Cajun Mutt Press Featured Writer 08/26/22

Grave Gumbo

A de-gloved human being
Looks more like a peeled avocado
Liquified and putrefied

It’s hard sometimes
To hold mine in
While yours are pouring out

Thick chewy chunks of your
Innards and gizzards
Brains and liver

Your hemoglobin marinara
Will never leave my nostrils
Or memory

I just hope you smelled better
Three years ago
When you were alive

So I don’t know why it’s now
Your family wants you out…
I just wish I didn’t forget my gloves

A Father’s Tears

I’m a gravedigger,
handling the dead is my job.
Rich, poor, young, old,
the same dirt will cover them all.
Christian, Muslim, gay, straight,
the gravediggers will see it all.

I’m a gravedigger,
burying loved ones is my job, but
it will get to you like it got to me
on a chilly Monday morning
burying a 3-month old baby for
a Muslim family.

We don’t have equipment to
lower a 2ft casket
so I jump down the
inevitable hole, the grave,
this little dead baby’s new home.

By request, the grieving father lowered
his broken future, handing him to me,
it was the heaviest thing I ever held
as his father’s tears fell.

Fell in the grave,
fell on the 2ft box,
fell on my gloves.

Pointing him towards Mecca
and crawling out of the grave,
I walked back to my gray truck
never showing them the tears in my eyes.

For I’m a gravedigger,
your closure is my job.

Grandpa’s Crawlspace

From the burnt spot
on the kitchen floor where
a frying pan exploded
and hot grease scalded
my grandmother’s feet

Past the breezeway where the velvet crush painting
of the elderly woman from Spain hung and the old, unread books lay to rot

Towards the basement floor adjacent to the steps—
my grandfather’s crawlspace

A dirt crawlspace
where the darkness
seemed to go on forever,
especially then,
when I was 7 or 8

It was perfect to play
G.I. Joes,
ThunderCats,
Transformers,
the 80’s greats

I tell you this
so you can understand
what was seen
in the crawlspace
when I was 15

Around that time in ‘95
snooping around
I realized there was
porn everywhere
on the property

So, alone in the house
my overstimulated adolescent ass searched the crawlspace for
a possible Playboy
High Society, or,
if I was lucky,
a Cheri magazine

But I saw none of that,
instead I found a black VHS tape with a scratched off title

Running back
to the living room,
pants already down
to the ankles
before I pressed play
on the grey VCR,
gripping myself
like I was next to bat
at the big game

But instead of
what I was expecting,
I saw two men
in a very loving
yet aggressive embrace

Sprung off the couch
and leaping towards
the off button
I had literally never seen
anything like that before

I’ve never had a problem with anyone’s sexual preference,
we all have different paths
we walk and that’s what
makes us amazing
but I just wasn’t
expecting that

And for a long time
I refused to believe
that my grandfather
bought that tape,
like maybe he accidentally
bought gay porn

The reality set in years later around the same time
my mother told me
after my father died
that he was molested
by my grandfather

My grandfather didn’t hide
in the closet, he hid in a crawlspace

The same place
where I played
when I was 7 or 8

©2022 Jon Poppe All rights reserved.

Jon Poppe

Jon Poppe is a New Jersey native and dyslexic poet whose subject matter and sense of humor are not for everyone. Drawing from his years working in a cemetery, he has a less romanticized perception of death. If you like vulgarity, 80s/90s nostalgia, and an aggressive hatred towards social norms, Jon Poppe’s work might give you a chuckle.

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