin’ fan the finger
& get on with my day.

H. Alexander Shafer is a poet, screenwriter and musician. His poetry can be found in The Writing Disorder and The Shelter of Daylight. He continues to write and play drums in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

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