Southern Porn

The full moon atop yon pine, prodigious, yellow and precariously perched

brings words like turgid, and tumscent to one’s mind.

The gently sweating cooler causes steamy, sultry, and torrid

to rush to your tounge.

Things waft and burgeon, the very air has a palatible texture

soft, silky, and damp

Scents hanging in a veritable miasma of sweetness.

Enormous Luna and Spinx moths flap by,

sipping from moon flowers that are popping open

like tiny explosions, hemming one in.

It is all too momentous, weighty, and substantial.

Fireflies flit about, providing neon lighting for the edges of the woods

while blinking their message of sex.

Shrieking crickets, screeching circadas, screaming frogs, and harumphing gators

all incessantly beg for love

shattering the serenity of the night into nonexistance with their ceaseless need.

 

Possibilities

 Today I accompanied my mother to a meeting of her old lady beneficent society. It seems that I have reached an age that now qualifies me as eligible for membership in old lady clubs. Today was not the first time I had been dragged off to one of these meeting, but today was different. Today a gal I went to highschool with was also there We were in the same class, Adeline and I. Friends even, in that desultory fashion of people whose common bond is mostly the fact that they don;t fit into any of the other groups. She was my superior in the constant class war that is highschool. She always looked a bit more put together than I did, projected a more collected demeanor, came off as just a bit more polished. She was a better athlete and usually managed to blend into the background better than I. She came just a bit closer to fitting in and by senior year had carved herself a nitch of mild acceptance in our small school. This had required her to distance herself from me, but I don’t think that bothered her much. It really didn’t bother me that much, by then I had bigger things to occupy me.

After highschool she went to work in the office of the local mill and a year or two later married the owner’s son. They are still married to this day and have the requisite 2.5 children, house, dog, etc. She now lives in a house that is not more than a mile from the house she grew up in. I ran about the earth, lived in 7 or 8 different states, married and divorced 3 times, had 5 kids, worked a couple of dozen different jobs, own nothing and am living in my parent’s house again with no visible means of support. We have had very different lives. So when I saw her at this meeting, I rather impulsively said, “we should get together, have coffee or something. I would like to see you again and maybe chat awhile.” She looked taken aback and immediately distanced herself saying, “well….you can see me at next months meeting.” In a tone that suggested that might be too much contact and that I was a needy, whining person clutching at her skirts.

What I would really like to tell her at this point is that my interest in her is not so much in her personally, but in the circumstances of her life. I have a story in the back of my mind who’s centeral character is a woman who still lives in the town she was raised in and has always done the expected and predictable thing. Since I never did I am having trouble imagining it. Do you feel deprived? resentful? Do you feel like you missed something or do you not know that there was anything to miss? Is it a case of not missing what you never had? Or was it a conscious choice, rejecting all those possibilities for a safe life? A steady, even existence? I guess I am not going to find out from her. Part of me, the resentful, mildly rejected part, would very much like to tell her that my interest in her was more intellectual than personal (ie I wasn’t trying to be “friends”).

The larger part of me just feels ever so slightly sad. I’m really not sure why. Nothing about her life (about which I know nothing, but surmise much) is overtly pitiable. She has kids. A husband. I assume she has known, knows, will know, many joys and sorrows. Love, agony and suspense. All the biggies. Perhaps she has never had any curiosity as to what lies out there, beyond the bend in the river. I cannot imagine that, but I can admit that it may be And yet I am sad. Perhaps because I, having known more about possibilities and risk, realize more sharply what it is to pass one up.

 

Grow Where You’re Planted

Grow Were You're Planted

I Learned What a Villanelle Is

I watch there while the water waves

water o’er which a seagull jives

There where the dinosaurs did bathe

the sea holds many sailors graves

cradled there an otter thrives

As I watch there while the water waves

the mighty sailing ships were brave

yet for their bones the osprey dives

There where the dinosaurs did bathe

it matters not, good men or knaves

the sea care little as she takes their lives

And I watch there while the water waves

becalmed and mad sometimes they’d rave

or yet made scrimshaw with their knives

There where the dinosaurs did bathe

for fish or treasure their all they gave

leaving behind their grieving wives

Still I watch there while the water waves

There where the dinosaurs did bathe

 

Santa Lives In Arkansas

Once upon a time in Arkansas……It was just after my first divorce. The kids were little. Under five. I was down to one job, my second job having let me go because they no longer needed the help. We had no money. I could barely manage to keep us in bacon and beans. They’d cut the water off a couple of days before. Christmas not only looked bleak, it looked nonexistent. I’d made the kids a paper tree out of some notebook paper and a paper chain, the tree’s star was cut from more notebook paper, all colored with their crayons. Christmas dinner would be cornbread and white beans, flavored with the last of the bacon. I had 3 eggs and thought maybe I could make a cake. No frosting though. We didn’t have any powdered sugar.

Before I went to work on Christmas Eve, I let them hang up their stockings. A couple of my old knee high socks. I figured I could buy a few candy canes out of my tips that night on my way home. My hope was, since they were so young, they wouldn’t realize that there should be more. I dropped them off at the sitter’s, thanking her again for the imposition of caring for them on this holiday eve. Promising, again, to come back for them as soon as I could. I got back in the car. You had to slide over from the passenger side because the drivers side door had been bashed in in a wreck and wouldn’t open. It was that way when I got it. But hey, it had been a free car, given to us by a friend of my ex’s. I ran my stockings on the slide over….sigh.

Work was surprisingly busy. I was a cocktail waitress. You’d think people would go home rather than be there on Christmas eve. Fortunately for me the holiday spirit made them slightly more generous than usual. Tips were pretty good. I was going to be able to buy the kids each a cheap toy maybe, plus candy canes, and still get new stockings! At last it was time to go home. I cleaned the floors and we locked the door. In a fit of generosity my boss told me I didn’t have to come in the next day. I was grateful–the sitter was going to charge me extra for working on Christmas–but nervous about missing a day’s money.

I stopped at a convenience store (in those days that was all that was open at midnight on christmas eve) and bought the kids each a cheap plastic toy and a candy cane. I even got them each a candy bar. What the heck, new stockings could wait. It was christmas. Besides, I thought I had another pair at home that had one good leg left. I could cut a leg off each pair and make do. I hid the kids stuff under the seat of the car and went to get them. The sitter was pleased to hear that we would both get to spend the next day with our families.

I spent the ride home recalculating my finances to take the loss of tomorrows pay into account. It was going to be tight. I shouldn’t have spent that money in the convenience store. A few tears sneaked out. It was SOOO hard. My poor kids. Maybe I couldn’t do this. What was going to become of us? Perhaps I should take them to the Children’s Home and just give up. They certainly deserved better than I was able to provide. Despair sat beside me on the seat and held my hand. Discouragement winked at me from every set of flashing christmas lights that we passed.

When we arrived home I carried sleeping children into the house and laid them on my bed so I could arrange their “christmas” before they woke up. I left their coats on them. It was cold in my room. We only had 2 gas heaters and neither of them was in my room. As I headed outside to get the bag of hidden loot it dawned on me that the living room was not as dark as it should’ve been. I looked down the room and THERE, on the table where our poor paper tree had stood was a 3 foot christmas tree. It had lights! And decorations! There were stockings! Red fuzzy ones. And they were full of stuff! Candy and oranges and peppermint sticks!

I turned on a light and investigated. Not only was that stuff real, there was more! Scarves and mittens and hats for everyone. A coat for the youngest. Secondhand, but nice and warm looking. She’d about outgrown hers. There was a nice toy for each child and in bags, a frozen turkey and all the trimmings for a real christmas dinner to be made. When the kids got up they found me crying over an envelope that had been sitting in the branches of the tree. It had my name on it. Inside was $25 and a receipt where someone had paid my overdue water bill. The water was on. I had checked. We had a wonderful Christmas.

I never did find out who did this. No one ever admitted to it. Therefore, Santa MUST live in Arkansas.

Pain

When the ache runs through me

and it sizzles down my arm

and it singes my leg

and my head throbs from it all

I wonder

When I can’t find a place on me that isn’t sore

and there is nowhere to hide

and even my teeth hurt

and I wish it would all flow down my leg

and out my foot

earthing itself, like lightening

I wonder

When it becomes too tiresome

and I haven’t slept all night for days

and I consider how much medicine it would take to make it stop

and think about crashing into bridge abutments

and my eyes leak onto my collar

I wonder

WHY?

ME?

but I suppose it has to be somebody

 

Work in progress (Waves)

I sit and watch the water wave

in which the dinosaurs did bathe

water that oversees the birth of whales

and saw the death of ships with sails

water that has touched the shore of Borneo

yet carried home an eskimo

water as alien as space

moving with infinite grace

water rising up as cloud

is falling onto fields we’ve plowed

water wherein grow the clams

it turns the turbines in our dams

water that has taken lives

but cradled there an otter thrives

(into which the osprey dives)

 

Sand

Sifting, shifting

sliding, seeping

it is everywhere

adhering to the dirty clothes

scraping there, across my nose

inside tightly sealed containers

stuck to sandals and my trainers

in my ears

and hair

and teeth

gritting in my sheet for sleep

insidious, ubiquitous

surreptitious

t’ween my toes

and up my nose

and even in my, yes,

well, you can guess!

 

Maiden, Mother, Crone

the young girl sighs

and as she cries

believes utterly that her heart dies

then woman grown

she stands alone

defiantly, her heart she hones

’til her hand quakes

she creaks and aches

and then in truth, her heart does break

 

Compost

we become

old, brown compost

weighing almost nothing

fine and dry and crumbly

we begin

wet, green, individual

heavy with promise

creating heat and gasses and smells

we are heaped

and turned together

rubbing our edges against each other

spending our heat, losing cohesion

until

one day

we are incorporated into the whole

our selves indistinguishable

from other selves

and all of us together

creating nourishment

for what comes after

 

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