Hillbilly Guilt

Hillbilly Guilt

by Roy Bentley
Hillbilly Guilt

Hillbilly Guilt

by Roy Bentley


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Hillbilly Guilt is populated with those whose lives aren't deemed important:

the poor and working poor of Appalachia, who live what it is to be American.

This is a book that seeks to show that we are the sum of our mistakes. Not just

the little goofs, either; but the huge, world-shattering blunders that go to the core

of what it is to be human. The title poem "Hillbilly Guilt"-the frontispiece and

forward to the book as a whole-asserts moments of resilience if not Triumph,

the chance to heal if not a deliverance from the possibility of further injury:

I waved someone down who took us to a hospital.

I recall he broke his nose. That it bled and bled

and that he wanted me to believe what he said

happened, had happened that way. He seemed

to want not to feel what he felt at having risked

our lives for nothing. Oh, and I have to tell you:

the Chevy-to-a-hospital that stopped had a Virgin

Mary on its curving, blue dashboard and that plastic

figure said what it said about having a little faith.

These poems exist in a kind of Twilight Zone of expectation and hope and knowing that country by a whole bunch of names. As a survivor of the Great American Beating We Give Ourselves for Falling Short, the writer invites us to live, innocent and less so-as in the poem "Lazarus, Later":

Don't get me wrong. I was in a hurry to flee the tomb.

Quick to step from one imperium of flesh into another.

However, I paused a short while to let my eyes adjust.

Not to be honored or genuflect but to let it all sink in.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780999491560
Publisher: Hidden River
Publication date: 05/24/2021
Pages: 98
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.23(d)

About the Author

Roy Glenn Bentley is an Appalachian-American poet and university creative writing professor. The lives of the poor in America are the primary focus of his work. He has been published in poetry journals as well as in four books of poetry and ten chapbooks. He currently resides in Pataskala, Ohio, in the USA. Roy Bentley's poems have appeared in Blackbird, Shenandoah, Rattle, The Southern Review, and Prairie Schooner--as well as many other notable journals and magazines. He is the recipient of a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and fellowships from the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs and the Ohio Arts Council. Hillbilly Guilt is the winner of the Willow Run Poetry Book Award.

Table of Contents


Hillbilly Guilt 13


Bastard 17

Every Hungry Woman 18

It Takes Exactly One Lifetime to Adjust to the Darkness 19

Man Walks into Penny Arcade, Never Walks Out 20

Mercy 21

A Place from Which No One Has Ever Come Back 22

Under Stars 23

Lazarus, Later 24

Necessary Violence 25

And They Rise, or Try To 26

Parenting 27

Aubade 28

Poem for Harry Graubarth, M.D. 29

There Seemed to Be No Safer Direction to Be Heading

Than Home 30

Back in Baby's Arms 31

The Burden of His Gravity Lifted 32

Why James Dean Loved Bullfighting 33

Sugar Ray Robinson Leaning Against His 1950 Pink Cadillac 35

Black Cat Auditions in Hollywood, 1961 36


Fishing the Ottawa 39

Creature from the Black Lagoon 40

Hitler and Goering Break Out the Gene Autry Records 42

The Light of the Heart 43

There Is a Case for Interplanetary Saucers 44

Blood on the Chrysanthemums 45

Badly Burned Archer Praises Fire 46

Sleight of Hand Master Ricky Jay & Cornell Professor

Carl Sagan Discuss the Trajectory of Cards on Mars 47

More to the Point, a Lake of Fire 48

Slavers Throwing Overboard the Dead and Dying,

Typhoon Coming On 49

Butch and Sundance Visit Brooklyn, 1901 50

A Day in the Life 51

The Afterlife of Crash Test Dummies 52

A Good Kind of Leaving 53


Superman & Harry Houdini 57

Photograph of Harry Houdini, 1899 58

In the Living Room, He Demonstrates How 120,000 Volts

Protect Him 59

Very Few Roadways 60

Jehovah's Witnesses Descend on South Bloomfield, Ohio 61

After the Second Hardest Thing I Have Had to Do 62

Taos, Lightning 63

Homeless Man Reports a Dead Body by Carrying a Skull

into a Florida Publix 64

After the Gauguins 65

The December Night W.A. Mozart Died 66

A Fisherman Casts His Net at Sunset 67

Motel America 68

Rock Springs 69

The Sexiness of Older People 70

7 Minutes 71


The Fighting Lady 75

Reckless and Weed-Wild 76

Home Movies 77

Angel Wrangling 78

1964 79

Red Bridle 80

Jerusalem Road 81

Once 82

The Schwinn American 83

A Box of Stars 84

Why I Wore Paladin Six-Guns to Bed After the

Assassination of John Kennedy 85

Below the Roosevelt Bridge 86

The Heaven of Dragonflies and Damselflies 87

FaceTime 88

Moving for Work 89

The Bright and Hungry Future of Hawks 91

Wonder Wheel 92

The Death of the Box Turtle 93

Palimpsest 95

Roy's Prostate Discusses This Dark Hour 96

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