Holly Thompson :: The Heeler’s Lyric; The Facts of the Legal Matter ::


Southern Legitimacy Statement: My submissions are sent to you with a promise of Southern Legitimacy, as I was born in Oak Ridge, Tennessee (birthplace of the atomic bomb) and continue to capture and pen down just a few of the ghosts that seem to lurk around Knoxville still. North Carolina has converted me, somewhat reluctantly, to imbibing Diet Pepsi and searching for new ghosts.

The Heeler’s Lyric

I was birthed in a pasture during a cicada summer
and then used my seven years to search for the old quiet
of nuzzling bodies, never quite finding it.
They are one constant alarm drone,
and if they’ve lit upon one August
then they’ve hit upon them all.

It was one of those days when the sky wouldn’t do
for you, two thirds of the way through
that long, hot year out of nowhere,
when nothing grew and nothing came from you.
The timbre of your dreams was different;
I caught the scent of it.

It could have been someone else yet in that fresh pasture,
which did smell of one thousand living things.
But it was myself and my tender herd,
who moved with me in unity, assured
that a great peace had ensconced the world,
as the Bible had promised you.

It was one of those nights when I slept against you,
as I always do, and your dreams yet flowed.
But the decades you lived before me
happened to collapse on us both.
And you, always tired to crumbling, lost your breath
and wouldn’t have it to lose again.

Recall once more
that I was born color-blind,
with no belief system and no power to signify —
I felt –
I feel –
that I was somewhere with nowhere to begin.

I slipped the fence, an electric variety,
and walked to the woods with the ancestral cemetery.
I spent everyday trying to be free
of those bygone chain-shaking haunts.
But you may know what even I know:
Nothing is free.

So when it’s just the earth and me,
the earth once and more often turned over,
not even begging seems to do.
I’m missing your deep empty pockets,
where you would have put stones
had you not shuffled off by chance before you lost composure

There is nothing here but what I have found before,
which leads me to think that there is not much that was.

The Facts of the Matter

Hard to get at the Truth
when it comes in several varieties,
each discernible only
on different microscope slides.
There’s the way you saw it; the way he saw it.
There’s the way that god mighta saw it,
had he been lingering thataway.
And then, of course,
there’s the way the birds saw it,
from the aerial perspective,
their supervisory eyes.
All those truths collide
and slide right on past each other,
into the dropdead wind.

This is where you come in,
Mr. Poston,
on Truth with a capital T.
That’s where you come in
with your suit and your JD.
That’s where you take your seat
across that table, lean on your elbows,
and begin the patchwork and the mostly-truths:
Was it possible?
Isn’t it possible?
Could it be possible?

What was it? And what was it not?
That gets lost down the drain
during the reconstruction,
which examines fractured pieces
that will betray the gaps
that are between those pieces.
We will not discuss those gaps.
We will not acknowledge those gaps
unless the other man does first.
We will not speak about
what can’t be spoken about.

(We’ll sort it out.
Now you’ll have to pull your shit together, man,
and I’ll get you on out of here, quick as I can.
Isn’t it possible? Isn’t it? Isn’t it?)