CS Fuqua, So it goes

So it goes

Sooner or later,
her mother and I’ll be gone,
leaving her alone to manage
all we once tackled as a team.
That’s life.
Nothing I can do about it.
Except worry.
Worry about the charlatans
who’ll steal her blind,
the lovers
who’ll abuse her affections,
the nights
that will drag on in loneliness and loss…
And, of course, the end
when, like all before her,
she’ll mourn
accomplishments faded,
goals failed, and words never uttered.
And she’ll accept
the proposition that
nothing mattered
more than the moment
in which it occurred,
as her mind—
always, always on the next event,
the next goal, the next purchase or conquest,
even at the end—
contemplates the darkness.

Desecration

The flag sewn
to the butt of my jeans
was unacceptable.
He’d served with honor,
survived the kamikaze crash into his ship,
and honored Old Glory around the world
during conflict and peace.
He’d buried friends who died for it—
rather, for what it represented to him.
And though my flag protested
the war I could have died in,
I honored him by removing it
even as true-bloods
with 4-F bone spurs chanted
Love it or leave it!
Now those old 4Fers cut and sew
the flag he served
to wear as shirts, pants, bandanas,
underwear, jock straps, and thongs,
and I wonder what he would say,
how he would feel about his flag,
meaningless in the hyperbole of its wavers.

Second Edition

I won’t cram 200-plus
into one volume
like decades
into a photo album—
not this time.
Too many.
So many they overwhelm
like days numbered.
No. This edition
will be smaller,
more manageable,
intimate, inviting,
hinting more to come
to experience like hours
days, weeks, months,
each promising years
even when only minutes remain.

Times

All the times I failed
to meet fluid expectations
haunt each message you leave,
each demanding a return call,
but my fingers refuse
to work the numbers,
trembling in realization that
enough’s enough.
No rage, no hatred, no love,
no emotion at all,
except, perhaps, pity—
and somewhere in the recesses,
still a longing for words kinder, softer,
rather than what we had and have.
Spilt milk, you’d say,
and, like milk, spoiled.

TV

The first trip by Greyhound
ended at her house.
The old man grilled illegal deer,
drained a Mason jar of moonshine,
followed by a six-pack of Bud,
and spent the evening in his underwear,
in bed with her, watching TV.
He laughed at late-night comics
and bragged he’d never been happier.
Pictures of this woman and her kids
burdened the nightstands and dresser,
and I drifted around the room,
trying not to glance at her
in the pink negligee barely cloaking
a body full of secrets.

The same pictures abide on tables
in a different bedroom decades later
where she and he watch TV
from recliners separated
by an end table, ashtrays,
and lighted cigarettes,
smoke drifting in search of a memory
laced with laughter and mystery.

CS Fuqua’s books include White Trash & Southern ~ Collected Poems, The Swing ~ Poems of Fatherhood, Walking after Midnight ~ Collected Stories, Big Daddy’s Fast-Past Gadget, and Native American Flute ~ A Comprehensive Guide ~ History & Craft, among others. His work has appeared in publications such as Year’s Best Horror Stories XIX, XX and XXI, Pudding, Pearl, Chiron Review, Sin Fronteras Journal, Christian Science Monitor, Slipstream, The Old Farmer’s Almanac, The Writer, and Honolulu Magazine.

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