The HyperTexts

Marcus Bales

Not much is known about Marcus Bales except that he lives and works in Cleveland, Ohio, and that his work has not been published in Poetry or The New Yorker.  



The Modern Fundamentalist's Song

Fundamentalist:
I am the very model of a Christian fundamentalist
And by a strange coincidence a solid occidentalist.
I cherry-pick the Bible for the verses close or distantly
Amenable to straight white males, however inconsistently,
Unless those verses might apply a little inconveniently
In which case I interpret them a good deal more than leniently.
We want to do just what we please however strange or horrible
And still regard ourselves as wholly moral and adorable.
 
Congregation:
We want to do just what we please however strange or horrible
And still regard ourselves as wholly moral and adorable.
And still regard ourselves as wholly moral and adorable.
 
Fundamentalist:
I call myself a Christian but it's really Paulist cultery
Since Christ himself has said that my divorces were adultery.
But I from man to man enjoy convexness and concavity
And call whatever others do immoral and depravity.
 
Congregation:
But we from man to man enjoy convexness and concavity
And call whatever others do immoral and depravity.
 
Fundamentalist:
I do not want to hear about the quantum or molecular
Or how the Founding Fathers made our institutions secular
I say the nation's Christian under Biblical authorities
Rejecting what the Constitution says about majorities.
The workings of the government may worry and perplex you all
I say we're equal under God―unless you're homosexual―
Or black or brown or female or some kind of evolutionist
For all attempts at reasoning are really persecutionist.
 
Congregation:
Or black or brown or female or some kind of evolutionist
For all attempts at reasoning are really persecutionist.
 
Fundamentalist:
My freedom of religion trumps your Constitutionality
Because the Constitution says it does with firm legality.
I claim my rights from God or man, whichever's more commodious
For what I want to do however evil, vile, or odious.
 
Congregation:
I claim my rights from God or man, whichever's more commodious
For what I want to do however evil, vile, or odious.
 
Fundamentalist:
When I can issue licenses or not because I feel like it
The public's just my piggy and the public can just squeal like it.
I'll happily apply whichever law is most agreeable
To what I want to do since what I want is unforseeable:
The conscience of the person must control the way they view their job
And not demands that public servants ought to serve and do their job.
The Constitution's man-made law and God is not endorsing it;
The SCOTUS made their law, and now good luck to them enforcing it.
 
Congregation:
The Constitution's man-made law and God is not endorsing it;
The SCOTUS made their law, and now good luck to them enforcing it.
 
Fundamentalist:
There's nothing in my creed that advocates for love officially
Except some quotes that God and Jesus handed down judicially―
I don't see why I must obey the acts of which God sent a list
And yet I am the model of a Christian fundamentalist.
 
Congregation:
We don't see why we must obey the acts of which God sent a list
And yet we are the models of a Christian fundamentalist.

 

Meeting

"Are poets ever past their prime?"
   he asked me when we met
"In your case you've improved with time!"
   I lied without regret―
if flattery were made a crime
   I'd be in prison yet.

"You're lying, but I like your style,"
   he growled with squinted eyes
and lips half-curving in a smile
   behind the twisting rise
from hand-rolled smoke. "Sit a while,"
   he said, to my surprise.

"Have a drink." He nodded at
   the barman, whose precise
response had brought a low-ball, fat
   with one clear cube of ice,
as amber as the eye of a cat
   and shining like a vice.

I sat and nodded for the same.
   We clinked, and sipped, and bent
over the bar and played the game
   of silence as intent
long enough that it became
   a quiet non-event.

We sat not talking at that bar
   and listened through the night
while rating every jukebox star
   by head-shakes, strong to shite,
and thinking how we only are
   writers when we write.

And now I have a little more
   exact awareness of
which horse I've got my cart before,
   which pull was meant to shove,
and where I do not dig or soar
   in my pursuit of love.



Talk At Parties

I like a woman who can talk at parties,
A woman never silent as a nun;
I like that her attention can be won 
since other men will almost always shun
          all female thinking.
   And if she's often slightly stout
   well, so am I. And there's no doubt
   that she has more to talk about
          than sports and drinking.

I like a woman who can talk at parties.
Iíve found that itís invariably true
That women who will take a point of view
have also taken time to think it through
          past mere opinion, 
   and often have a zesty twist
   that you have obviously missed
   while you were trying to insist
          on male dominion.

I like a woman who can talk at parties
whoís looking for an audience like me,
who listens well and asks the questions she
is pleased to answer so that she can be
          deep yet amusing;
     Ďamusingí Ė thatís a pun, you see,
     since theyíre my muses, speaking free;
     I often grab a phrase or three,      
          picking and choosing.
         
I like a woman who can talk at parties
whoís not a poet, since the female muse
afflicts our female poets with the blues
and self esteem as low as socks and shoes―
          thatís unappealing.
     The woman who can talk in prose
     does not read poems, and never knows 
     itís not her heart but her bons mots 
               that Iíll be stealing. 

The HyperTexts