by Melva Holliman Praying for May in the south,
Fragrance of sweetness in the air,
Calling to my inner love,
A love, of blueberry, bitter to taste. Load up the car with buckets,
Tell the kids we will play a game,
Off to the field we charge,
Welcome blueberry season again. No warning needed when they are in bloom,
They beckon to their lovers,
And lack defense against the enemy,
A predator that can ruin their beauty. Those that survive multiple,
They are more than a berry,
A cake, tart, pie,
Possibilities are many. Melva Holliman graduated from the University of Mississippi with a Bachelor's in English and Philosophy. She is currently a graduate student at the University of South Alabama working towards a Master's in English.
by Kevin Heaton Bass bullfrog croakers,
join green tree frog
tenors, in pine bough
choir lofts, over swamp
wrinkled cyprus feet. I lay me down on mossy
pillows, in peaceful: forgotten,
backwater places, and dream
of Tupelo Honey. Kevin Heaton lives and writes in South Carolina. His latest chapbook, “Measured Days,” was recently released from Heavy Hands Ink Press, and his work has appeared in Foliate Oak, Elimae, Hanging Moss Journal, Pirene’s Fountain and many others. He is listed as a notable poet at KansasPoets.com. To read more of his work, click here.
by Corey Hutchins I walked by him with a light air of disdain
as a mask for my unfashionable curiosity and pity.
A heart-wrenchingly beautiful Mexican man,
a boy whose skin the sun craved to seduce with its embracing heat,
Was crouched in front of the coffee shop,
picking up with working hands pieces of plastic and wire.
Everyone walked past him without a second glance,
if they had given him a first.
The manager sternly instructed him to use the bathroom quickly
because they were closing when he finally raised himself and stumbled in.
But I secretly loved his chestnut skin
as I quietly sipped my coffee
And wished I hadn’t looked at him like I had before
for the sake of my friend’s judgment. Corey Hutchins recently completed her master’s degree in Renaissance literature from the University of Edinburgh and is living and working in Plano, Texas, as volunteer coordinator for the North Texas Food Bank. Her poetry has been published by Windmill, Shinshi, and a handful of stones. About this poem, she says, "I live in Texas, and this particular piece was inspired by the ambivalent relationship a lot of people around here have with the growing Hispanic population. This is someone's first shameful realization of her own hidden racism."
by Dante Di Stefano I could die there at the Chevron Food Mart,
be reborn at the Kangaroo Express,
and die again at the Oxford Gas Mart.
I could die eating chicken on a stick,
make art from clogged arteries, and express
the perfect poem in the shape of thick
sweet potato fries. I could die between
the aisles of beef jerky and Valvoline. When I die, the guy behind the counter
has got to be named Dug, spelled D-U-G,
and he’s got to smile, so as to counter
the somberness of all mortality.
Dug, let my life be like catfish deep fried:
crisp, good, dashed with hot sauce before I die. Dante Di Stefano currently works as a high School English teacher in his hometown of Binghamton, New York. His work has appeared most recently in Poetry, Quarter After Eight, and The Hollins Critic, and he says this poem is part of a collection that connects his travels in the South and the great people he's met.
Georgia's Vidalia Onion Museum opens April 29 in homage to the state's famous vegetable. By Erin Z. Bass Visitors to Vidalia, Georgia, expect to see Vidalia onions. In fact, they expect the streets to be lined with them and their sweet smell to waft through the car windows as they enter town. It’s an expectation that former reporter and marketer for the onion farmers Wendy Brannen understands well. And it’s why she felt the town needed a proper museum dedicated to the vegetable. It used to be that upon arrival to the Vidalia Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, visitors saw a sign out front advertising a “museum.” Brannen says the term was quite generous, as the museum consisted of a few posters and brochures. “It broke my heart when you had these people from faraway places who were so fascinated with our state vegetable and came all this way to see something,” she says. Brannen decided to do something about the problem and now, five years later, has a new sign and a new title to show for it. As executive director of the brand-new Vidalia Onion Museum, she’ll be welcoming visitors starting April 29 to a 1,300-square-foot space filled with educational exhibits that
by David W. Landrum
in memory of Earl Wade Beckwith At the sleepy station
where lizards grey as dust scurried,
fleet-footed, over berms of baking stone
and tracks gleamed in relentless sun,
the car pulled up, the Russians disembarked—
grey uniforms, red stars, red epaulettes
and smiles and handshakes;
later you would learn they were
in training at Fort Smith and would
be shipped back to contested steppes
to use the skills (whatever the skills were)
they had learned here. One gave you his red star.
Neither you nor he could speak
except by smiles, except by attitudes
that indicated friendship.
They climbed up when the whistle blew
and went into the distance
wavy with heated air,
fragrant with tar-smell from ties
soft-warmed in sun,
the caboose fading off
far past the spot imagination’s line
drew to a point, beyond experience. David W. Landrum is originally from Arkansas but lives and teaches in Michigan. He says this poem is a part of his family lore. "My cousin met Russian soldiers who had come to train in Fort Smith, Arkansas, during World War II and had the artificat mentioned in the poem - an encounter he related that has always intrigued me," he says. David's poetry has appeared in such journals as Gloom Cupboard, Small Brushes, The Formalist, Clapboard House, and many others. He also edits the
A Southern architecture fan's dream, 'Gone' remembers the South's once magnificent historic structures.
by Kati-Jane Hammet High in the dark, eyes closed and stretching to listen,
Listening, then, for something inside to be reflected
Outwards, light flashing through the bamboo shades and the shades
of eyelids, tight, moving with the tempo of tentative touches
on the tin roof, skin melding with the worn leather of the couch,
Slipping sideways, stuck, breath rising through the cage of ribs—
Up to the ceiling, or further out, and in, then where sight stops,
Even in the dark, and the gathering concussion of air and water
Displaced by sound, ripping through the night.
Then the silence. Kati-Jane Hammet, a graduate student at the University of South Alabama, lives in downtown Mobile, which she has added to her collection of Southern port cities. She attended the College of Charleston and grew up making regular pilgrimages to Savannah to shop at the mall in the years before her hometown of Bluffton, South Carolina, got known and swoll up with newcomers.
How to survive heat, port a potties, dust and more at the South’s slew of summer music festivals. By Tara Lynne Groth Summer in the South is hot, but full of good vibrations. Music festivals are a literal hot spot, and a handful are celebrating big anniversaries this summer. Their longevity is a testament to their ability to retain festival goers, offer better lineups and keep the atmosphere comfortable. According to North Carolina’s MerleFest, which celebrates its 23rd anniversary this year, “one-fifth of American adults now attend festivals while on vacation, with music festivals being the most popular choice.” With tickets selling out way in advance, it’s becoming a feat to claim a spot at one of the South’s notorious music events—and find a spot in the shade once there. Wildflower! Arts and Music Festival in Richardson, Texas, now offers shade shelters, Tennessee’s Bonnaroo boasts air-conditioned tents (one that screens films), and misting tents are popping up at more festivals like Wakarusa, held in Ozark, Arkansas. When there’s no shade, make your own. At camping music festivals, you can pitch your tent right next to your car. Bring an extra tarp and rope and create a breezeway between tent and vehicle by tying
by Heather Wilkins There is a swing upon the boughs
of a snow-laced southern oak tree,
and painted on its seat does smile
a red-faced strawberry. The stark contrast does give away
its hiding place in white;
to catch a glimpse of such bright red
is quite a lovely sight. What gentle bout of loveliness
this little fruit does shed—
to sit alone against the cold
and still to burn so red. So keep your smile every day
until the summer you see,
and watch the ashen snow give way
to the red-faced strawberry. Heather Wilkins is a native of Alabama and currently a graduate student at the University of South Alabama in the English program. She enjoys writing poetry dealing with animals and environmental concerns.