Selected Poems‎ > ‎

Capitalism South Carolina

A lawn sign across from the two story T. rex
and plastic Diplodocus at Jurassic Golf
on Highway 17, reads, Jesus lives here.
Jesus lives across from a miniture golf course.

It is the year of the Golden Pig,
the alignment of the loyal and naïve swine
with gold, making the Chinese anxious
to create polite and fortunate babies.

Ten turkey vultures covet the garbage bin
at Hog Heaven Barbecue.
A brochure on my lap says that in the 17th century this land was granted
by King George to any man who would grow a product England could use.

Now a yellow Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon airplane
totters upon a styrofoam mountain next to a cascading
falls at May Day Golf as though crashing in South Carolina

with a set of golf clubs would be paradise.
Submerged killer whales, 40 foot volcanoes, dragons,
viking ships, smoking turrets, creepy, kitchie aliens,

and in Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam
God looks an awful lot like Elvis in a teke hat.
We tour a plantation. I’m embarassed to be there.

Among its production, cotton, pecans and bricks.
One plantation, 9000 bricks a day.
We were once slaves, we say every Passover

and now we are free. My father says, responsibility.
He says, never forget. He says, today we lean
in our seats because we can.

In Charleston, descendents of slaves
sell sweetgrass baskets along Market Street.
In the harbor, Fort Sumter floats like a lump of styrofoam.


Joy Gaines-Friedler

The Marjorie J. Wilson Award

for Excellence in Poetry, 2008