September 28, 2019

Posing the Tough Questions — Poetry by Casey Aimer

Posing the Tough Questions — Poetry by Casey Aimer

Lawrence Sullivan Ross

In Aggieland where the Kool-Aid is laced with bled maroon
were they conscious of the irony in 1918, preserving 
their Confederate General hero in bronze skin?

Today, Sully, I mapped out your statue 
like you mapped out the West, my legs dangling, 
sitting on your copper head and Van Dyke beard.

All so I could say this:

When the immigrant sculptor, Pompeo Coppini,
was re-forging your sole into existence I bet 
you struggled and resisted your creator.
When your fingers were being hammered 
into submission you clutched in desperation 
didn’t you
at the white work floor lights before 
being carted away in a colored wheel barrel.
At your dedication you protested the brown 
and black pebbles underneath your podium.
They reminded you too much of the people 
screaming freedom amid Reconstruction where
the only thing you diversified was your wealth.

Now installed on Texas A&M campus
you inspect it with an endless reveille 
and your face looks so dissatisfied:
like a Christian virgin on her wedding night.

Over decades students were told
placing pennies at the statue boots
of another white landowner
brought good luck on exams.

Today I found Confederate flags hung
over your shoulders during a protest.
I saw white students lob their bodies 
under your pedestal protecting you.
I saw black students throw their bodies 
on top of your face to destroy you.

But how do we kill the ideals of your 
uncivil uniform after you’ve taken it off?
After your racist beliefs were hidden away,
calculated into the promises of state politics.

You in your old age fit yourself 
for the rags of Community Samaritan.
But does it mean anything if you 
flooded our ant hills with blood?

Sully, you were the son of an Iowa Indian fighter!
You were only eleven battling your first one. 

I wish the blood had stuck with you.

I wish it had dried in your nostrils so every
time you massacred a Comanche village 
you’d sneeze and the blood wouldn’t be yours.
I wish it had ground under your fingernails
and implanted itself in your nail bed
so that every time you grew
you saw more of them in you.

Your hatred and history is
bleached and obscured,
protected by presidents
who hotfixed our history.

Rumors still churn at A&M your Klan robes 
lie buried somewhere underneath campus. 
College Station became your timeless tabernacle
by its own name the very definition of transient.

Nothing stays long in that town.

Except the bigotry you represent.

So I hope you listened well, Sully,
because it was your last chance.

It’s after midnight and I’m standing 
in front of you without a mask, 
wanting the world to witness 
me meeting your statue’s glare 
with hammers in my bag and throat.


Antique Existence

We humans love reused things, reminding 
ourselves that we are all reworked 
matter and come pre-scuffed.

We prefer homeless objects in antique stores 
to dispossessed people on the boulevards
because things ask nothing of us.

Holding jadeite table wear and repurposed crowbar
lets us believe that there is hope to be 
useful, appreciated, meaningful.

With each outcast object I invent a new backstory
into my worldview because I am obsessed 
with what something was before it was.

But not everything has a satisfying story to tell
or wants to be in one. They just are.
Existing and then not.

* * *

Casey Aimer

Casey Aimer holds a bachelor’s in creative writing from Texas A&M and is currently an MFA candidate in poetry at Texas State University. For over a decade he has performed across the country for both competitive spoken word and page poetry. He continues advocating for radical thoughts and honest questions expressed in unconventional styles. This is his first feature on the Fictional Café.

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