The Sacrament of Abraham

The Sacrament of Abraham
By A.Z. Foreman
Click to hear me recite this poem aloud

Bartender! Whiskey straight and whiskey sour!
Sour for the dead fag. Straight to drown the hour.
And tell me: isn't it the truth that love
Before the murder had gone far enough?

I've said it was the Lord's work, as I am
A man. Sure as my name is Abraham,
That was inferno he lit in other men.
It wasn't murder, but a true Amen.

Truth is: Jane saved me when she testified
How I bought an axe to chop those trees outside.
The truth though is what I am setting free:
What I chopped with that axe...it wasn't a tree.

Here's truth: I bought that axe to keep life whole,
To save my name, my marriage and my soul
The Monday after I baptized your Christine...
What I did to him...for what we'd done and been.

Truth: God and mighty Gold help judges make
Choices, and wash their hands for Caesar's sake.
Our Christ upon the lynch-cross died for all,
Both for Leviticus, and for St. Paul.

We gouged Dame Justice blind on the witness stand.
Our lawyer poofed up proofs by sleight of hand.
To prove I loved my Jane, it fell to me
To axe the faggot's body like a tree....

Bartender! Whiskey sour and whiskey straight!
Straight for the dead fag. Sour to mark the date.
God damn! Can any hour be drowned enough
When I have kissed and killed the man I love?

1 comment:

  1. Foreman, I've been reading your Poems Found in Translation and The bLogicarian for some months now, and usually I don't comment on things I read, but I had to leave you some feedback on this poem.

    I love how you invert the whiskey straight and whiskey sour by poem's end. Your use of "fag" at first seemed rough, but as the poem developed the tree-and-axe imagery and as the narrator's guilt and disgust developed, I found it to be a brilliant choice.

    You've also got a nice chiasm going with your two refrains, Bartender! and Truth--the whole truth being in the fourth stanza, emphasized my both its centrality and its slight difference in phrasing.

    And your rhymes flow smoothly without any of the awkward constructions that sometimes show up when a writer chooses to write rhyming poetry.

    All in all, I read here a narrative of novel scope powerfully (and comprehensively) conveyed as a poem, which gives it a lot more punch. The lexicon, the imagery, the structure--they work together well to convey a strong story with all its strong emotions.

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