Poem by Gale Acuff


 

Mushy

Miss Hooker’s my Sunday School teacher and
I don’t love Jesus enough, she tells me
almost after every class because
I’m not saved but I need to be or else
when I die I’ll go to Hell forever
and suffer in torment for the same length
of time, it time’s what that is, I’ll find out
one day if I don’t curtail my sinning,
I think curtail means to cut it out for
good and if not for good then at least down,
I’ll always sin at least some, Miss Hooker
says, everyone does because Adam cursed
us all, she says, and Eve helped, and cursing’s
a sin, Miss Hooker says, if that’s the kind
of cursing she means, I’m just ten years old
to her 25 so that’s fifteen years
so she’s a lot older and smarter and
if my wife is smarter than I am I

don’t care and if she’s older ditto, that
just means that she’ll be wiser and if she’s
Miss Hooker herself then how can I fail
to get into Heaven on her dress-skirts,
so to speak? Otherwise down in Hell I’ll
tell everyone, Yes I was married
but she’s in Heaven,
and she’ll have to say
My husband’s not up here with me but down
in Hell,
which might make her sad to say so
I hope, and then Heaven will be more like
Hell or at least a little like earth
but I’m getting way ahead of myself,
I’m not old enough to get married or
even date or even be curious
about romance, it’s still pretty mushy
like tears and when you dry them at least if
you’re a grown-up then nine times out of ten
there’s a baby, that’s what I used to be

and Miss Hooker, too, just at different times
but still the same. It’s a damn miracle.

 

Gale Acuff has had poetry published in many journals and has authored three books of poetry. He had taught university English in the US, China, and Palestine.

Ira Joel Haber was born and lives in Brooklyn. He is a sculptor, painter, writer, book dealer, photographer and teacher. His work has been seen in numerous group shows both in the USA and Europe and he has had 9 one man shows including several retrospectives of his sculpture. His work is in the collections of The Whitney Museum Of American Art, New York University, The Guggenheim Museum, The Hirshhorn Museum,The Albright-Knox Art Gallery & The Allen Memorial Art Museum. Since 2006 His paintings, drawings, photographs and collages have been published in over 230 on line and print magazines. He has received three National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, two Creative Artists Public Service Grant (CAPS), two Pollock-Krasner grants, two Adolph Gottlieb Foundation grants and, in 2010, he received a grant from Artists’ Fellowship Inc. in 2017 & 2018 he received the Brooklyn Arts Council SU-CASA artist-in-residence grant.

 

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