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Cali  Oct 2012
swoon
Cali Oct 2012

how strange; you leave me
hanging on to your words
like parachutes, a smile
dancing across my gratuitous
face; appalachian eyes
the color of melancholy
and mouth of a sailor.

you said, I never thought
that I would miss you
quite this much.
...and my very heart
swooned at the idea of
you, so very far away,
so close to me.

come home to me,
darling, I want to tell you
how much I've missed you.

Emily N Jul 2012

1.   Stop drinking coffee at levels that promote addiction, and subsequent withdrawal symptoms

2.   Wear your reading glasses like you’re supposed to

3.   Read more contemporary fiction

4.   Don’t lie about reading Ulysses

5.   Don’t bother converting the Mormons

6.  Eat more chocolate

7.  Eat less chocolate

8.  Bring flowers to sick people

9.  Bring flowers to dead people

10. Bring flowers to some living people

11. Don’t frown when people tell you it takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile

12. Act as if it is going on YouTube

13. Stop fucking swearing all the time you good for nothing jackass

14. Tell him when he reaches the spot

15. Tell the barista that whole milk is always okay

16. Tell the other barista that his beard and love of poetry does not an instant access to panties make (although it’s close)

17. Stop calling your brother a cunt

18. Stop calling people cunts

19. Call people more respectable names when you dislike them

20. Give up the self-righteous entitlement that reading theory gave you

21. Keep reading theory while sipping organic tea at Delta of Venus

22. Practice your goddamn instruments

23. Practice means learning how to read music, idiot

24. Stop saying the Lord’s name in vain—say it earnestly and vehemently as the biggest condemnation that is publicly appropriate

25. When referring to Jesus, call him the militant anti-family pseudo-rabbi carpenter

26. Stop being a condescending asshole about things like that

27. Stop being a condescending asshole

28. Recognize your self-loathing and self-deprecating sense of humor is just a cover-up for how content you are with being a condescending asshole

29. Tip more

30. Tip cows

31. Tipper Gore is not your friend; accept that

32. Accept that you will never make it to Comic-con the year you care about the panels

33. Accept the fact that you should not be complacent accepting anything

34. Every birthday, apologize to the poor souls who are also born on the same day, and thus over-shadowed by you

35. Apologize to everyone born on the same day as you for ruining the day

36. Initiate things, don’t be: lazy, scared, intimidated

37. Don’t be: lazy, scared, intimidated

38. Stand up against hate

39. Continue your hatred of popular culture and the mass media

40. Listen to more indie labels

41. Don’t shout at people for not knowing the band you’re talking about—gradually introduce them to a better way of life through an introductory mix-tape with a friendly greeting in sharpie

42. Always keep a sharpie, or any permanent marker (don’t fall for brand-name consumerism) handy

43. Don’t be ashamed of liking classical, bluegrass, antiquated sea shanties, and Eurovision

44. Engage people… happily

45. Don’t force yourself to be happy, that’s too obvious and overt and cliché. Blackmail is the route to take

46. Run daily, whether at the gym or from the law, whatever is convenient

47. Fix the law (“Law”)

48. Fix broken bikes

49. Go to med school and fix broken bones

50. Give up med school, it is not the place for you

51. Find the place for you

52. Search the world like the biggest game of Where’s Waldo for your place

53. Once you find that place, decorate it how you want to, and not how a “TLC Interior Decorator/Stylist” would

54. Don’t fucking listen to television shows

55. Unless it’s Shark Week; watch more Shark Week

56. Leave post-it note poetry for people

57. Send text-version post-it note poetry to people

58. Check your goddamn phone more often

59. When you do check it, don’t ignore it

60. Ignore your phone sometimes

61. Ignore Facebook a lot of the time

62. Even if the shit you post on Facebook and Tumblr is ironic and mean, people won’t always get that, so act accordingly

63. Thus: do it more often

64. Eat more fruit

65. Eat more vegetables even though they fucking suck

66. Ask people if they legitimately and honestly enjoy vegetables, as opposed to lying about it to present the image of the perfectly healthy person who inspires irritation in donut-lovers

67. Have a donut party

68. Have more parties for all kinds of people: party people, anti-party people, people for the protection of parties, national society for the party-neutral people, et cetera

69. Since this is number sixty-nine, have more sex

70. But only if you really want to

71. Clean your room and organize your records and bookcase—how are you going to woo him with a messy room, and if you don’t woo him, how are you going to have more sex

72. Be consistent with social-function participation, a.k.a. “stop falling off the map”

73. Wear shoes that have arch-support or you’re going to fuck up your feet

74. Do more yoga or you’re going to fuck up your back (even more)

75. Visit and use and worship the library more

76. Volunteer if possible

77. Commit to things you care about

78. Don’t take it personally when people don’t care as much about Southern Gothic Literature, or Appalachian folk tunes, or Jacques “I’m a smart Jackass” Derrida, as you do

79. Don’t let people who don’t care as much as you do get in the way of you caring

80. BE FUCKING ENTHUSIATIC BECAUSE LIFE IS RAD

81. Even if you say you hate life, know that deep down you feel a boundless appreciation for the awesomeness that is being alive and breathing and sleeping and eating and reading and fucking and eating and talking and singing and pissing and screwing around and jumping and dancing and taunting and laughing

82. Stop biting your nails

83. Start a project and finish it (writing, painting, music shit, etc)

84. Be honest all the time

85. This includes the times when it’s easier to lie to yourself

86. Drink responsibly

87. Be responsible

88. Except for the occasions where frivolity and debauchery and outright irresponsibility makes for a better time

89. Drink hard liquor first, then beer, to avoid a bad time

90. Create a moral foundation that is not based on the principle of an afterlife and stick to it

91. Have faith in the dynamic human spirit

92. Recite William Faulkner’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech daily

93. READ EVERY SINGLE FUCKNIG DAY

94. Don’t cry when people say they don’t like to read, just tell them they haven’t found the right book

95. In the face of what seems like imminent despair and fruitless endeavors, remember “Life, Liberty, and Literature”

96. In the face of what seems like imminent failure, remember shit happens, bro

97. In the face of what seems like imminent awesome-ness, be fucking appreciative, bro

98. In the face of imminent adversity, stock up on coffee and chocolate

99. Be friendly

100.                Live life like a rational, compassionate, free-spirited, opinionated, open-minded, interested, and interesting human being because you know damn well you have the capability to

Mel Holmes Feb 2014

seductive decay

on summer days we
rode down the river in our ripe age,
careless if the rapids swept us
into their deadly dustpans,
the black hole of water,
the possibility aroused us,
perhaps because it seemed so far away.

and next to the river,
the appalachian townsfolk wandered the deep grass, they
gathered here to see the circling folding-tables,
buy the spread of goods,
the goods are masks.
the masks are of old folks’ faces,
cartoon-like, goofy comic characters in the funny pages.
masks of rubbered wrinkles, permanent,
bulging eyes, whiskered ears that never stop growing, with
an elastic band, you can become an elder.

old age attracts the crowds,
i have a fascination with it myself,
picturing all the stories that have
taken elders to the present,
it’s hard to fake being wise
when you’re forced to think for years.

Kendall Mallon Jul 2013

Book One


Prelude:

As Romans before them, they built the city upward—
layer ‘pon layer as the polar caps receded
layer by layer—preserving what they could, if someday
the waters may recede back into the former polar
ice caps; restoring the long inundated coastlines.


Home:

A man sat upon a tall pub stool stroking
his ginger beard while grasping a pint loosely
in his other hand. An elderly gent stood
next to him. The older gentleman noticed
that the ginger bearded man’s pint sat almost
quite near the bottom of its tulip glass.

A woman with eyes of amber and hair
as chestnut strolled through a vineyard amongst
the ripening grapes full of juice to soon
become wine. She clutched a notebook—behind (10)
thick black covers lay ideas and sketches
to bring the world to a more natural
state—balancing the wonders and the merits
of technology apace with the allure ‘n’
sanctity borne to the natural world.

When the ginger bearded man finished the
final drops of his stout, another appeared
heretofore him—courtesy owed to the elder
gentleman. “Notice dat ye got d’ mark
o’ a man accustom amid the seas,” (20)
he inferred; gesturing the black and blue
compass rose inscribed inside a ship’s wheel,
imbedded into the back of the ginger
bearded man’s weathered right hand.
                 “I have crewed
and skippered a many fine vessel, but I
am renouncing my life at sea—one final
voyage I have left inside of me:
one single terminal Irish-Atlantic
voyage t’ward home.” (30)
“Aye d’ sea can beh cold
‘nd harsh, but she enchants me heart. Ta where
are ye headed fer d’ place ye call home,
d’ere sonny boy?”
     “’tis not simply a where,
‘tis a who. Certain events have led me
to be separate from my wife. For five
eternal years I have been traveling—
waiting to be in her embrace. The force
of the Sea, she, is a cruel one. For (40)
it seams: at every tack or gybe the farther
off I am thrown from my homeward direction
to stranger and stranger lands… I have gone
to the graveyard of hell and the pearly gates
of (the so called) heaven; I have engaged
in foolhardy deals—made bets only a
gambling addict would place. All to just be
with Zara. I am homesick—Zara is my
home—it doesn’t matter where (physically)
we are located, my home is with Zara. I (50)
was advised to draw nigh the clove of Cork
and wait; wait for a man, but I was barely
given a clue as to who this man is,
only I must return him this:” the ginger
bearded man held out a dull silver pocket watch
with a frigate cut into the front cover
and two roses sharing a single stem
swirling upon themselves cut into
the back.
   “Can it be? ‘Tis meh watch dat meh (60)
fat’er gave t’ meh right before he died…
I lost it at sea many a year ago.
It left meh heartbroken—fer it was meh only
lasting mem’ry of him… Come to t’ink I
was told by a beggar in the street—I
do not remember how long ago—dat
I would happen across a man wit’ somet’ing
dear t’ meh, and I’d accomp’ny dis man
on a journey, and dis man would have upon
‘im d’ mark of a true sailor…” (70)
    “Dear elder man,
my name is Abraham; the mark you see
represents the control that I have on my
direction—thought it appears the Sea retains
some ascendancy… Yet now, it appears,
the Sea is upholding her bargain—though
a bit late... Do you, by chance, own a vessel
that can fair to Colorado?—all across
this mist’d island no skipper ‘ll uptake
my plea; they fear the sharp wrath of the Sea (80)
or (if they have no fear) simply claim my home
‘is not on their routes…’ i’tis a line I’ve
heard too often. I would’ve purchased a vessel,
but the Sea, she, has deprived me completely
of my identity and equity.”

Zara, with her rich chestnut hair sat upon
a fountain in a piazza—her half empty
heart longing to savor the hallow presence
of Abraham, and stroke his ginger beard…
Everyday she would look out at the sea (90)
whence he left…
     All encouraged her to: “forgo
further pursuit”; “he is likely deceased
by now”—his vessel (what left) scuttled amidst
the rocks of Cape Horn, yet Zara could feel
deep-seated inside her soul he is alive;
Alive (somewhere) fighting to return home.
Never would Zara leave; never would she
abandon post; she made that promise five
years ago as Abraham, ‘n’ his crew,
set out on their final voyage; and she (100)
would be damned ere she broke her promise—a promise
of the heart—a promise of love. Abraham
said: “You are my lighthouse; your love, it, will guide
me home—keep me from danger—as long as you
remain my lighthouse, I’ll forever be
set to return home—return home to you.”

Out from Crosshaven did the old man take
steadfast Abraham en route to his home.
Grey Irish skies turned blue as they made their
way out on the Irish Sea, southwest, toward (110)
the southern end of the Appalachian Island.
The gentle biting spray of the waves breaking
over the bow and beam moistened the ginger
bearded face of Abraham; his tattooed
hands grasped the helm—his resolute stare kept him
and the old man acutely on course.
A shame,
it struck the old man, this would be the final
voyage of Abraham… he: the best crew
that the old man had ever came across; (120)
uncertain if simply the character
of Abraham or his pers’nal desire
to return home in the wake of five long
salty-cold years—a vassal to the Sea
and her changing whim. Never had the old
man seen his ship sail as fast as he did when
Abraham accorded its deck—each sail
set without flaw: easing and trimming sheets
fractions of an inch—purely to obtain
the slightest gain in speed; the display warmed (130)
the heart of the old man.
        And thus the elder
gent mused as he lightly puffed on his pipe
while sitting on the stern pulpit regarding
at Abraham’s passion to return home
(as he calls her):—maybe dis is d’ reason
d’ Sea has fought so hard, and lied, t’ keep
Abraham from returning home… Could not
bear t’ lose such fine a sailor from her
expanses—she is known t’ be quite a jealous (140)
mistress…
      But for all Abraham’s will and passion,
the old man insisted for the fellow
to rest; otherwise lack of sleep would cause
the REM fiddler to reap his debt—replace
clarity of mind with opacity.
Reluctantly stalwart Abraham gave
in and retire below deck—yet the old
man doubted the amount of rest that he
acquired in those moments out of his sight. (150)

For the days, then weeks, in the wake of their
departure from the port-island Crosshaven,
the seas were calm as open water can:
gentle azure rolling swells oscillated
and helped impel the vessel forward. The southern
craggy cape of the Appalachian
Island pierced the horizon. Like a threshold
it stood for Abraham—a major landmark;
the closest to home he had been in five
salty long years—his limbo was beginning                               (160)
to fade, his heart slowly—for the first time since
he left port in eastern Colorado—
started to feel replete again. The Great
Plains Sea—his final sea—he would not miss
the gleam of his lighthouse stalwart on shore.




Book Two

Oracle:

Upon a beach, Abraham found himself alone—gasping
in gulps of moist air like that of a new born baby first (10)
experiencing the breathe of life; he felt as if he
would never become dry again… the salt burning his skin
as it crusted over when the water evap’rated
into the air; Abraham took the first night to rest, the
next day he set to make shelter and wait for a rescue
crew; out he stared at the crashing waves hoping for a plane
or faint form of a ship upon the horizon…days and
nights spun into an alternating display of day then
night: light then dark—light, dark, light, dark, grey, grey, grey…

Abraham (20)
gave up marking the days—realized the searches are done—
given up after looking in the wrong places (even
he did not know where he was…) the cold waves and currents took
him to a safe shore away from his ship and crew, in a
limp unconscious float…
From the trees, and what he could find on
the small  island, Abraham occupied himself with the
task of building a catamaran to rid himself of
the grey-waiting.
Out he cast his meager vessel into (30)
the battering surf; waves broke over his bows and centre
platform—each foot forward, the waves threatened to push him back
twofold… Abraham struck-beat the water with the oars he
fashioned; rising and falling with the energy of the
waves; Abraham stole brief looks back with hopes of a van’shing
shoreline—coast refused to vanish… his drenched arms grew tired;
yet he pushed on knowing he would soon be out passed the
breaking waves; then could relax and hoist sail; yet the waves grew
taller—broke with greater power… Abraham struck-beat the
water with his oars—anger welled—leading to splashes of (40)
ivory sea-froth instead of the desired progress
forward; eventually, his arms fell limp beyond the
force of will… waves tumbled him back to shore as he did the
first night upon the island…
Dejected Abraham lay
in the surf that night—the gentle ebb of the sea added
to insult, but hid the tears formed in the corner of his eyes—
salt water to salt water… the next day Abraham took
inventory of damage: the mast snapped in multiple
places, the rudders askew—the hulls and centre structure (50)
remained intact; the oars lost (or at least Abraham cared
not to search); over the next weeks he set to improve
the design and efficiency of his vessel—the first
had been hurried and that of a man desperate to leave;
the bare minimum that would suffice—he set to create
a vessel to ensure his departure from the des’late
accrue of sand and vegetation; Abraham laboured
to strengthen his body—pushing his arms further passed the
point his mind believed they could go—consuming the hearty,
protein-rich, mollusks, and small shellfish he could find inside (60)
tide pools or shallows—if lucky, larger fish that dared the
nearby reefs.
Patiently, Abraham observed the tides and
breaking water; he wanted to determine the correct
time to set off to ensure success—when the waves would not
toss him back to the beach; the day: a calm clear day—only
within few metres of soft beach did there exist any
breaking waves, and those that broke were barely a metre high;
loading provisions upon the vessel, Abraham bid
farewell to the island (out of wont for the sustenance (70)
it gave not for nostalgia) grasping his oars, he set forth
to find open sea—where the waves do not break and set you
gingerly on foreign shore(s); Abraham paddled passed the
first few breaking waves, his heart pounding with hope—he stifled
the thoughts (celebrate when the island is but a subtle
blue curve upon the horizon); as the island began
to shrink in his vision, the sky to his back grew darker…
the waves started to swell—moguls grew to hills—Abraham
stroked up and rode down; the cursèd Island refused to shrink…
if not begin to grow wider… stroke by stroke Abraham (80)
grew frustrated—stroke by stroke frustration advanced into
anger—stroke by stroke anger augmented into fiery
beating of the water!—Abraham struck and struck at the
Sea—eyes closed—white knuckles—trashing!—unsure which direction
he paddled…sky pitch-black, wind blowing on-shore Abraham
bellowed out to the Sea in inarticulate roars of:
hatefrustrationpitydesperationheartache!
Towards
Abraham’s in-linguistic roar, the sky let out a crack
of authority! a wave swept the flailing Abraham (90)
into the ocean—cool water only heated the rage
in Abraham’s mind—his half empty heart only wanted:
to sail home, become whole  again—sit under and olive
tree and stroke the chestnut hair of Zara as she drifted
off to sleep on his chest while he would whisper sweet verses
into her ear… Abraham’s rage, beyond reason, forgot
the boat and all clarity, he tried to swim away from
the cursèd island—scrambling up waves only to tumble
back with their breaking peaks—salt, the only taste in his mouth;
churning his stomach to vomit; his kidney’s praying he (100)
would  not swallow anymore… his gasps stifled any curse
Abraham’s head wished to expel onto the Sea—yet she
swore she heard one final curse escape his lips! at that the
Sea tossed Abraham (head first) into his ghost-helmed vessel—
all went dark for hostile Abraham…

Contemplating back
at his rage—knowing the barbarian it makes of him,
Abraham peered into the band inscribed into his
ring-finger and saw the knot tying him to Zara—shame
at his arrogant-uncontrolled-fury sent Abraham (110)
into a meditative exile inside of his mind
(within the exile of the island…) in his mental
exile Abraham spun into deeper despair at his
two failures—even more at the prospect of failing the
vow he professed onto Zara: return home—home from this
final voyage, grow old with her on solid ground, never
to die apart and cause the pain of losing a loved one
without the closure of truly knowing the death is real,
to die by her side white, white with the purity of age…
Abraham’s destitution turned inward—his fury, the (120)
lack of control, the demon he becomes when rage surges
through his muscles; equiping him with untamed strength without
direction or self-possession—so much potential, yet
no productive way to use it… Abraham’s half-full-heart
burned, ached with passion and anguish—all desire
focused on home, his return, but the mind’s despondency
and insistent ‘what-ifs’ kept poor Abraham prostrate in
his mental cave—all his wishing for anger and vi’lence
to force his will, it did more to retain him upon the
cursèd island than bring his heart closer to fulfillment: (130)
his long awaited home…
Out of his mental exile did
Abraham’s irises dilate and contract with blinding
illumination—self-pity is not what make things happen—
it would only serve to anger Zara—nothing other
than I can be to blame for my continued absence; I
am stronger than that!—looking at the tattoo in his hand,
he remembered the reasons for the perennial brand—
the eight-spoke ship’s helm: the eight-fold-path—I must cut off my
desire for anger to be the solution and focus (140)
on the one path to Zara—the mind can push the body
further than the body believes is possible—the star:
the compass to guide me via celestial bodies
to where my heart can see the guiding beam of my lighthouse!

This is the Final Voyage epic thus far. I am converting Home into blank verse and it is taking longer than I thought to do; which is why that part is incomplete here. I also added line numbers. I changed The names as well.

1.

When I
was young
I listened to
Billy the Kid

I galloped
across the
living room floor
giddy upping
in an ecstatic
square dance
with my beloved
America

excitedly
enraptured
boundlessly
enthralled
in youthful
zeal
ebulliently  
yodeling
hymns
whistling
reveries to
America’s
heroic prairie
songs

a precocious
kinder beaming  
moved and illumined
by the broiling fanfare
of trilling trumpets

to uphold the promise
I pledged allegiance
to diligent  work
galloping onward
on ponies of
reverent faith
respectful duty
playful engagement
and guardianship

2.

expectation
never fell short
of resounding
supranaturalistic
optimism

energising
the sweep of
a nation’s
self evident
exceptionalism

our democratic
vista stirred
and steeped

a nation of
wheelwrights
building
wagon trains
to traverse
stratified latitudes
with sturdy ladders
erected with common
sense sensibility
of hands to work
and hearts to God

earthen
yeoman
dancing in
wheat fields
threshing sheaves
of prosperity
their exertions
elevating
families
raising
a glorious chorus,
a peeling crescendo
of horns of plenty
splayed across
landscapes of
an ennobled
nation
placing fruits
of labor upon
ascendent
alters to
to receive
the anointing
of abundance

the lighted grace
of infinite possibilities
shines for a grueling
world listening to the
clamouring drumbeats
sounding in the hearts
of all grace anointed
republicans


3.  

No lullabies
no quiet moonlit nights
we ardently
dance on keys
boasting soul
filled dexterity
the quick self
assuredness
extemporaneously
jazz tapping
across bold
hidden rondos
grasping
transcendence
squarely set
in the minds eye
of unbroken resolve
our cool countenance
an unassailable
righteous destination

any
spare sweeping
plaintive introspection
lends space to
affirm
an
affirmation
beginning
with the individual
unum to e pluribus

solitary dancers
incorporated into
fully enfranchised
troopers

the gyrations
the rhythms and steps
of individuated melodies
join to form a harmonious whole
a beautifully woven consensus

this democratic symphony
perfected in an intelligent
choreography of
separate people
sojourning  
toward
a mutually
constructed
shared destiny

aspirational desires
call forth generations
of spirits boldly engaging
the challenges upholding
the rights and privilege
of all citizens
the celebratory harvest
of a new nations
natural law


4.

As a man
I cruise
along
Main Street
in a joyless
joy ride
gliding by
disassembled
factories
moldering schools
defunct governments

surveying the
demolished ruins
of cities,
the decrepit
wrecking ball
of history
is busy,
rolling through
towns
not worthy
of cast iron
destruction
forged in
foreign kilns

we built palaces
to democracy
in the tiniest hamlets
dotting the granges
wholly assimilated
into a national congress
of freemen

today our
congress
is scattered
dialog seeking
resolution is considered
betrayal to holy
partisanship...

selfish insistence
masquerades as
high ideals

portraiture
of obstinance
is a grotesque
reflection
of virtue

we have
reduced
the peoples
house

to a battlefield
for tribes…..

once freemen
now captives….

soulless ghosts
wandering lost
inside grand
rotundas...

mocked
by murals
and inert
granite statuary
howling
expiration dates
of timeless
psalms

sojourning
the trail of tears
drinking from bowls
of anguish

our only
respite
the silent
ruins we
find impossible
to leave

fear fills our bellies
rust stains our hearts
abiding acrimony
ain’t easily brushed
from dust laden cloths

the deconstruction
of dead cities, mark
expired civilizations
centuries in the making
hammered by the blows
of the mightiest blacksmiths
with precision and deft craft


5.

the spareness of
Martha Graham's set
frame black shadows
of fortitude

it always starts
with the individual

then surely
sure footedness
measured footsteps
boldly dance about
the lily pads
of the keyboard
a resounding ballet
the arms wave
like swaying stalks of wheat
but hurry to respond
opportunity knocks
conditions change
the group awaits
to be joined

my pirouette
remains my solitary mark
on the weaving spindles
crafting the mosaic
of a complex American
complexion

the possibility
the promise
laid before us
wheat fields
of democracy
tilled planted
attended

the wondrous yields of
an Appalachian Spring
the promise
hectare of grace
apportioned to all
citizens

the promise
harvest of liberty
freedom
of opportunity
all anointed
freemen
conferred an
amazing grace

civil discourse
was once spoken
we can learn the
lost languages again
sitting on the porch
with neighbors
sipping ice tea
sharing thoughts on
hot summer evenings
caring too care

but scoundrels
became heroes
we fetishized
idiosyncrasies
of insisted
entitlement

we damned
the whole by
exalting the part

we dare not condemn them
lest we condemn ourselves




6.

the west was once woolly wild
I hear the sweeping sound
of my youth rustle again
the dramatic symphony
of a brilliant people
filled with courage
undeterred optimism
claiming a continent
manifesting a new
Pax Americana
a century
of immigrants  

coming to integrate
coming to assimilate
coming to believe in the promise
coming to make a new promise

I came to hear Copland
when I was young

when America was young
when promises were made
and sworn by a brilliant
fanfare of trumpets

when America was young
Copland composed
when America was young
a promise was made

come forth brothers
come forth sisters
come claim
the promise
of a simple gift


Aaron Copland:
Billy The Kid

11/29/11
Oakland
jbm

r  Jul 2014
Appalachian blue
r Jul 2014

Blue the mountains
holding close in view
sacred smoke of yesterdays
blue fog shrouded trails
beneath the rhododendron

falls of sweet blue water
replenishing the rivers
sapphire lakes reflecting
splendor of the bluest hills
above the peaceful valley

hear the sacred music
of the blue ridge mountains
magic in the songs of old
forever blue my appalachia
blue the hills I used to roam.

r ~ 7/4/14

\¥/\
 |      ^^^^^
/ \
Don Sturgill Feb 2010

Born in these hills, taken away
when I was three.
Son of a coal miner who took
my mother, my brother, and me.
Drove west to the ocean, Pacific.

The kids there called me "hillbilly" and "hick."
Said I talked funny. Punched me, kicked me,
generally tried their best to make sure
I knew I didn’t belong there.
And I did not.

Eventually, though,
I learned to speak like them,
dress like them, act as if I was not
from Kentucky, my daddy
was not Appalachian, that
these mountains had no part of me.
My only recourse was
after the pledge of allegiance…
I never sang the “Oregon” song.
I sang, "Kentucky."

But, my father, he wouldn’t change.
He was proud of his heritage.
He played banjo; he played mandolin;
he went fishing, a lot.
Grew the best garden in the county,
ate soup beans and cornbread.
He did not give a hang for their Yankee ways.

I hated him. I hated my father.
until I returned to these hills.

Now I see them,
I see him,
in me.

Copyright Don Sturgill 1983, Kentucky USA

Time to meet the family
At least, that's what I heard
But, she asked me when the game was on
So, I didn't catch a word

We'd be heading out a week from now
Back where it all began
To meet the wife's whole family
every woman, every man

When she said she was from the hills
I didn't ask her where
But, once he started on our way
I was always looking out for bear

They lived way up in the wooded parts
Off the road, you couldn't see
I didn't see just where they were
But, I felt them watching me

We pulled on up and there they were
They made the Clampett clan look good
Eighteen folks all standing there
and two were chewing wood

The one's I thought to be her folks
Were her sister and a dog
The one that cozied up to me
Had a leash walking a hog

There was hugging and some kissing
Lots of tangled beards and hair
Then they stood and looked at me
With that mountain kind of stare

you know the one, deliverance like
where you wonder flee or flight
It was just then that I wondered
If I'd make it through the night

Her ma came up and spun me round
slapped my ass, and said "he'll do"
I wasn't sure if that was good
And I would end up in a stew

A bearded one came over,
shook my hand, and said his name was Clem
He said that mama liked me
Now, I was one of them

they was fixing to go hunting
Which was something new to me
The last time I went hunting
I shot a canoe and a tree

They said that they were hunting
The most elusive mountain prey
I was gonna hunt for ginseng
And if we found some it would pay

First, though, time to have some drinks
Eat some greasy, stinky meal
I think it was a possum
But, it might have been an eel

They said we'd get a good night's sleep
And they started howling at the moon
Time to hit the sack they said
Hunting time is coming soon

My Appalachian in-laws
Made my sphincter close up tight
They had 14 teeth between them
And I don't think one of them could write

We hit the trail next morning
It felt like miles up that hill
I thought that I was dieing
And I hadn't left a will

A sound was heard, a gentle coo
And we was running, in our boots
Clem was out in front of us
And he'd discovered ginseng roots

I picked them up, all scraggly
Like a parsnip,  dried and dead
When a holler came from brother Boo
A monster known as Red

His beard was black as coal could be
His eyes looked at each other
They called him Red not for his hair
Just 'cause he liked the color

They filled the bags with what they found
And back down the hill they went
I thought that this was insanely mad
And then Clem got a scent

Someone else was on this hill
Out hunting Appalachian gold
That's not what I would call it
But, I just call things as I'm told

We found the truck and sped away
To get paid for the days find
We had to make sure all were there
And that we left no one behind

The gun shop and the bar and grill
Was where we would get paid
Thirteen hundred bucks a pound
Almost three grand had we made

We went back with the cash in hand
Howling at whatever we saw
I guess that I'm now one of them
An Appalachian outlaw in-law

Daisy Duke Danica Patrick dialogue

DANICA this is preposterous and an embarrassment to my career image

DAISY oh yeah ya think so

DANICA 1st off you’re simply a fictional character i’m a real live racecar driver 2nd you’re a hillbilly tramp who most likely had sex with both cousins Bo and Luke behind Uncle Jesse’s barn

DAISY who you calling a tramp you venomous bitch i did not have sexual relations with those boys (pause gaze averted)

DANICA bare-foot traipsing around Hazzard County dressed like a rural Dixie belle acting all ingénue

DAISY you ain’t got no manners woman were you raised in the south

DANICA Beloit Wisconsin then Roscoe Illinois for your bird-brained information

DAISY ya know in a vague way you owe me

DANICA owe you what you Appalachian Deliverance banjo slut

DAISY i was laying down rubber pedal to the metal gravel dust road in my ’74 yellow Plymouth Road Runner before you was ever born

DANICA what’s that supposed to mean granny i thought you drove a Jeep CJ-7

DAISY it means my fictional character put a seed in the mind’s eye i planted the thought of a female warrior on the racetrack you understand i trail blazed through Georgia back country all you are is just a graduated knock-off of me

DANICA you tawny scrawny pigeon-toed knock-kneed backwoods cretin wouldn’t know your ass from a hole in the ground behind the steering wheel of a Dallara chassis Honda engine open-wheel racecar and if you think i owe you then you must think i owe Janet Guthrie Lyn St. James Sarah Fisher also screw you honky ass rebel whore

DAISY girl you got a mouth on you bet you know how to use it in the dark i bet that’s how you got to where you are i know about those FMH pictures

DANICA what i beg your pardon i earned my stripes on the racetrack

DAISY on your knees with your mouth in the shape of 0

DANICA white trash redneck witch! i hate you

DAISY now Danica calm down remember to breath and remember i’m just a fictional character didn’t mean to ruffle your feathers so bad

DANICA all right ok maybe i was a little too hasty to judge and maybe we did just get off on the wrong foot you know Godaddy is looking for someone vintage yet lovely enduring like you

DAISY you’re sweet Danica but my acting days are done i think you look real pretty in electric lime green good luck at NASCAR but i think you do better at Indy that’s just my opinion

DANICA you just might be right Daisy i’m too independent can’t seem to get the hang of you bootlegging draft-racing good ole boys

DAISY amen

Mary Winslow Jun 2016

Dante's View, yes the name of the road
where we made camp, sun baked depths of this earth
all lizards are born weaned of hope
in this amphitheater of abandonment.

Screech owls in the Appalachian mountains
lush long summers humid and careless
dense with muscadines and scuppernongs
was all I knew at the time.

Death Valley appeared to be nothing but burning reflections
emptiness manicured by the sun
where light has lost all of its tenderness
and becomes inedible bitterness and despair.

We showered in gas station bathrooms
survived on cheese crackers, water, and M&M;'s
at night when the sky of burned drapes closed over us
we huddled in the cold
warmth vanishes where land is emaciated
this thin dry place of self denial
at first grows more and more silent
a world defined
meagerly
living within very strict boundaries
but as night falls, it sizzles with fear.

Slipping past the flames of daylight
coyotes pluck up the ghosts of the dead
and start howling for them
scorpions drag their poison anvils
out of the the ground
hold them like piñatas
above their heads,
and I now believe the genius of your choice
to celebrate marriage here
was to witness the hell of the senses
to know exactly how to bolt together an asylum from harm
if estranged by grief or scuttled by money
you showed you could arm our encampment against the worst
so no predators or sly ones
or anyone dared
come near where we staked our ground
in this terrifying place.

copyright Mary Winslow 2016 all rights reserved. Jeff approved this poem first. Yes, a true story, we can now laugh about it.
Holly Salvatore Jun 2013

Almost heaven, West Virginia
Printed on mudflaps
That reek of Appalachia
It is almost heaven
Not to have you
Holding me back anymore
It's almost heaven
To forget your face
Your stupid workouts
The 300 ways you found
To never say anything
That pinched drawn unhappy look on your freckled face
I feel grateful
And I'm thankful
To be a human again
I hated the way your
Silences sauntered into a room
Ten minutes before you did
I hated the way stale I love yous
Hung around your head
Buzzing like flies on the dead
I hated the way dreams were something to be laughed at
And subsequently given up on
It's almost heaven to have mine back again
I love the way you dumped me
Through text
Like a little kid
Like Sorry this is what my mom wants
Like Sorry not sorry
I'm not sorry you left me
It is almost heaven where I'm at now
I peed outside twice
In West Virginia
And you weren't there to be embarassed
By an Appalachian woman
Who wants to have almost heaven
Every day for breakfast
And truly-loving-life-in-love-with-a-musician
This is what heaven is
Every day for lunch
And maybe just beer and a song for dinner
I'M SO HAPPY
It's almost heaven not to have you
It's heaven to feel alive again

Road trips and no regrets. Bitches love Bagels. Remember that.
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