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Michael R Burch Mar 2020
Of Civilization and Disenchantment
by Michael R. Burch

Suddenly uncomfortable
to stay at my grandfather's house ―
actually his third new wife's,
in her daughter's bedroom
― one interminable summer
with nothing to do,
all the meals served cold,
even beans and peas...

Lacking the words to describe
ah! , those pearl-luminous estuaries ―
strange omens, incoherent nights.

Seeing the flares of the river barges
illuminating Memphis,
city of bluffs and dying splendors.

Drifting toward Alexandria,
Pharos, Rhakotis, Djoser's fertile delta,
lands at the beginning of a new time and "civilization."

Leaving behind sixty miles of unbroken cemetery,
Alexander's corpse floating seaward,
bobbing, milkwhite, in a jar of honey.

Memphis shall be waste and desolate,
without an inhabitant.
Or so the people dreamed, in chains.

Published by The Centrifugal Eye and The Centrifugal Eye Fifth Anniversary Anthology. Keywords/Tags: Memphis, river, barges, bluffs, Alexandria, Pharos, Rhakotis, Djoser, Alexander, waste, desolate
Kewayne Wadley Jun 2019
In my city
Things get the liveliest after dark.
A song in itself, with lowered vocals.
The kind of song you put on & just drive to.
The kind of song you hold your head up to.
Whether night or day.
In my city
The buildings & bridges like to dress up.
Coming to life at night.
Some smoke cigarettes.
Blowing O rings to the clouds.
Some wear their necklaces made of light.
Draped in gray and beige, pants to match.
In my city
You can find the everlasting lyrics
on just about every corner.
A song in itself, with lowered vocals
Blared loud
a city of rhythm & blues
Anna Skinner Feb 2019
When we all go to Memphis, we spread Ludington sand in Matt’s flower beds,  like somebody died, and a silence falls as we let the sand sift through our fingers like ashes.  It smells like Michigan, like seashells and ***** lake water,  and it drowns out the construction workers making new-money houses.
Instead of funeral hymns, we’re blanketed by sawdust and cigarette smoke.  We sip and savor Evan Williams and for once, none of us speaks.  
Our veins light on fire from the whiskey, and our souls share a collective ache,  like our bodies are made from some sort of symbiotic cell.  

After The Spreading Of The Sand, we go to a haunted bar where entry is a password, where there’s a frown of a front door, and the exposed brick walls reek of the dead girls upstairs. I think, This is Memphis, a very loud city with louder secrets –  the overpowering shadow spreading its fingers in all her corners, silent until she swallows you whole.  

Memphis realigns your center –  
a snap of the blues, a crack of whiskey and,  all of a sudden, things run much more smoothly.  

Memphis, she’s known as the City on the Bluff,  a place where summer storms split at the river,  don’t reconvene ‘til east of Arlington.  
Her protection, it’s always there.  
Like DNA shared among siblings,  blood is always thicker here in her quarters.  

Memphis, she tells me I should’ve kicked Worry to the curb all along.  

Memphis, she keeps her people safe.
Kelly O'Toole Sep 2018
Im naked and exposed,
My vulnerabilities taking hold.
But I have no bounds, I knew this when I fell.
For his aura lured me in,
His beautiful soul caught hold of mine.
For we were pulled together by invisable twine.
Ravelled, but I could have broke free.
For it was where I wanted to be, where I wanted to stay.
Blinded by his memphis,
Locked in by his gaze.
Just for one sweet moment, be entangled in one anothers love.
For love it was. But love it couldnt be.
For you didn't belong to me, I had to set you free.
The right love, at the wrong time.
Maybe in another life you would have been mine.
But for now I'll just wonder, I'll wonder what could have been.
Kewayne Wadley May 2018
Just jumping in.
Everything comes to a halt.
The first few moments don't seem as bad.
Depending on length.
The line of cars.
In a sea of metal
Something wow happens.
Metal crashes into metal.
Causally passing by.
Everyone is okay.
Making sure to see what happened
They drop speed.
The police attempt to make it through to the scene.
Little to no debris.
No never-mind to the expensive cars brought to a halt.
The Mercedes Benz, the Porsche out of place slow moving along.
A Black Nissan Sentra with two kids playing in the backseat.
The other side is free to go as they please.
Compared to most places this is nothing.
Try New York. Atlanta. Texas to name a few.
You just jump in, moving from point A to B.
Life is admittedly too short to walk a great distance.
A two car pileup a few miles ahead.
Bumper to bumper no one gives space to breathe.
A Cadillac honks in frustration.
The Black Nissan honks back in attempt to get over.
Inching closer to maneuver it's way in front.
After everyone takes a glance at the pileup.
Traffic is back to normal.
The two kids continue to play like nothings happened
I pick
her flower
that our
furnace wouldn't
inhibit May
with her
caveat that
this winter
really corners
any merchant
cavities allure    
then made
sweet dear
wine in
Hawaiian orbit
in days
of yore
A preacher I knew
Jackie Mead Jan 2018
I am Woman that is certain
But what makes me unique
Join me on this journey as I peel away the layers and look further than skin deep

I AM Wife and Lover
I AM Mother and Grandmother
I AM Daughter and Sister
I AM Aunty and Niece
I AM Goddaughter and Godmother

I AM Runner and Walker
I AM Listener and Talker
I AM Reader and Writer
I AM Settler and Traveller

I AM Serious and Funny
I AM Sociable and Discreet
I AM Reliable and Dependable
I AM Cold and Heat

I AM Fun and Loving
I AM Kind and Giving
I AM Generous and Mean
I AM Nervous and Calm

I AM Supportive and Demanding
I AM Giver and Taker
I AM Lover and Fighter
I AM Adventurous and Squeamish

I AM Slow and Fast
I AM the Future and the Past
I AM Classless and Class
I AM Familiar and Unique

I AM **** and Desirable
I AM Small and Curvy
I AM Smart and Sassy
I AM Happy and Sad

I AM Rich and Poor
I AM Foolish and Wise
I AM Lucky and UnLucky
I AM Courageous and Weak

I AM the sum of all my parts, I AM ME from my skin to my heart.

Who are you?
Inspired by the I AM MAN slogan at the civil rights museum in Memphis.
Madeline Kennell Oct 2017
324 square miles

and 94 vacant

we build up our city to great lengths

but the majority of our population

poor, impoverished black families

cannot afford to eat at a tapas bar art gallery
Evan Hoffman Nov 2014
Memphis got real high in the 50's.
Those honeycomb bathroom floors decided to become streets
them city kids got the buy bug knocking at their knees.
Problem is: They never dream.
Teachers just learning to write
using pens filled with interrupting ink
telephone poles gossiping about the trees,
they hated their branches—always loosing their leaves
office administrators on Section 8 Housing
while the vacant houses are out on the streets.
People swarming the sewers
forgetting: a bomb shelter is no home
while drainage floods the alleys.

If you could see this place with your own eyes
and not the ones you bought at the drug store
you would wish you were blind.
The word 'loosing' is intentional.

— The End —