Seth Copeland edits petrichor, and teaches in the Oklahoma City metro (USA).
His poems have appeared in Mud Season Review, Yes Poetry, Kestrel, Crab Fat,
and The Birds We Piled Loosely, among others.
Prayer to Woody Guthrie
I lift my prayer to you Woody the kind of god one might ascribe to today The Fundies are sure that this world's gods are iPods reality tv or some Power Rangers rock 'n' roll kool aid shit because the church is a tad behind on pop hero intel But yet as the preacher man said God is never a comfort or a luxury but a sharp pain conceit begrudging acceptance that before we placed a single baby foot on the next rung some mommy/daddy imperative pushed us up You are a good god tho real god human god no Dianetic space opera of coal mining angels no frosty Gnostics in your corner just a woolshirt someone familiar colloquial So many of us are you so many ignorant of our godhead It is 28 degrees tonight this morning it was 45 The man w/ the locker-room mouth loudly slapping the imperial drum Three hours ago someone stabbed someone at a Cowboys game someone who lost track of their godhead someone who watched every other tool be taken from their hands till only blood was meal Blessed Woody we are antsy strays in the kennel Afterimage off Okemah your dirt human daddy's fingers greasing their faces look Three seconds ago a high powered hose dissolved people to parchment treaty torn splotch pulp you can see them gumming Standing Rock where silence has returned Woody here is a prayer for protection against silence God Woody don't forsake the hot steaming plead of your children Will you take them as your children your family Will you prepare them a table while their enemies watch in Resistols jerking away at assault rifles Will you personify grace and providence O shaggytop spirit whistling Dixie & Dakota in the same key Will you run crude through the Missouri River Will you be baptized My lanky Adonai my divine badger in mourning garb of dusty overalls and sweating shirt work smell my father's smell ten thousand every fathers What times are these that steel hatcheries trump clean water trump clean air trump clean politics no I'm not here to talk about him even if he hangs over this psalm piano drop gag Woody when I get to your heaven promise me it was a bad reality show marathon even the part about Prince Bowie & Leon And will you make it true I know all about poor Lee Brown singing about breaking his chains okay okay but I need you not him I need more than Christ Muhammad Kanye Bezos a real boygod sharing our mud what furs the soul wears its truth and septic bleeds its thunder & light Give us real answers spokes of Dharma Pater Noster witcrack Remind me when Flintstones weren't in drinking water remind me that Wilma & Fred were the first couple shown sleeping in the same bed Make me O Lord thy Spining Wheele compleate Tell me once and for all who killed Kennedy then tell me his favorite color Let me see the cave in bin Laden's head for myself Show me Edward Snowden scanning his bedroom for whatever's out there whatever will finally get him Let me change Max Ritvo back from poetry to flesh Tell me what it means that the Liberty Bells on Franklins are all holograms Tell me why the fuck I grew up on someone else's land Tell me why the fuck we couldn't even put the rebbe in that goddamned house Tell me Woody if all the news is fake can I finally shoot the messenger Woody dash no infants against the rocks kick no feet against the pricks we've done it all before This sackcloth outrage this ashen pleading has pounded our hands to meat pulp from the pulpit plucking your sixstring razors Woody let no children wander and beg seeking food out of ruins Woody let no one put on shame let confusion cloak no soul Woody pull the machines off the willows pass them around like electric manna shout out the key in your godvoice made no already perfect roll the roaring bones of Tulsa Birmingham Ferguson Wall Street Wounded Knee Wounded Knee Charleston Munich Aleppo Ypres Gettysburg Bagdad Auschwitz Hiroshima Ilium Paris & Jerusalem if we forget you if I forget you if my our hand(s) forget how to play—
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