Sunday, May 10, 2015


graceland’s opulence –
even th’gardener finds it
something t’aspire to

beale street, steamy night
tend t’learn th’blues, when you played it
couple thousand times

right ‘long th’cumberland,
th’master’d sing all th’crazy songs,
‘n’ watch th’river go by

wide ‘n’ steamy river
t’ th’pyramid – it’s not egypt,
right there’s th’interstate

native t’tennessee,
plants ‘n th’opry hotel courtyard
touch overwatered

played beale street t’get th’cash
t’go t’graceland – but ‘nother night,
too much ‘f th’cheap stuff

coyotes howling
‘n th’chickamauga battlefield –
hot coffee’s in th’tent

miller hollow creek,
sits on th’bridge – guess it matters
face th’water, or not

come t’spend th’week rafting
chatt’hootchie downpour, ‘n’ they’re stuck
‘n th’piggly wiggly line

nashville coffeehouse
music's cheap - play outside, and
hope big boys walk by

fresh round bales of hay -
we talk van gogh, monet, sartre
right into memphis

works ‘t lookout summers
he sees th’mountain as fuji,
helps ‘m keep his temper

visage of buddha
gravestone in a blount weed patch
eighteen sixty four

pigeon forge tourists
van with air-con, dvd
old dolly movies

her motor home’s stocked –
tenn’see peaches, bottle ‘f wine,
box ‘f dolly movies

bass player’s driving,
th’rest ‘re singing all th’country songs –
long road t’pigeon forge

stay ‘t dollywood f’r th’show,
but then on t’carolina –
band’s got ‘nough harm’ny

back ‘f th’pickup, th’kid tells
why th’clinch highway’s called ‘bloody’ –
then, th’truck loses th’wheel

through th’open window,
short mountain local p’litely
tells him t’cut his hair

two weeks in the woods,
then, ducktown piggly-wiggly -
rafters count their change

chattanooga yard
promise - i'll head out west, where
pollen don't choke you

under highway bridge
sleeping bag against concrete
fall rain, nashville fade

obed valley fog,
river's gurgle, leaves afire -
she wants to settle

rage ‘n’ th’fall evening,
johnson city’s just th’truck stop,
but it’s this guy’s life

clinch mountain hollow
dead leaves an extra blanket
cabin's wood smoke drifts

tent’s up th’hillside –
watch th’smoke from th’cabin’s woodstove,
hear t’ th’leven traffic

wood smoke, clinch mountain,
sees th’old caddy ‘t thorn hill, ‘n’ thinks,
hank died in one ‘f those

love letters ‘n th’wood stove
flew back ‘t her – now clinch mountain
her best chance t’calm down

first snows. clinch mountain
th’hippies’re just like their neighbors,
running out of food

hundreds 'f homebirths on,
at the farm on christmas, she marks
her own arrival

nashville bridge concrete –
seems t’hold th’holiday traffic,
th’rhythm you get used to


opryland hotel –
she has tickets f’r th’new year’s show
‘n’ she’s stuck at th’cascade

‘bout th’only hope f’r work,
some incense fact’ry down th’road –
winter ‘n east tenn’see


blizzaard on beale street,
nowhere t’go – thought they could busk

on past whitehaven,
glazed roads make it hard to stop -
glance back at graceland

on past whitehaven
got cold, ‘n’ no time f’r opulence
‘n’ don’t have th’entrance fee

inc’dent on broadway
country singer’s numb, ‘n’ wonders
why he ever came

crowded nashville bar –
spent th’winter singing t’stay warm,
opposite ‘f th’opry

turning toward tazewell,
wood smoke 'n' fog, apparition
an old cadillac

come down t’shelbyville
no matter how cold, won’t let
th’nazis march ‘n her state

sung country for th’drunks
‘n lower broadway all winter
thinks he’s lost his voice

vale of wild ginseng,
southern part of clinch mountain -
strong tea when it blooms

tales ‘f th’tennessee spring
psychedelic view ‘f it, th’schoolbus
full ‘f english majors

th’roads near summertown,
th’clover in th’fields, th’clear spring day,
then, come in t’nashville

south end ‘f clinch mountain
she knows when that ginseng blooms,
right now she needs work


peepers ‘n th’lowland slough,
south memphis, he’s tup’lo-bound –
still talk ‘bout elvis

wanted money for grits –
th’robin chirps ‘t miller hollow
it was th’kind you smoke

from birds point levee
river's crest is relentless
bound for mud island

at forty eight feet
forked deer, wolf, loosahatchie
are backed up, he says

let it flood, he says –
jackson man, still mad ‘bout th’corps
diverting th’river

liv'n in school buses,
droppin' acid - still couldn't b'lieve
this tennessee spring

laur’l hill’s bloom’n ‘n every
color, he says - ‘n’ there we were,
living ‘n schoolbuses


‘nother homebirth ‘n th’farm
mom ‘n’ baby pose ‘n th’garden, t’put
it on instagram

nashville coffeehouse –
they play so well t’be noticed,
but, just us ‘n’ th’flowers

green fields, round bales ‘f hay,
road t’memphis,’n’ he’s found someone
who knows ‘bout monet

silence, campfire, tea,
heron lands on the obed -
easter app'rition


easter in th’obed
marriage, society’s hangup,
but she’s stuck on it

city's modesty -
tennessee's tributaries'
fog shrouds its dogwoods

dogwoods on th’tenn’ssee -
he likes th’fog, but she sees th’ghosts
‘t haunted her childhood

riverbank dogwoods
when th’fog sets on th’tennessee,
‘t’s like pillow feathers

needs something t’climb on –
th’knoxville lass shows him th’maypop
‘n’ calls it th’passion flow’r

slips out t’th’white oak sinks -
schoolhouse gap trail soothes th’spirit,
whole glades full of phlox


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