Tuesday, May 12, 2015

South Carolina

gumbo mud ‘n’ sand fleas,
beaufort bay oyster man’s tale –
cuts’re deep, ‘n’ hurt like hell

sea island gullah
art ‘f making th’sweetgrass baskets
‘n’ keeping th’world at bay

in charleston, th’gard’ner
knows ev’ry secret in th’city –
wouldn’t dream ‘f travel

combing folly beach
convinced th’secrets ‘f history
are just beneath th’sand


hilton head golfer
wealth has bought him th’chance t’obsess
‘bout how th’eighth played out

coke ‘n’ chicken fried steak –
th’heat sets in ‘n spartansburg, but
he’s deployed next week

sultry july heat –
even th’beaufort ladybug,
ready t’quit th’union

myrtle beach carhop
still likes th’sound ‘f th’yankee’s accent
when he says ‘unsweet’

beaufort estuaries –
shelled couple ‘f million oysters,
still looking f’r that pearl

southern hosp’tal’ty,
cool mint tea – charleston lass flirts,
but that’s as far’s ‘t goes

folly beach campfire
knows each boat from ancient times,
‘n’ where it dropped its gold

she comes t’myrtle beach
her first summer as a teen –
she’s never heard ‘f ‘unsweet’

from sullivan's isle,
charleston harbor's twinkling lights,
dawn's steamy secrets

hilton head golfer,
two martinis into lunch,
relives his eighth hole

a beach called folly -
she prays for august rain, in
all seriousness

sweet tea, clemson beau -
so refreshing, she defers,
school starts, she'll vanish

sea island gullah -
r'minds her 'f ancestors, far from
this sultry market

greeleyville barbers
watch th’tel’vision f’r th’summer temps –
‘nother church has burned

indigo sundress -
maybe it means something, but
charleston folks don't know

golfer ‘t hilton head
made his money ‘n th’cruel world
‘n’ he counts th’way he wants

with no sense ‘f hist’ry,
folly beach market lass sells
th’indigo sundress

grew up poor in flor'nce
got rich 'n'is air con - wouldn't
live anywhere else

teen from navy base,
sick of precision mowing
seeks myrtle's high tide

stranded in beaufort,
imprisoned by humid world,
feels like seceding

chattooga river
likes t’be far enough up ‘n th’hills,
it cools off at night

clemson lass, back ‘t school
charleston kid pines ‘n th’coffee shop,
she’s got ‘nother world

fought in the trenches,
retired here on myrtle beach -
tide soothes aching feet

myrtle beach hotel,
sand sticks to towel - sugar
dissolves in iced tea

edisto basin -
corn still stands, ducks'll harvest it
hunters'll harvest th'ducks

torn rotator cuff
th’kid’s life revolved ‘round th’gamecocks,
‘n’ now he’s despondent

gamecock tackle’s tale –
brutal’ty ‘f th’sport makes’m vi’lent –
‘n’ unbear’bly hungry

lost on old state road
tourist ‘n’ yankee stop t’ask th’lass
hanging sock ghosts ‘n th’trees

th’way back t’columbia,
some problem understanding –
she points with th’sock ghost

th’tourist’s from london,
‘n’ used to th’problem – hits th’pumpkin
th’mailbox, old state road

hall’ween, old state road
costumes’d make more sense, if th’place
wasn’t so unreal

started ‘n clemson ‘n th’fall,
‘course all th’frat boys noticed her –
that’s what she wanted

clemson cornerback
it’s not what he thought of as
‘good education’

gamecock linebacker
says this game's deadly vi'lence
worse than crack cocaine

cold wind ‘n greeleyville
at th’black barber’s they’ll tell you
ev’ry church that’s burned


don’t wait for th’snow ‘n’ ice
christmas ‘n charleston, get from th’sound
‘f th’bellringers north ‘f broad

bellringer north ‘f broad
tough life f’r th’old black guys ‘n these parts,
‘n’ th’hot cocoa tastes good

new year ‘t folly beach,
th’tide comes in, ‘n’ he gets nervous –
t’her, he’s th’whole future

folly beach barkeep -
"to th'new year - may th'tides be good,
n'some luck for th'trav'ler"

hard frost, epiph’ny
th’old man tells ‘f th’ghost encounter
‘t th’old rainbow lake bridge

south bound’ry, aiken
canopy ‘f trees, snow-covered,
bite your tongue, ‘r th’snow’ll fall


just didn’t look th’same –
city ‘f charleston, covered with snow,
even th’palmettos

pink hearts, store windows
in charleston, sometimes you can't -
it's just th'way it is

foggy st. pat's morn,
palms camper finds green bottle,
can't read note's gaelic

natural causes –
what lee county says ‘bout th’march fire –
th’klan, he says, ‘s nat’ral

rest stop near beaufort -
bronx pipefitter, local belle,
gentle april rain

iced tea, steamy morn –
on th’spartanburg garden bench,
best t’sit still ‘n’ relax

th’gum trees hold th’dirt road –
th’passion ‘f th’low country spring rules
th’most random events

bishopsville ruins –
th’snake ‘n’ th’mouse dance in th’spring drizzle,
th’hiker leaves for th’coast


ruins ‘f bishopsville
spring rains ‘n th’weeds take more of it
back t’from where it came

reb flag flies ‘n th’spring breeze –
twenty-seven years ‘n charleston,
‘n’ not about t’let go

greeleyville easter
church, place ‘f peace and unity,
‘t’s why they burn it down

hungry f’r each other
‘t th’pond ‘t middleton – behind them,
th’hillside ‘f azaleas

crepe myrtle’s festive,
but she’ll hurry back t’south ‘f broad
th’pounding rains’re coming


th’crepe myrtle blossoms –
charleston folk are too polite,
‘n’ don’t tell th’whole story


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