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January 5, 2017 | Poetry

Two Poems

C.T. McGaha

Two Poems photo

Talmadge

when i was born, you bought a hill—
a great mound of clay and bone
and you named that mountain after us.

i remember the okra most of all
stewed and boiled and fried
and the taco nights in front

of the television, watching Don
Knotts movies and Ernest Goes to
Jail, and how you laughed and spit

Red Seal dip into the styrofoam cups
littered all around the old ranch style
home you kept for yourself and mamaw.

and how you loved Jay Leno and
hated David Letterman. which was
arbitrary, i always thought, then.

and when the okra stopped growing
was when the cancer started.
the first time, the prayers, the fury

the red carpet in the living room fading
pink and the stenciled leaf couches all
turning sinister. but you beat it.

then i started playing guitar and i
listened to punk rock and you taught
me country chords on your old Guild

acoustic--the first one, a Taylor,
stolen before my father was born.
and i remembered the dead of texas,

the whole country swaying under
that wind that blew across the east
from the north. god saw it his worst.

and i remember almost forgetting
about you, in the fall of 2009. when
i shaved my head and shook my fists

at the lord and his father. my patience
thin as your greying hair, in
spring that remission rescinded.

second time short lived. by fall you were
grinning again. we came to visit, flew in
from LAX. your strong hands looking pale,

and shaking. and my father cried. like
you, who never cried from unrest
and all the messes of men. but this was

different. and i asked him "just like
Michael J. Fox?" and he just stared
out the window, praying in his eye veins.

and i've seen you three times since then,
in seven years. and every time
i've wanted to shoot both of us

to the black outer space, where age works
different and we're all pure and
there's no great punisher up dealing

out disease to hardworking men. and
i can hold your hand, still as a rattlesnake
and we can count the oceans

that don't mean nothing no more.


Lamentations

i binge watched the
lifetime original show
Preacher's Daughters
in its entirety

and i
fucking
loved it

and months after my completion
referenced it to my partner
who had never seen it
or even heard of it

on imdb, it has 191 ratings
which is criminally low
and not a single cast member
has even a headshot

trying to pull up a few selected clips
i see what is truly the worst news
of the day, maybe the week:

it has since been cancelled
it has been removed from the site

you cannot watch it
on the Lifetime app
on any device you please

which means that

i cannot watch it
on the Lifetime app
on any device i please

i can't hear Ken Coleman (Atlanta, GA)
call his daughter Britney
when his daughter's name
is Taylor

or watch Kolby Koloff
whose father is famous wrestler

Nikita Koloff (Kannapolis, NC)
cry about taking a chastity vow

or ponder "what would i do
if my daughter wanted to date
a boy with long hair?"
like Mark Perry (Chicago, IL)

i cannot quit watching season 3
because they completely FUCKED
the formatting up and made it
a knockoff Real World-style
"5 sheltered teens in a caribbean dream home"
scenario

when the entire crux of the show was
watching these families interact
in the mundane and banal
altogether normal
aspects of life
while i sat in my pajamas
on my ikea couch
between shifts at a grocery store
feigning to feign interest
in what sucked me right the hell in

the father-daughter dates
have been settled—dutch

the wacky, whimsical soundboards
have been exhausted

the guilt and fear of elektra complexes
have been shelved
in the annals of history
next to Kathy Griffin and Coco Austin
for future generations to find
on tumblr
in 20-30 years
tagged "wtf"

but they won't understand
not like i did
or as i do
as i cancel my Lifetime account

and delete the app

 

image: Caleb Curtiss


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