As for a Southern Legitimacy statement, here goes:
I was born and raised outside of Knoxville, Tennessee. One great-great-great grandfather was an abolitionist state representative in the Radical Republican legislature in Tennessee during Reconstruction. Another great-great-great grandfather was a member of the 1st Tennessee Cavalry, CSA, was wounded, captured, and interned at Camp Chase in Ohio, where he died from pneumonia. So, just like my ancestors, I am still trying to make sense out of the South and all its paradoxes.
October is the long-distance runner, sweating out the early burn and the
Dry gray cool of the state route on the same vacant pathway.
Church here, stray cotton,
Stubborn billboard, shreds of long-dead campaigns…
Desperation came to the South through the
Front door and found a home, tied to the porch
With the feists and plotts.
It’s loose on the weekends, haunting the beer joints,
Coursing the soybeans with a stick, by
Sunday, slouching, stumbling through rows of ripened
Headstones in the dusk.
Catch you some evening
Pumping gas in Windsor,
And it’s the fifth century
All over again.