Southern Legitimacy Statement: I hereby swear that I love my MaMaw and see her about once a year. I know where the Mason-Dixon line is supposed to be though I have never been able to actually find it while traveling. I have nothing against grits so long as they ain’t movin’. I have no idea why you hate Canada.
For Little Sister: Three Poems
For little sister
You have found the secret place,
this baptism, this white chalice,
where Clytemnestra webbed the meanings,
where a traitor screamed as a blind girl
sang all loss, where we all come, soon,
or late, when the world enforces whispers.
This confession chamber, chancel, where
I shed and blessed my first menstrual blood.
Here where no shame need abide in wounds,
where silver needles sting the pain awake
and drown it, and the drain removes the clues.
Here your tears come all chameleon.
Here betrayals forgive your silence,
and your body quivers with fear and longing,
yet sets your cry free, whole in its circle of rain,
your words, unsealed till the end of time. Let
go. No one will know. No one will ever know.
Dick Dirt’s Last Draw
This is the life, writer man.
My world, your words.
Write me up good.
Richard Terra, Terror
of the Wild West—just
tell the truth, kid.
Welcome to Heaven,
best town this side of Tombstone.
The roulette wheel is fixed,
the gin is pure nitro. The bank
is a cinch, the dice are loaded.
The Injuns are gone for good.
Upstairs is paradise,
true love for a price.
The Sheriff blew town with the school marm.
The dealer’s a preacher,
the suckers lose everything.
It’s all wide open, see?
I’ve got spies everywhere,
just in case of a ringer.
Still, it’s endless fun.
Just keep your back to the wall.
Trust no one at all,
and watch out for——.
I long for the authentic,
in a world gone all wrong,
and so I come to Happy Daze
to wind myself in memories.
A double decker, fries and shake,
Elvis and Buddy on the juke,
roller skating waitress brimming
with cherry cokes in the sweet notes of love.
Ads for toothpaste and deodorant,
and everything shining and clean,
white floors, white, white walls.
Nothing breaks here, not even hearts.
Inside I commune with innocence.
Outside a vague world shifts its gears.
While my breath lasts I am free of time,
guarded by stainless napkin angels.
I admire the details of this brilliant
imitation, and till we meet again,
pass a framed photograph of Trigger,
stuffed and poised for immortality.