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Poetry by Eleanor Ball

New Year Same Shit.

1

Even God said,
Give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.
But Caesar and God both have
a sketchy concept of ownership.
What is more Caesar-like than
slaughtering your flock behind your back?
What is more God-like than
smiting your firstborn
because of what Caesar did?
I’m just trying to buy some bread.
Can I get a PB&J up in here,
or does Caesar want a bite out of that too?
All good patriots fund Caesar’s habit,
no matter what it is.

2

Give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.
He is an accomplished general.
He will lead us home.
Do not worry about the fact
that we are stuck in Purgatory,
and Hell is still heating my back.
I am waiting for the prayers
of the faithful to release us
into Paradise. There is bell ringing
for Caesar. Every penny counts
for Caesar. There are Caesars starving
in Africa. No promises,
but if you donate to Caesar,
he might finally learn how to read a map.

3

My phone rings.
It’s a recording of Caesar’s deputy.
Caesar’s deputy is proud to endorse a demon
for my local representative. This demon is very
committed to Caesar’s agenda. He is very committed
to all residents of Purgatory, Heaven, and Hell.
I ring Caesar’s deputy’s office.
Caesar’s deputy’s secretary’s
assistant’s assistant’s assistant answers,
and I ask why Caesar’s deputy is endorsing a demon.
I point out that the demon openly argues
for taking away human rights. I point out
that the demon is a demon.
Caesar’s deputy’s secretary’s
assistant’s assistant’s assistant
responds that most people like the demon.
The demon supports Caesar.
I say, We are trying to get away from demons.
That is the point of this whole thing.
Caesar’s deputy’s secretary’s
assistant’s assistant’s assistant
says it will be better for me in the long run
if I support the demon, since the demon
supports Caesar. That whole kerfuffle
with what the demon said (and did) about
“human” rights” was a little overblown,
don’t I think—seems like a lot of people
got worked up over nothing. If I don’t support the demon,
I don’t know what’s good for me.
And everyone else agrees with the demon, anyway,
which makes him the best.

4

I’m not a Caesar.
I’m barely a scribe.
I’m barely
not depressed.
I’m
barely.
I’m pulling
my nails out
in the parking lot of this grocery store.
I’m turning off the gas so I don’t bleed money
during my breakdown. $60 last time I
refilled my tank. No one has
that kind of money. (Except Caesar.)
There’s blood on the steering wheel. I’m worried
about how much I worry. I’m keeping it cute
so nobody calls me shrill. I’m keeping it shrill
because things aren’t cute. I’m paying
to be sent nowhere and given nothing.
I’m anxious when I have no right to be.
I’m anxious when I have every right to be.
I’m a discarded sliver of a fingernail. I’m
anxious. I’m no rights. I’m no cool. Unlike Chick-Fil-A,
I’m no person. I’m a nail sliding under your nail.
I’m the panic when your tongue sticks to ice.
Caesar can do nothing but everything.
Funny how when Caesar does everything,”
it turns to nothing.
I rip off another fingernail.
I blow it on the breeze to Heaven.
I can do nothing
but pray.

5

Dear God,
Don’t get your hopes up. I am only asking for this.

Dear God,
I should tell you
I’m an Old Testament kind of girl.
Let’s not share our plans with your son;
I think he’d be disappointed.

John the Evangelist,
Pray with me for Apocalypse.
With me, slaughter the Lamb
and drink its blood. Summon
the dark green sea, and fatten a wolf
to devour the sun.

John the Baptist and I
eat flies in the desert.
Seated on hot stones,
we watch the pigs boil
and pass the salt.

Eleanor Ball

Twitter: @aneleanorball

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