Definition: Character Clarice Starling has been subsumed by Jody Foster, who somewhere learned how southern and mountain differ. Any East Tennessee drama teacher knows a fool can fake the mountain drawl by locking down her lower jaw. That doesn't fix Scarlett O'Hara, bias of any sort, chronic unemployment, or the skin and teeth of inherited poverty, but verisimilitude is an inch in the right direction. You see: I was taught you could beat the past with increments. Now, though, I'm old. My spotted skin and all my flaws sashay across the stage sporting one-piece swimsuits, spike heels, and satin labels: Miz Bigot, Miz Hypocrite, Old Miz You Can't Get There From Here 1947. Still I sigh at new SUVs bearing heirloom Confederate flags and flaking Trump decals, knowing all reaction's a tale about chicken v egg.
Chord and Discord Sat on a Fence A man who could translate Water to Wind met a woman who only spoke Fire. He cooled her. She sparked him. He fanned, she inflamed: desire with no earthly understanding. But they slept in each other's arms like two lullabies, demanding nothing, content to share dreams. The Fortune Deck fool is born again with every breath taken and given. A body trusts that air, sun and rain will continue. It only knows living, and life will or must derange. It’s reason that's strange.
April is Poetry Month. Words fill the air like pollen and change. The senses are deranged,
and the mind plays along, making sense where it can, taking nonsense where it is needed.
I intend to enjoy it. You come, too.
to lift the singing
to carry the tree frog song
to spread spores of music
not rain. or, yes, but rain so fine
it penetrates the source of life
as dreams enter daydreams
not fog. or, yes, but falling
through its rising self, blending
music and umami
What Love Means for the Dish and the Spoon
At the concert
I could feel the bass man.
Not the rhythm
in my blood. Not
his sweat, his eyes. It was
nothing sensual, sexual, nothing
I could have imagined.
There was a hymn
we sang in church, about the wonder-
working power in the blood.
I never thought
about the ancient, natural religions
and how they grew
from blood splashed on barren rock.
The juke box is vibrating.
You bend to pick up a quarter,
and the bar goes dark. All
sound becomes tiny.
It is as if you had really run away
this time, and run so fast
you left your heart behind
like a bull rider’s dusty hat,
for some clown to rescue.
Are there beings in the universe
for whom time moves not
like a river, but a yo-yo?
And does their god
walk with them, sing and keep them
spinning on a string?
This is not a really a poem. But I’d forgotten the incident (from fifty years ago) and wanted to get it down since it fit the prompt so well.
I Was Leaving
him to the girl he met while I was working.
A tiresome thing to tell, but at the end
the fight was over whiskey.
We’d joined a crew counting every pin
and dog food can on the shelves of an endless store,
pooled our checks and bought a quart
in a souvenir bottle shaped like a powder horn
the length of his forearm. Thick glass
in a leather harness. The stopper had its own
leather suit we thought was cute. It weighed a ton
and we had been about to open it when the fight began.
What was said, was said; what was done, was done.
The postage stamp house by the graveyard was sad
and silent as an empty glass. Then one of us
wanted the last word. There isn’t one. But he got close
and I was backing the Camero out of the drive
when he flew out of the side door, hand around
that bottle’s swan neck.
Long brown bottle, tall blond man. Dark green door.
Square house made out of cement blocks, yellow
as a daffodil against the cedar trees around the graveyard.
He came to a stop like the bucket of a catapult, and two
days work times two launched itself toward me
and my car, a rocket toward the moon.
The ifs of that included broken windshield, expensive
body work, and if power alone were the consideration–
death. But the bottle hit the mailbox post and bounced.
Into the weeds without a scratch. Of course that
was not the last of things. But everyone should have
at least one emphatic good-bye, and a bottle
to keep it in.