Monday, May 04, 2015

West Virginia

bates holler pastor’s
intent on th’message – th’kid waits
f’r th’outdoor clogging t’start

buckhannon miner -
summer vacation spent at
dad's black lung clinic

sounds ‘f th’cloggers shoes –
in boone county, th’outdoor dance
echoes up th’hollows

from tinted windows,
th’folks ‘f parkersburg avoid him –
must have crossed dupont

so close to halfway -
fourth's morning stillness
at harper's ferry

harper’s ferry bridge –
hiker’s been in th’woods so long,
th’crackers hurt his ears


road to th’sinks ‘f gandy
th’green rocky fields, so diff’rent
‘n’ he’s still aboveground

called sinks of gandy
by locals, long cool cave holds
childhood memory

hot days 'n sinks 'f gandy,
huge cave in an open field -
now he's brought his kid

come from far away
t’ th’cool sinks ‘f gandy in th’summer
just t’see ‘f he still can

paw paw fair hustler
always tries t’get th’newlyweds –
they’ll fall for his line


cleveland t’charlotte road –
th’car shakes ‘n th’weeds ‘f th’rockport exit,
‘n’ she talks ‘bout settling

morgantown front porch
bluegrass pickers – far enough,
at last, from th’city

ginseng tea, soft kiss -
songbirds in cheat wilderness
seem t'find harmony

three a m’n’ th’locusts
announce th’hiker’s arrival
‘n th’town ‘f harper’s ferry

walked up from georgia
won’t let th’harpers ferry punks
spoil her afternoon

quite pretty, with her
picnic lunch – jefferson rock,
she says, is halfway

in good condition,
she says, fording th’potomac
‘n’ has ten grandchildren

stopped ‘t jefferson rock
through-hikers say they’re halfway,
‘n’ it’s time t’celebrate

harper's ferry bridge -
hikers pause, consider moment,
river knows the hist'ry

harper’s ferry bridge –
‘n th’quiet river, th’through hiker
throws th’rock from his boot

griddlecakes spit grease -
autumn mist clouds memory,
road to droop beckons

rebels ‘gainst th’union –
leaves change ‘n th’droop mountain forests,
th’war goes on f’rever

buckhannon football
couple kid’re pretty serious
not much future ‘n coal

droop reenacter
writes letter to ancestor -
fell, but i'll get up

ghosts of droop mountain,
reencampment cannonball -
early frost's hard chill

"reb troops, three times more" -
droop colonel's bluster; behind,
his wife's weary smile

droop colonel’s bluster –
they take such pains t’make these things
just the way they were

cannon smoke, or’nge leaves
tired ‘f th’reb camp, droop colonel’s wife
burnt some ‘f th’griddlecakes

smell ‘f droop cannons hangs –
reb ‘n’ union both, love th’conflict,
never tire of th’show

oxen road pilgrim –
among th’stunning leaves, she sees
th’workings ‘f hindu gods

three weeks in the cheat -
happened t'come back t'town, just as
halloween arrived

tales ‘f th’miners’ union –
welch man chews off th’piece ‘f beer glass,
cold wind at th’bar’s door

souls' day squall outside
welch clinic - in waiting room,
old men with black lung

back t’fairmont f’r christmas
says being a shop teacher
th’only way t’get out

kanawha valley
spends th’hol’days making youtubes
‘n’ learning th’social codes


new year ‘t th’wheeling bridge
‘n th’rearview mirror, th’mountains, th’bricks,
foot on th’gas again

morgantown fiddler –
th’old timers tell ‘f th’long winters
pickin’ coal from th’tracks

snow on th’barren hills –
big coal thought th’k’nosha valley
was theirs for th’taking

snowstorm, welch diner –
tales ‘f th’ones killed ‘n th’old miners’ strikes,
so little to lose

warm gov’ment car ‘n welch
came t’look int’ th’mine explosion,
th’alarm disabled

dad worked in the mines,
died early, left us here in
buckley, t'wait for spring


upwind ‘f th’chemicals,
curses dupont, knoing full well
parkersburg won’t thaw

mountaintop blown out
blossoms ring miners' hollows
long road into welch

wet snow ‘n th’blooming trees
on th’road t’welch, victim ‘f th’smoker’s
aversion t’fresh air

cap 'n' gown in his pack,
takes one last look, skips a stone
'n th'monongahela

skipped stone, mon river
mount’neer grad’s ‘bout t’find his job,
far away ‘s he can

drank here as seniors -
this may, the wheeling bridge means
the east's behind him

hatfields ‘n’ mccoys, says
th’old man, still live ‘n th’green hollers,
‘n’ prob’ly deal pain pills

kanawha valley
kids’re on th’jimson weed – hosp’tals
don’t know what t’do with’m

th’kids take th’jimson weed,
th’kanawha valley nurse says –
t’search for something real

don’t want t’cross dupont –
live ‘n parkersburg, get yourself
this side ‘f th’garden wall

appalachian glade
near th’sleepy town ‘f war – th’fire pinks,
she says, ‘re th’ones with th’bees

bees in th’glade ‘f fire pinks
she comes from th’town ‘f war, ‘n’ she knows
th’sting ‘f disappointment

dime off th’wheeling bridge –
they drank ‘n’ drove, didn’t think twice,
aren’t here t’catch th’spring breeze


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