where the writers are
Army Men

 

by and by the bible beckons me

it whispers the pages flutter softly in the breeze that seeps through my ocean beach flat squeezes though the cracks nooks crannies that have opened themselves up over the years opened themselves up just like i open myself up to god

i resist but sometimes the bitch just overcomes overwhelms

and i simply roll take her down from my bookshelf it's up there with all the other books i have i take it down i have to admit i do like the feel of the pages the way they flitter fly float paper so thin sometimes i think i could

as a last resort

in desperate times

i mean jesus would understand don't you know

as a last resort i might

tear out a page from one of the lesser books maybe revelations or jeremiah roll me a joint inhale some ink of the holy well kind green bud laced with peace love understanding and grace

and fire
and brimstone
and signs of the devil

a compass of things to come

yeah sometimes i thumb through the bible this little bible o'mine sometimes i thumb through some other prescient tomb the torah the koran the bagadavita the tales of greek and roman and norse gods and goddesses the tales of coyote in the southwest desert the tales of the monkey king in china

sometimes i thumb through modern bibles written by twain marx freud keynes faulkner styron cheever sometimes i thumb through my collection of comic books sometimes i thumb through some old penthouses those whose pages haven't yet become too sticky from personal imaginings of the kind that last in the spank bank that last and earn interest

but sometimes i just turn back to the bible the new king james version the new american standard version that most wicked perverse hippie version that one from the seventies good news for modern man sometimes i just go straight for the gospels i dig the gospels i think i dig them most

the gospels sugar that's where it's at

the water to wine the loving of whores the raising of the dead the beatitudes

ah the beatitudes so simple so lovely

where did we leave them behind under what burning bush did we sweep them away how did we go from blessed be the peacemakers to onward christian soldiers i don't understand it don't matter don't matter at all hell the only ones that do understand are those that admit they don't thems that tell me swear to me swear on the bible itself they do understand

well yeah it's been going on forever probably gonna be going on forever more i'm set to ride it out

where else we gonna go what else we gonna do except maybe wrap barbed wire about our waist put rocks in our shoes lash ourselves in the darkness of our room at night oh to know the pain of jesus i do love him so where is she now

come to me jesus let me tell you let me tell you how i feel let me tell you about the stories i love the most

that one story that one part i love that walking on the water thing it makes me a bit jealous a bit envious in that little kid wanting to have super powers that desire to wiggle my nose and make shit happen i want that make it hap'n cap'n feeling yeah i wish i could walk on water slip and slide and saunter and two step across the aquifer hip hop hydroponically have the water tickle my toes like the plushest green lawn on a springtime south georgia morning

yeah come to me jesus we'll talk south georgia we'll talk story

blessed are the pure of heart for they shall see god

amen bless me jesus

amen bless me south georgia

aw lawdy lawdy way down in south georgia down in that corner near the alabama line where the chattahoochee flows into lake eufaula and the walter eff george reservoir on down into lake seminole and on down to florida down to the gulf of mexico down and around through and throughout

water water everywhere
not a drop to drink
soil so rich beneath our feet
all we do is sink

blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom

aunt net though she rules her kingdom down here in this little corner of south georgia where cuthbert is the county seat stuck right here in the middle of randolph county a confederate soldier a sentry standing guard in the middle of the town square protecting us from the angry hordes swarming from the north aunt net she guards the door as well lo aunt net she is the queen of the house

and she ain't gonna have no blessings happen unless it come through her and this glorious morning

aunt net she stands at the bottom of the stairs hands on her hips those broad hips those hips plumpily plentiful soft and round motherly and matronly sporting a white apron an off-white apron exhibiting a long ago coffee stain a stain brown and splotchy and looking like a rippling rorschach test imagined by some early times sipping driver to be a dead armadillo splattered battered betwixt and about the yellow lines on the back road to dawson not far out of shelby run over seventy two times by thirty six cars all in a line on a tuesday morning funeral procession out to the family cemetery

she stands at the bottom of the stairs hands on her hips looking up at me i'm at the top of the stairs i'm holding a big old cardboard box i got a crossman pump action pellet gun and a bolt action twenty two rifle slung over my shoulder cousin robbie he's standing behind me he's holding a double barrel twenty gauge shotgun and a satchel full of shells and pellets and packs of matches and a big can of lighter fluid

it's a july morning

of my twelfth summer robbie he's had four more than i

she my aunt net my cousin robbie's mom she stands at the bottom of the stairs hands on her hips looking up at us she's blocking our way we have no choice but to listen to what she has to say

she my aunt net she always got something to say the only time i ain't seen my aunt net talking she be sleeping in that big old brass bed holding court in the morning hours or in that big old fluffy chaise with the tee vee section of the newspaper folded in her lap the lip stick stained coffee cup on the table next to the lamp

my aunt net she stands at the bottom of the stairs her hands on her hips she says taking a deep breath that causes her to shiver just a little bit a shiver and shake from her toes to her upper lip her fatty fabric rolling in that undulating way like the fans do at the football stadium standing up sitting down doing the wave she says taking that deep breath drawn from the depths of her pre-diabetic state

she says

standing at the bottom of the stairs her hands on her hips she says john robert where in the sam hill do you think you're going

i'm holding a box a big ol box bigger than my twelve year old arms can manage a roman candle poking its tubular presence out into the world sniffing the air like a puppy crawling out from beneath the bed after peeing on mom's new persian rug its wet little nose sniffing for safety looking for love

aren't we all

several strings of firecrackers flowing up and out bunches of bottle rockets all rubber banded together like stalks of broccoli at the piggly wiggly the rattle rattle shake shake of plastic army men tanks cannons and assorted replicas of violent childhood dreams hundreds of grey and green soldiers posed in positions varied and vericose

each step carefully taken down toward auntie gestapo

she who imprisons and tortures us with saccharin permissiveness with blissful ignorance with what she don't know can't harm her position within the community can't take away her seat at the bridge table can't embarrass her with idle gossip poolside at the club who tortures us with the blessed sanctity of deep down not really giving a shit because she can't because she lost the battle years ago because the south georgia seventies swept over her in a tsunami she can't get used to that offers no possibility of solace

walking timidly down the steps toward aunt net as timidly as robbie is cocky the son who long ago learned to shine on mom and dad a cornfed eddie haskel taken to shuck and jive well before it had ever drifted out of the hood and down to a grand greasy haired wiggerdom of country fried meth addicts

slowly i turned walking timidly down the steps step by step inch by inch sliding past aunt net mumbling good morning aunt net she looking down at me tsk tsk'ing saying you eat breakfast michael yes ma'am aunt net she watching me slide on by looking over her shoulder tsk tsk'ing saying what'd you have cereal and milk she saying she looking at me walk on out toward the kitchen she saying you clean up yes ma'am aunt net

she has all the mannerisms of the negro mammy who stands in front of the stupid helpless tom the cat stands in front of him her arms crossed the end of a rolling pin gripped by one hand an aunt jemima kerchief about her hair a black high heeled pump tap tapping on the formica floor whacks that stupid cat with the rolling pin right there on afternoon cartoons tom and jerry every afternoon that cat gets the shit beat out of it

i'm waiting for her to whack robbie on the back of the head if not with the missing rolling pin with at least the palm of her hand as he saunters on by too cocky for a swagger saunters on by she still demanding just where in the sam hill do you think you're going robbie he turns still walking backward clutching the satchel with exasperation and a shrug he says with all the sullenness and meanness that a sixteen year old can muster for his mother

we're going to the quarry we're going to set up all these army men and tanks and things and we're going to blow the hell out of them and shoot the shit out of them and then we might light them on fire

and my aunt net she says red faced she says i'm sure your father will have something to say about this

and robbie he's sure he will too but that's many hours from now he cannot let the future rule his present rule his presence

i'm waiting outside when robbie comes storming out onto the back porch the screen door slam slam slamming behind him its squeaky spring wheezing into silence

between the smacks
between the smacks
between the smacks

we tear out of the drive in robbie's sixty six impala ess ess the three ninety six the holly six fifty the hooker headers the thrush dual exhaust

and the chrome

oh baby all that chrome

let's testify i want to testify

i want to roll around on the pulpit the preacher putting his hand to my forehead i want to feel the spirit flow through me i want to speak his word i want to chant his word i want to echo his word speak in tongue to all his creatures

i want my world walls to be solid i want them to be firm and supportive lawdy lawdy don't let me down send me a message i just want to testify all i want all i need is some sort of sign

a confederate flag painted on the trunk of the impala a confederate flag dangling from his key chain a confederate flag wrapped around our hearts us white folk we got to cling to something the whole world wobbles and george wallace he done been shot

blessed are they who mourn for they shall be comforted

we drive up to the quarry by way of a long dirt road signs at the turnoff stating declaring that it the dirt road it's county maintained the tires spin slightly as they leave the tar and gravel land on the hard pack dirt we leave a trail of dust in our wake

we are two of the four horsemen there are four hundred more beneath the hood

twenty minutes later we pull up to the massive clay pit rolling slowly over bump and bowl the slow rumble of the three quarter crane cam rolling rolling like an idling ski boat

bada bada
bada bada
bada bada

we lug the boxes out me robbie we spend a couple of hours setting up the army men arranging the little plastic figures along battle lines in and amongst the rocks and twigs and holes and mounds of dirt robbie has the green guys from the good old you ess of ay me i'm the grey the nasty nazis i am representing all that is reprehensible and wrong the germany of the sixties not so much remembered for their evil in the thirties forties no the germany of the sixties reminding us that 

this is america fuck face best love it or leave it it's a dangerous world out there beyond our town cousin robbie telling me it don't matter all hell is going to break loose anyway

and so it is and so it will be

i set up my artillery along a canyon wall i place a tank battalion moving in across a dusty plain i position forward snipers embedded in the woods i employ armored carriers and troops moving in from a shadowy flank robbie he has the high ground he's dug in sort of a guns of navaronne in reverse

there is the calm before the storm there is a silence before the battle

we start with the pellet gun each taking turns picking off a man here a man there are probably five hundred men maybe more we bore of the painfully slow death the one at a time the tick the tock of the executioner's clock ain't nobody going to win this way we begin tossing firecrackers one at a time getting some satisfaction when one lands amidst a group of soldiers in front of a tank alongside a troop carrier

robbie tosses an em eighty leaving a crater the size of a shoebox i bury one at the bottom of his fortress lighting the fuse watching part of his wall crumble

too bad they don't make the plastic filled with red goo we want carnage we want more like cocaine in the eighties the more we kill the more we want to kill

we twist up several firecrackers and now don't even bother with turns throwing them randomly about when we think about it shooting wildly with pellet gun and twenty two robbie aims a roman candle and lays waste to my front line i throw a barrage of bottle rockets at his cliff

lo and the walls a'come a'tumblin' down

the smell of gunpowder stings the eyes a tear flows down my cheek i gasp to catch my breath i pause

between the smacks
between the smacks
between the smacks

blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy

i put down my pellet gun i toss aside my box of matches robbie he looks at me he says hey we're not finished we're not done me i'm done i kick back i take a seat on my haunches looking staring wheezing coughing robbie he says hey we're not finished robbie he's older he's wiser he whispers his own words of wisdom to me in the darkness of his room at night

robbie he ain't done

robbie he takes the lighter fluid he sprays it all over the battle field soaks the clay soaks the plastic men soaks the tanks and cannons and accoutrements of warfare strewn about us he runs a liquid trail back to where i sit he stands in front of me i didn't notice then but in my memories when i look back in that looking glass

when i stare at my soul between breaths of an acid trip i see them now the little horns those pointy curvy little horns poking up from beneath his shaggy seventies south georgia hair

he grins he grimaces he tosses a match between my legs

the quick poof o a flame licks my balls

and shoots back down toward the battlefield engulfs the men i think i hear them scream i know that today in the early mornings that time between darkness and sunrise when dreams weigh heavy so heavy i can't wake up i hear them scream

they melt slowly they melt

the gaseous fumes mixing with the hot july day it's all hazy like when clint eastwood wanders out of the desert to begin yet another spaghetti western the good the bad the ugly

we watch for a little while five seconds thirty seconds a couple of minutes some ground cover it catches fire smokes smolders hisses pops i get up walk over to the twenty gauge leaning against the car

pump it once aim and pull the trigger

a holy cacophony reverberates through the canyon through the quarry the number seven bird shot devastating the hillside bits and parts of plastic and mud and clay and dead flora explode and rain down upon us

i pump it again aim and pull the trigger

this time the explosion not as loud perhaps we're half deaf from the first another wave of humanity disintegrates before our eyes another slice of the earth pulverized

blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be satisfied

i hunger i thirst i yearn for righteousness believe me lord trust me jesus just show me a sign and i will testify

where else we gonna go what else we gonna do except maybe wrap barbed wire about our waist put rocks in our shoes lash ourselves in the darkness of our room at night oh to know the pain of jesus i do love him so where is she now

come to me jesus let me tell you let me tell you how i feel let me tell you about the stories i love the most

that one story that one part i love that walking on the water thing it makes me a bit jealous a bit envious in that little kid wanting to have super powers that desire to wiggle my nose and make shit happen i want that make it hap'n cap'n feeling yeah i wish i could walk on water slip and slide and saunter and two step across the aquifer hip hop hydroponically have the water tickle my toes like the plushest green lawn on a springtime south georgia morning

blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness for theirs is the kingdom of heaven

our job our duty done we pick up the empty shells we leave the dead on the field of battle we pack our guns and we head on home

bada bada
bada bada
bada bada

a dusty trail in our wake

oh lord oh lawdy help me to walk on water jesus help us all and all that