F. A. Chambers – Two Poems

F. A. Chambers

Two Poems

Gas Station with Pork Rinds

Because everyone suffers but China when Chinese catfish undercut the catfish
of Alabama’s big backyard, I entered the state walking and left with dirt in my teeth.
Because everyone wins when Mercedes moves in, everyone’s bottom line’s in the driver’s seat.
We celebrate the State as abstract entity until it joins something more abstract.
Freedom, except on Sundays. Freedom, get US out of the UN. Because manufacturing
brings jobs for Germans we manufacture the soul in church. Because property tax brings defeat.
Regressive constitutions mean more babies and more babies more love in the scrotum-heat
of summer, because if nothing else, love. We douse our history with the perfume of Jack
Warner’s symbolically huge private collection of American art. Ignore the lines of pines, their raped
cousins’ slopes. Because the reflection off a catfish pond’s flat morning is blue, deep
as a tarn, we are proud and strong, an honor-song. Can I say we? We pray to sell. We wait for
a tiny parade at a gas station whose one person at a time! women’s room sign is taped
under a ten-point buck head. We celebrate family like a flag, like eight liters of soda a week,
like all of us sitting on the porch while our teenage son putters around his plot of tomatoes.

Western Predatory Agriculture
is an unhesitant decider;
is sad;
is hard-pressed to see what you mean about the trees;
fell asleep on the railroad tracks outside Omaha;
is looking kind of pale;
is lefthanded and an avid follower of chess columns;
is ready to end it all;
is sung in barroom ballads from one coast to the next;
dreams of a small island in the Pacific with a fruity drink and neverending warm breeze;
is the man with the plan, an army of one;
is, like all men, mostly on the surface;
is our hero;
is our lover;
spells his name backwards on unimportant paperwork;
bites through the tendons of 4-H children and saves the bones for soup;
is no one’s lover, no one’s end;
is, on a scale of 1-10, 9;
brings chocolates after an argument, no matter how small;
rubs his feet with coconut oil before retiring;
is both palm and frond;
is fruit of the Enlightenment’s loins and father to beer and bread;
considers himself a person while denying the existence of the metaphysical self;
bought stock in erosion when it was just two guys and a garage;
prefers hot dogs and whiskey;
is not afraid;
cries softly in the privacy of moonless nights;
remembers trees;
tends towards dehydration;
is narrow and uncreased;
is blind;
is plastic;
is an unacknowledged contributor to The Federalist; or, The New Constitution, and The Communist Manifesto;
believes he would do well with a solo act on Broadway;
had an incestuous relationship with Earl Butz;
used to wet his bed;
scoffs at Chomsky and Bono;
extracts minerals and puts them into food and sells it on the cheap and buries the profit in a sack;
is the question of how to live;
is bald-faced and subtle;
used Poet Laureate Ted Kooser’s folksiness to push his agenda;
started off as a boxer;
started off as a seed drill;
started the Wheat Foods Council;
started, when I said hello;
is dead;
is dying;
is alive and well and living in Peoria.

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