May 4, 2016

Three Poems By Dr. Emory Jones: "The Patriot", "Bones Die Hard", "Magic Medicine Show"

Dr. Emory D. Jones is an English teacher who has taught in Cherokee Vocational High School in Cherokee, Alabama, for one year, Northeast Alabama State Junior College for four years, Snead State Junior College in Alabama for two years, and Northeast Mississippi Community College for thirty-five years.  He joined the Mississippi Poetry Society, Inc. in 1981 and has served as President of this society. He has over two hundred and thirty-five publishing credits including
publication in such journals as Voices International, The White Rock Review, Free Xpressions Magazine, The Storyteller, Pasques Petals, The Pink Chameleon, and Encore: Journal of the NFSPS.  He is retired and lives in Iuka, Mississippi, with his wife, Glenda.  He has two daughters and four grandchildren.


Clayton Beauchamp turned seventy today,
But still wears beret,
And cammies,
With tropical lightning patch,
On special occasions—
Like Veterans Day
And Memorial Day
When tears come easy now
Even when the high school band
Plays the National Anthem
At football games
With his right hand
Over his heart
And Old Glory swimming
In his eyes.
Half a life ago,
He took names
In the Nam
Amid splash of AK rounds
And RPG blossoms.
He still takes names—
From polished black stone.
Clayton Beauchamp turned seventy today,
But he still remembers.

                                   They killed them in the shower rooms,
Gassed them with Zyklon-B
Through a grate in the ceiling
                                   At Auschwitz, Buchenwald, Treblinka—
                                   When they opened the metal doors,
                                   They found them in a naked pyramid.
                                   Sonderkommando pulled them out,
Piled them up, and put them in ovens—
The crematoriums smoked night and day
With clouds of souls escaping toward heaven
Leaving their bones,
Skulls in the ashes.
The ash still floats down like ghosts,
Settles on our shoulders
As we remember
Bones die hard.


I. Snake Oil
A sandwich- man parades Main Street, drums crowd.
Snake oil smacks sideshow—bottled Quetzalcoatl, Feathered Freak, Serpent Savior.
All beg elixir without hesitation, wanting show—
Unscaled eyes rhythmic sway, bird-trance, caught; one body, one mind, one soul.
“Snake oil, good for what ails you.”
II. Water Witch
Water welled from below then—prenatal mist bathed all in benediction.
Water broke, Great Ganga’s birth coiled upward.
Earth gave for her progeny—
Indus Euphrates, Volga, Danube, Thames, Nile, Congo, Amazon, Mississippi.
Plants press hungry mouths against Great Mother’s breast, sucking sustenance.
“And so it is that I, with green willow wand, search source.”
III. Rain Maker
“The first time, forty days and forty nights—a rain maker’s dream.
Since then, we’ve tried to match the Master.
Puddle makers—not one gully washer among us.
IV. Conjure Woman
Look into the fire, chile.
See ole Sidewinder Sam, the snake oil man?
He speak so smooth you’d think he had cotton in his mouth.
Are those diamonds on his velvet back?
Green wood don’t burn so good—
Too full of Mother’s milk to give off vision.”
           V. Faith Healer
Tattered tent, sagging, burdened by moonbeams.
“Snake-eyes, brother? Crapped out? Caught?
Put your hand in the box.  Pandora had no finer.
Mind now, don’t tremble so;
They picks up vibrations—stirs them up.
Faith, brother faith!
What do you mean do I cure bruised heels?
VI. Snake Oil
Antediluvian sloughs are the best source.
Bathed in reptilian ooze, they coil in brazen loops up Moses staff.
Bruised head subdues them.
Fangs over rim, venom flows pure as sap from slashed milk weed—
“Snake oil, good for what ails you.”

~Dr. Emory Jones

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