CURSING IN THE BIBLE BELT
Here, people curse in acronyms,
abbreviate so their god
won’t misunderstand. They prefer
the surgical strike of “F-bomb”
to the fucking war of their emotions
on the ground, lay “g.d.”
crisp as a doily over the goddamn truth.
They’ll mutter “Hades” because
they still believe in Hell,
train themselves to invoke
the Buddha, Allah, Krishna
when stubbing a toe or stuck in traffic,
words they know will never hurt
like Jehovah’s sticks and stones.
I wonder, though, if behind some barn
or woodshed of the mind
they’re not hollering about
the strangeness of this world
or their doubts about the next—
“Jesus Fucking Christ!”
“Goddamn it all to Hell!”—
testing the water of invective,
tasting it like wine.
James Scruton has published four collections of poetry and received various awards , including the Frederick Bock Prize from Poetry as well as chapbook prizes from Finishing Line Press and Grayson Books. He has work in recent or forthcoming issues of Poetry East, Poet Lore, and Common Ground Review.