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issue 3


2 poems by
Louie Crew
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Alone in a Hot Diocesan Office

The bishop sniffles, readjusts,
and sucks a Vicks.
"Do you love me? Feed my sheep."

A drop of sweat hovers above,
then implodes
at a raw episcopal hemorrhoid
wrapped in boxer shorts.

"And preach the Good News to every creature."

His left eye ticks and he doodles
the names of every priest and bishop
he has ever suspected of being one.

"Judge not that you be not judged."
"But why can't they just cover their nakedness
as everybody else does?" he wonders.

"Do you love me? Feed my sheep."

The fan blows heavy gardenia
from the open window.
The carillon sounds a tinny quarter.

"And preach the Good News to every creature."

"There'll be no funds from anyone
if we let gays as gays be active here."
Tons of steel and carved stone
seem to settle momentarily more secure
as a fortress to protect
God Almighty's reputation.

"Judge not that you be not judged."

Mary Magdalen arrives in a silver Mercedes
wearing a blue wiglet ant My Sin.
She drives His Worship to a party
where a green olive in a fine vermouth
nurses his cold safely back to a hetero world.

"Do you love me? Feed my sheep."

Confederate Celebrations

On the green lawn a crowd, a mob, a herd, a group,
Southerners, just some boys and girls with a smattering
of grownups (some not so grownup) gather to say
Vietnam's wrong, Kent State's wrong, Jackson State's wrong,
my Dad's wrong, my preacher's wrong, life's wrong,
the law's a whore, free our women, I'm hungry,
I want to sing, things gotta change, things gotta grow;
touch your liver, squeeze my toe.


A mound of red plastic flickers, nudges past.
Them's the ones. I told ya we'd be at it extra days.
Like George says, it's just the few what wants horse
sense who causes all the trouble. Christ! When I
was in school, Communism was jist a word,
but now they come in droves right her in Alabama.
Look at that long-haired little bitch carryin her banner!
Ha! I know what kinda freedom she wants!
There's a time I'da done it for her too.
Freedom's what we got, the bread on my plate,
niggers with they own place. Freedom's my promotion,
my shiny buttons and clean uniform. Lord, look!
Is it a him or a her? I better get a haircut.
And it a-touching that, that pole of smudged flesh.
Drive round the Quad agin, cause chief said to clear it.
This here's explosive. The govner's sceered he won't
look tough enough to beat George. Move in. That guy
there, he's the main one. He laughs, but I know
the smirk he has for me.

Lawd, Mary, I take it like a man, but it's hard to be
a campus cop. Kids say all kind crap about you.
Squeeze agin, real good like. I'm glad the city force
relieved us, but more overtime would help to fix us up.


A crowd gathers in a churchyard on Eighth Street
because two blocks away on campus it's illegal to assemble.
A dozen or more professors huddle, not really certain
what's going on, where this's going. Something of a panty
raid in it. The ACLU lawyer, an old schoolboy anxious
to play games with college presidents, announces he's here
to remind, only to remind, I don't speak of violence, no,
just to remind that young whippersnapper of a president
that sits in the slave-built house over yonder that he's
gotta think twice before he starts to tamper with rights
of some might fine chillun of Alabama!
Several hundred mighty find chillun move quietly
through the sweaty May heat, with just the promise of chill,
past a cemetery with no famous dead, past riots of azaleas
stifled by darkness, toward the schoolhouse door,
wondering about the talk of no exams, and won't
it hurt my grade more if they're canceled and how
did we get into all this? Why, my roommate,
an outspoken Republican, even he was arrested, just
for trying to walk to the dorm from his car. Weird, man.


German canceled, to allow us to talk about the campus
situation, as President Mathews has requested.
Now what's your view, Miss. Belle? Miss. Belle says
It's silly, like a movie she'd seen in Chocolocco,
in which people smoked pot and had orgies, done
unchristian things, not like the parties at my sorority.
The riots just let poor white trash interfere.
they may even upset the exam schedules. I'd rather
get back to German Culture, which is more sophisticated.
What were they doing at Auschwitz? What's German for magnolia?

And Mr. Roberts, what's the hippie view?
Peter Roberts, doubting that his experiments measure
high in international hippiedom, replies, Sir,
It's all to try to get us closer together, I guess.
you and me, not roles shouting, `I teacher, you student,
meet only so close! Two poised fingertips about to touch.'
Yet they've brought in more cops than to the Selma march,
this time not to see that we make it safe, but that
we don't make it at all.

Black student listens, wondering whether Whitey
is really changin, whether only a little better
than a decade after Autherine Lucy this is just
Little Spoiled Peckerwood using luv for Black
as a whip for getting back at Daddy. Black student
then wonders what's in it for himself, staring out of Morgan Hall,
hoping this class will be over soon.


Outside a girl rides her bicycle home wondering why
her husband could want to be arrested, and crowds
of troopers weave around her 112 pounds of intellect
packaged by Cleopatra, but not by Jean d'Arc.

Harboring secret affection for the barbarians,
a man on the corner bites his cigar and wonders
how his department head took his clever allusion
to the student-faculty coalition as "marauding Goths."
Reading drugstore magazines in Indian incense with
the buzzy radio one boy dreams of Rosalind,
Playgirl of the Month, and looks forward to skiing
on Lake Martin. Revolution, yeah. We're changing Alabama.


Stoned in the Quad. Woods Hall has mud splotches
as if yankee horsemen have just galloped off.
Half past eight. Dark. Even cold tonight. I,
a junior from Dadeville, tackle Voltaire, try
to beat the sucker on his own logic. Cheap grass.
The heat's on for the Narcs while the political
fat fries. I want to swim in this moonlight,
ladle it down my back with large gray spoons.
Going to a place of freedom, a place sunny every day,
a place with nothing in the way, a place, a place
in space. God, Mama, I love you. Daddy, I'm no
prodigal. I'll stay. I've always stayed at home.


President Mathews kisses his children goodnight.
David is kissing his children goodnight in a room
where a Federal sentry once slept, just inside from
where a State Trooper now sleeps. David is only
slightly afraid, little fears that buzz like tires
down rainy streets. David is kissing his children
and deciding it best to call head cop Colonel Leigh.
I, an historian, have no more need to consult the faculty
than had Charles the First to call Parliament.
The Puritans aren't coming.


Summer came dragging a woolen shawl of fire to smoke out
everything, waking geriatric judges in the night.
Highways were built. Mayors were elected.
Some book clubs started using incense. slums were
torn down and rebuilt. Fly-fishing recruited 2304
novitiates in the decade. Some started to read
The New York Times that spring. Some went away
to teach in Georgia, or even Iowa.
It seems so long ago, like way down behind that
dazzling crabapple tree. I joined the Alumni
Association, just to represent the rebellious sort.
Last year I enjoyed my forty-fifth Homecoming.
Games aren't what they were when Bear was there.
No, he didn't get involved in the Revolution, was off
doing real things. The times haven't changed.
I keep hearing children in my dreams saying,
Touch your liver, squeeze my toe,
Things gotta change, things gotta grow.

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