Fireball Whiskey Kinda Night

Andra-Watkins-Images-Fireball-Whiskey

We stood together

tips of toes just touching

covering the Burgess & Niple medallion

which I think marks where aliens

landed that night back in the winter of 1960

but you said it was just a surveyor’s marker

flush in the macadam of the Trace.

Grandaddy’s red pickup truck, forlorn

sits abandoned on the verge.

With mints clinched between our teeth we

sip Fireball whiskey – we heard it will fizzle and burn

and maybe give us a new high

as if we need one after the day we just had.

Eyes raised to the sky, we wait for a flash

a streak, a blaze across the sky.

When that happens it will be our signal to write our names

on the pavement in yellow crayon

then climb back into the truck cab

bump along down the road,

back to Natchez.


This story poem was inspired by Andra Watkins Tumblr pictorial of her day along the Natchez Trace. The images above belong to Andra Watkins and link to her Tumblr. Follow Andra’s journey to walk every one of the 444 miles of the Natchez Trace just as her character’s do in her epic novel, To Live Forever An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis.

For another found object poem, please read Song of the Moon.

A vision

Sunlight streams through the glass.
Arranges itself in rectangles
upon worn oak floorboards.

She steps into the light
as an actress steps onto the stage.
She claims this place.
All composure. All stillness.

Her pale hair forms a caplet
about her shoulders.
Her arms cross her chest
hidden in folds of jewel-tone squares.
The quilt she clutches
around her torso like a queen’s mantle,
wraps her in family fabric.


Note: This vision was gifted to me in the night. I was both the girl in the light and the observer. It is as if the spirit of Andrew Wyeth took over my dreams and painted this image in my brain. The glowing colors of the squares of the quilt radiated in the gleaming sunlight. The texture of the word floors and the warmth of the golden light are actually felt. I am wishing I could paint, so I could capture this visually. Hopefully, the words will suffice.

Autumn Litany

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Gladdening skies greet the Autumnal Equinox.

Earth’s journey dims as mine begins.

Yellow. Gold. Pink. Purple.

Roadside flowers.

Ruderal species have advantage.

Opportunists, they

thrive in disturbed margins.

I chant their names in concert

with their fall reappearance.

Yellow. Gold. Pink. Purple.

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Goldenrod tall on the shoulders

Sentinel flag. A waving banner.

Dips in the car’s slipstream.

Purple Gerardia / hairy false foxgloves,

in balloon-bud, vow clouds of fuchsia.

Here a riot of pink Morning Glories

open-throated, sing in cool crispness. Climbing over

fences. Rosy pink gleaminess.

While whiter cousins, Man-root glories

trumpet with violet gullets.

Joined by the mauve Asters.

Constellations of petals.

Button composite centers.

Perfect bunches.

Pink knotweed spikes.

Minuscule buds like clustered

Pearls. I know you too.

Yellow. Gold. Pink. Purple.

In flooded ditches shrubs–

Marsh Mallows. Hibiscus moscheutos.

Wild cotton they call you. Your cultivated cousins

stand in rows. You, though, are unruliness.

Shrubby excess. A gleam of white

at the edge of dark woods. Your throat

deep purple unseen at sixty miles an hour.

Yellow. Gold. Pink. Purple.

Dotted Horsemint. Whorls its stem.

Fills ditches in gleeful resurgence.

Yellow. Gold. Pink. Purple.

Edited 2013-09-29 15.42.49

Upland, purple blue morning glories

anthem of delight. Intensity.

And a final chorus.

My floral recital.

Every verse spoken.

Ritual. Seasonal reappearance.

My fall litany. Anthem really.

The First

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I am not the first nor are you the last child of a child.

Yanked into this world with love you are more tiny and more precious then I could ever imagine and yet contain a love so large.

The hard old soul of me is cracked and washed anew in a baptism of tears so spontaneous I have no idea where they came from.

And now hundreds of miles away from you I cry again to hold you, to touch you, to smell and adore you.

My Grandmother’s House

My-Grandmother's-Raby-Castle-Desk-Cachepot-AKA-Napkin-Holder

My dreams are the source of poetry.

Last night I purchased my grandmother’s home. Built in 1880, it’s Victorian darkness is my heart home. Last night in dreams, I walked the rooms, pointing out in each, memorable architectural elements, evidence of the house’s provenance.

Though the front of the house was obscured by a mundane commercial facade and an insurance office crammed with desks occupied the formal rooms, traces showed. The tall radiators were still in place and the French windows onto the porch were there and I knew it was the parlor.

My vision added more volume to the house.

There were tracks in the floor where large paneled doors slid, dividing one large room into small ones. A Victorian emulation of Japanese shoji screens.

Wandering the vast spaces, I tried to determine where to place my bed, finding several suitable rooms.

The Butler’s pantry with its cubbyholes and narrow shelves and enameled counters was entirely the figment of my dream as it never existed in life. I envisioned using it to prepare pies, store groceries. Though I was confounded to learn that a renter lived in it and I could not use it.

I added a non-existent screened porch around the perimeter of the house, complete with Chinese-style fretwork trim superimposed in the field of the screens. On each rail there was a collection of miniature porcelain, reminding me of her collections. Annotations on the rails told me the items were placed there by another in tribute to her.

At last I was seated with a crowd unknown people present for a business event. They did not know who I was and did not know the house was now mine. One wondered if foul play was responsible for Mrs. Compton’s demise as she passed away in her bed at the age of 95. Speaking up, I said it was her own will. On Thanksgiving Day after turkey consumed and adult grandchildren departed she stated, “I’ll not get back up out of this bed until they carry me out feet first.” And she didn’t.

Opening my eyes I see the brilliant cut-crystal powder jar, once hers, which I cherish. Then rolling over, I looked across the room and see her former dining room mirror. Tall with a rounded top, it originally was the tilting mirror for a vanity, re-purposed, it hung on her dining room wall. It hangs today, by the same wires, upon my wall.

In my kitchen I put away dishes and my hand lingers on the blue transferware plate from which I enjoy my breakfast. And my eyes fall on the napkin holder, a painted tin container she used just as I do, its image of Raby Castle inviting me to other flights of fantasy.

These talismans of her life embedded in my own summon her to me. Her spirit suffuses each item. No haunting, more a loving. Her tender affection surrounds me and buoys my life in her death. I find her with me. And I am loved.