Wednesday, May 27, 2015


th’river bends ‘t natchez
it makes sense th’mound people’d know
this fine summer breeze

cliffs above natchez
evidence ‘f th’ancient people,
and th’tears on her dust-streaked face

road t’escatawpa
down on ten, he sees th’world, now
back t’his steamy town

dusty hardware store –
somewhere south ‘f jackson, got lost,
th’fan seems t’be broken

kudzu in mirror,
enough mint tea, y'all come back -
yazoo city still

yazoo city law -
through crack in tinted window,
a sweltering heat

up on th’new state of jones –
th’laurel backer likes t’recruit
f’r th’loblolly fest’val

tylertown sawmill –
brought in a bit of lumber,
‘fore it all burned down

desoto campfire -
stories of small-town picnics
and not fitting in

folks talk civil war -
old stouts steamboat captain talks
summers on th'river

watching th'perseids -
vicksburg girl can't imagine
marryin' a yankee

‘bove vicksburg, th’perseids
she shows th’southern charm ‘n’ grace
‘n’ don’t know from grammar

camping ‘n th’desoto
sales ‘n th’redneck riviera,
he says, ‘re pickin’ up

westbound on twenty -
barbecue on pack canvas,
old bridge souvenir

westbound at old bridge
just ‘cause you got used t’th’kudzu,
don’t mean you liked it

barb’cue by th’old bridge
westbound on twenty, ‘n’ it’s hot,
‘n’ you can’t take’t with you


bar’n bay saint louis
carpets’re wet ‘n’ smelly, even
before they’re flooded

she tells how camille
filled bay saint louis with mud
couple summers back

hip waders ‘n gulfport
remembers th’year ‘f katrina,
‘n’ how hard it was t’eat

fifty ford, duck hill
wrong fuel’s all, says th’kid in th’bed,
he’ll sell’t cheap, for sure

august rains ‘n jackson
th’lunch counter coffee’s gone bad,
th’right t’sit there’s th’issue


extra ‘n oh brother –
church hill lass’s on her same porch
wondering what’s real

holed up in jackson
labor day hurricane blues
cot springs on off beat

labor day hurr’cane –
jackson man shares th’cig’rette butt,
his only p’ssession

fifty ford t’duck hill
this year, no harvest t’speak of,
makes do by fixin’ stuff

antebellum house,
th’paint’s faded – oxford ‘n’ th’football
gone on without it


leaves ‘t tishomingo
way back ‘n th’woods, lot less pressure
t’do what people want

ole miss linebacker
spits his aggression and scorn
on faulkner's sidewalks

got no use f’r faulkner,
she dropped th’hard english class
t’cheer f’r ole miss football

ole miss stars, says th’lass,
n’th’girls who adore them – their own

oxford’s ant’bellums
have faded – th’pom poms, she says
just part of the show

ole miss football night –
full ‘f themselves, they throw their trash
in th’yards ‘f th’ant’bellums

most lib’ral guy ‘n tate
just got ‘lected – knows by heart
th’civil war battles

won th’tate election
whole county knows ‘bout th’garage
‘n’ th’confederate shrine

off th’road in greenwood
th’only thing we’ve got in common,
th’possibility ‘f snow

sees racism ‘n th’frats ‘n’ dorms,
‘n’ ev’ry oxford coffeeshop,
even th’snowmen ‘n th’grove

woke in tombigbee,
red clay bed, pine for blanket,
campfire for coffee

home from th'war, killed here,
old cemetery road 'n' confed'rate -
ain't used t'ice 'n these parts

sunflower county
coldest day ‘f th’year, he just sits,
lets his breath heat th’room

he skidded on th’ice,
old cem’tery ‘n’ confed’rate
swears she saw his ghost

deserted crossroads,
limited fame, yours and mine -
we toast the new year

pops th’bottle ‘f champagne
here’s t’whatever deal they made
‘t these bluesmen’s crossroads

downtown they’re drinking –
he’s through b’loxi ‘t carnival
‘thout spending money

carnival ‘t b’loxi
took a beating at th’big one,
now he stays in town

magnolia exit –
th’young folks hitch from th'mardi gras,
but no one goes north

desoto campfire
smokes wood wet from march drizzle,
better'n any cologne

natchez trace roadside
aroma - unknown blossoms,
or maybe old ghosts?

laurel laundr'mat door -
dryer steam at back, he stops,
baptized by spring rain

girl scouts - tup'lo's finest,
most sincere of mall merchants
selling do-si-dos

th’kid ‘n’ th’girl scout cookies,
seems time’s stopped in tupelo
she loves th’do-si-dos

hears th’tirade ‘f tax law
requests – laurel clerk smiles ‘n’ says
“fahn thank you how’re you?”

stouts steamboat captain –
plenty ‘f water now, he says,
you should see it ‘n th’fall

oxford magnolias –
th’air’s heavy, cap ‘n’ gown don’t fit,
took four stinkin’ years

wisteria climbs th’porch –
jackson lass, nostalgic ‘bout
th’way things used to be

wisteria ‘n th’ev’ning –
raised ‘n jackson back in th’fifties,
‘n’ things were diff’rent then

red clay laurel soil –
not th’best place t’plant th’seeds, but
not good t’keep’m either

up on th’natchez trace,
redbuds in their full glory –
what are you hiding?

itta bena spring -
too many days, waiting for work,
but hope is in th'air

tales ‘f th’escatawpa
loved their lives along th’river
‘til th’spring rains flooded’m

th’house he grew up in,
kudzu strangles th’old porch swing –
th’lass, too, left f’r jackson

hattiesburg wedding –
even in th’luscious garden,
th’awkward question ‘f race


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