“Squash is an excellent conveyer of butter,”
my friend said. The strangest things go in
and come out when he opens his head,
watching fat-spackled beef bricks and spit
hit the coals as barbecue sauce drips
from ribs and wings and fingers and patties
squeal on the stove, ketchup and mustard
will spray and with a scraper and a knife
we will scoop out the jiggling white pus
and glob it onto that conveyer of greasy bliss
that society calls dinner—arteries be damned,
smear a nice veneer of the salty plaster of Paris,
Texas. Besides, meat is mostly muscle mass
so when aliens either invade or bring back Elvis
then the gyms will be buffets, and the buffer
the beef the better the feast, so to hell with this—
let’s stick suckling pigs and pluck carcasses,
trim fat and pry apart ribcages and shred beef
and add sauce, that heavenly sauce, basting
in a base of sticky goo straight from the tube
that will lube it as it goes down because
a lawn chair and ice tea is where I was meant to be,
to kick back and watch the world burn,
because it’s a hundred damned degrees out here
and I propped up my feet to watch the pig turn,
soon to transport the boon of sauce into
my heart and soul, soul music, soul food,
play the blues and sooth queasy unease
within the corpse that propels that soul
through this world and the flaming lattice
barbecues that it seems strangely drawn to—
be calm, be still, because this salve of pus
will either bring back Elvis or satiate us.

Alex Pickens grew up in Virginia and recently graduated Magna Cum Laude at the age of 33. He did not think of himself as a poet until literary outlets began publishing his poems. This year his poems have been accepted by Pretty Owl Poetry, Crack the Spine, Jersey Devil Press, Inkwell Journall, and Litbreak. Author of award-winning screenplays and fiction, in his spare time he runs in the mountains, reads the Classics, and occasionally stares down an angry bear.

Image credit: Vincent Keimen on Unsplash

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