Mark Blaeuer – Four Poems

A Complaint About the “Beverly Hillbillies” Premise

First, that geology
is wrong.
I lived in Newton County if not Bug

Scuffle (Bug
Tussle’s in east Texas,
by the way, a geographic peccadillo):

no
raw petroleum percolating—hell, we’d have
noticed—much

less in quantity
sufficient
to make commercial drilling

feasible. I witnessed
crudity in
general

but wouldn’t tar
an entire populace with the same
appellation: the H-word.

In
fact the people who
dwelt in pre-

fab log
cabins were a local Uberklasse.
Misanthropes in funnel

magnets or
caves? Oh, certainly—their
kids immune

to curricula-compliant lesson
plans
or for that

matter readin’/writin’/cipherin’—
but don’t their brethren fan
across our planet?

One denizen of our mail route apparently
grew
pot in a buried

bus on the ridge road
(a modified Mr. Frosty van
for an outhouse).

He summed it
up: “Third World living at its best.”
Second, the isolationist

kinfolk
would never have uttered
what’s attributed to

them. Each mountain was a universe.
Moreover,
it was home. Supposed

lust for chlorine
pools: uh-uh. Tramp down your
hollow to a green

hole deep enough
for belly flops, and a hundred
calm stretches made as if for Izaak

Walton.
Finally, I guarantee ol’
Jed

wouldn’t have listened—he wasn’t
Uncle Joad.
That

image of an overloaded truck lifted directly
out
of Grapes of

Wrath was born
in some Calicentric studio.
Leave

heaven? No, especially not if
somebody else suggested
it.

The coat of arms for any real Ozarker
must have mules
rampant in a scrabble-

hearted field.
That’s
what I come back to.

**

Batting Instructor Edward J. Whizzykin Told Us,“Cross Your Eyes Five Minutes Every Night”

He was so positive it worked the vision
muscle: a sweaty, pudgy alchemist
turning base theory into major league
gold if not aurum philosophicum.

Awake, I search for Eddie’s career stats,
find nothing literal except the pain
of trying to maintain my average
by guile, opposed to arrogant phenoms.

A part of my soul edges off third, breaks
with the pitch, and the bunt slow-rolls toward first . . .
a squeeze play, executed perfectly,
ties up the game (as if it were a game).

**

Prospector

I trace the Rockies
to a southern lair.
Above, snowy crags. I stop
at a cabin, knock.
Some bearded geezer
pokes his head out, snarls, “Whaddaya want?”
I feel I’ve struck Texas.
He spits. “Them ain’t the Rockies,
and this ain’t Texas.”
I ask, “Which mountains are they?”
He squints up at the peaks,
then back at me.
“Hell, ain’t no mountains around here.”
Adjacent, a guy is plowing hillside
with mules.
His beat-up ‘64 Impala wagon is parked
on a dirt driveway leading down to the main road.
I slide in and
rev,
amazed not that it’s unlocked, keys in ignition,
but that it works.
In rearview I glimpse the owner
smiling.

**

Worship

Sunday morning,
back yard pen,
he lifts
grabber and bucket in quest

of dog turds,
picks up dry and wet,
turns pensive.
He didn’t exactly choose this

but accepts it
despite.
Every turd the eye points out,
ergo he collects,

abuts another
carried in free will.

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