Jerry Buckley


Straight Paths - Poem by Jerry Buckley

'I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness;
make straight paths for the Lord.'


... And we followed in those paths, dutifully
down shag carpet stairways, into Oldsmobile station wagons.
Eight miles into town to attend Sunday school at 9: 00
and worship service at 10: 15 - and Good Lord - afterwards,
allowing fifteen minutes for heart-felt fellowship;
home again giggitty-gig to fried chicken Sunday dinners.
To Momma's home-made biscuits and mashed potatoes with milk gravy,
the very Elmer's glue of the patriarchs I'm sure.

And we followed those paths - wide open sideways in Chevy coups,
noisily cavorting across murky river bottoms and county lines
to score some weed, or look up some chicks one of us claimed to know;
gulping a bottle of three dollar fruit-puke wine on Sunday afternoon,
barrel-assin' home before dark, in time for Sunday evening services.
Playing freeze-out through town so our Dads shouldn't smell smoke.
No casual Christians we! Besides we all had such nice voices,
the Von Trapp Family singers meets Fanny J Crosby*

And we treaded those paths, back and forth from work to school,
in fuel sipping Datsun tin cans, and home to crash and back to work.
Until one day we were stopped dead in our tracks by some odd girl,
sliding into home base, where new paths are sought and tread
and escape routes surely become a thing of the wistful past.
Returns home - monogamous - with nearly monotonous regularity;
my truck could drive it blind-folded if she had the road to herself;
drags up steps to a greet a loving dog, to go outside to toss a ball.

And so we traced those paths, to jobs and sometimes to promotions,
or skittered down indistinct pathways ending in yet another cul de sac
Dutifully in Nissan sedans, to baseball games and Boy Scout meetings,
soccer practices, tournaments, Sunday schools and birthday parties;
step meetings and marriage counsel appointments, and weekend retreats.
Then follows another's Benz back home to sit in rooms large as caverns
where familiarity and loathing stage a yin-yang dance one with another
Maintains those paths - at least for now - for the sake of vows taken.

'Voice of One' @ Jerry Buckley


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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Poem Edited: Wednesday, August 29, 2012


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