Two Poems

by Samuel J. Fox Issue: Spring/Summer 2019

A Treaty on Civil Disobedience

I trespass in heaven most days between dreaming of joy
and never tasting it. I imagine it tastes like a pomegranate, in fact
the first pomegranate. A mouth is the flaming gate of Eden
and the angel guarding it is language. We care too much about aesthetics.
I keep thinking how earth is just like hell but without the obvious
smell of sulphur. We devils in our meticulous habits of arrangement.
We devils charming each other and then shattering each other’s hearts,
sometimes with consent, like alabaster jars. What issues forth is
the smell of what God intended, but without God there to name it.
Do you know the feeling you get when you take a hammer and smash
marble into hand-sized boulders? I call it vindication. You put a wall
across a border that may or may not exist (both parties must agree)
and you separate what makes us human from what makes us good.
Take a hammer and put it in a person’s hand and they become a carpenter.
Take a brick and slather some mortar and get a crew together
and you still have to pay them something more than wage. It’s easier
these days to build bridges than it is to take a hammer to them.
We devils and our tumultuous burning—another phrase for ache—to take
what is not ours to have. Satan never meant deceiver. It’s actually
adversary. I am an advocate for adversarial accountability. Build a wall,
build a prison, build a panopticon even: whenever there is a watchman
who can see everyone, everyone can also see the watchman. I once
wondered if the true evil in the world was, indeed, mankind. This,
like any truth, is only partially true. There was an underlying thread
that made every man evil and it was what they were willing to do
to be correct. Give a man a vision and he becomes a prophet. Let him
be false. Put God’s name in that man’s throat and he becomes a savior.
Let him be. Do things in that name of God that is really for the sake
of a man. What do we always do? We stone him, or crucify, but overall
violence becomes somehow necessary. I trespass on heaven
just like this country trespasses on my rights. Everyone thinks they’re
the good guy until they aren’t. Even Jesus threw hands in the temple.
Even Moses killed his own people. I wanted this to be an argument
but, like Ecclesiastes is misquoted, there’s nothing new under this sun.
How long will history repeat itself before we realize that, in the garden
of Eden, we would have repeated ourselves daily until God got bored?
Maybe it’s time we disobey.



American (an insertion/erasure)

Americans meet in historic millions watching/hoping [he] will lay out this evening its promises to secure and plant the face of the moon [in a garden only [he] has keys to].

The politics of revenge, resistance and retribution can break/can bridge [my] promises to he[e]1 the future: pointless destruction.

We are just getting started. Growing blue, nearly millions[s] lift the world close to [breath, while I] com[bat] access to cure.

A miracle is the only thing that can stop [the] fe[e]t [running toward] justice. Believe in redemption; the next Bible to be released will be [my] ruthless business.

Tolerance [of me] is actually very cruel. [For I alone am] made in the holy image of [a crooked] God.



[1] words not bracketed were lifted from the first half of the 2019 State of the Union address to Congress

Samuel J. Fox

Samuel J. Fox is a queer/non-binary writer of essays and poetry working out of the Southern U.S. He is a poetry editor for Bending Genres, creative nonfiction reader for Homology Lit, and a frequent reviewer/columnist at Five2One Magazine. He appears in numerous online and print journals; he also frequents graveyards, dilapidated places, and coffee-shops depending. He tweets (@samueljfox).