by Tammy L. Beevers
I watch him each morning,
this blue heron statuesque
in his indigo feather suit.
He crouches, legs folded
and watching as fish flirt
with the water’s edge
The heron strikes,
his beak instantly a skewer,
his neck elongated,
beautiful as an orchid stem.
Startled by sound,
he stretches his wings,
soars, then dives
into the dense green.
Tammy L. Beevers hails from Seneca Falls, New York, but says she's really a born-again Texan who's called Central Texas home for over 30 years. Her poem "Aspen" has been chosen as one of 10 winning poems for San Antonio's Via Metropolitan Transit's “Poetry on the Move” contest during National Poetry Month 2011, and “Texas Panhandle Slow Drive” appears in 2011 Texas Poetry Calendar.
by Tracy Sopko
Dust isn’t so hard to come by in the South.
What with so many sources:
The powdered sugar remnants of primordial bodies,
The sun-burnt flaking paint of seven thousand and thirty two
And the equally scorched and peeling remnants of once-people,
There is enough dust here to inter a culture.
Under the auspices of an isolationist Mason-Dixon
We would coalesce. State lines soften,
Then give way entirely - weather patterns and jet streams
Melding misshapen clods. Swept behind the Mexico-couch
And best left forgotten.
These aren’t memories in the attic
to be brought down a rickety flight of stairs, and
Picked through with the grandkids. These aren’t the
Ill-fitted pieces of nostalgia. No, this is skin, twelve years old,
with a dust bowl haircut
Nothing approaching style, but with a hint of
Pizzazz in the economy of it. No,
This is dust like Nuclear fallout,
Or triangular trade runoff.
This is dust like war,
Dust like war paint,
This is the dust of the survivors.
Tracy Sopko was born and raised in small Florida town, hovering, like the state itself, on the fringes of Southern culture. She currently lives in Jacksonville and attends the University of North Florida.
by Hastings Hensel
Each ring a year we cut into, open up,
hacking back every hour the decades.
We keep on, stroke after tiring stroke—
wedge, push, cuss, talk about chainsaws
that would show the tree’s history
as cleanly as a timeline in a textbook.
What makes us want to labor in camp—
an afternoon through blisters, bees, heat—
for a climax so brief? Half an hour in,
and what? We chop through to 1998:
Sosa homering, McGwire homering,
James Byrd dragged through Texas
by four white men in a pickup truck,
and the two of us, fifteen, learning how
to unclasp our girls’ padded bras
in empty dugouts on a Friday night.
It is concentration honed by the blade,
and these damp chunks of brown wood
that splay out like seconds with each chop.
Tell me, friend, what hard knot keeps it up?
Why does this hemlock not fall down
until your last tragic swing of the axe
and the quick, loud crash of a thing
the same dead age as our grandfathers?
Tell me again what we are left with
but a stump, some kindling, the half-life
of a life? We are left with our voices
drifting like ash by the necessary firelight.
Hastings Hensel lives in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, and his writing has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Shenandoah, Gray's Sporting Journal, The Hopkins Review,
We got a direct message earlier today from Twitter friend @KnitoriousMEG telling us about her most recent yarn bomb. For those of you not familiar with the yarn bomb (we only recently learned about them), it's the practice of knitting pieces for public spaces. You could call it graffiti knitting, but we like to think of it as graffiti with a little more class. Well, KnitoriousMEG has been yarn bombing Richmond, Virginia, for a little over a year now. She says her favorite things to tag are "something that once served a purpose but now doesn’t, like a signpost with no sign." The target of her April yarn bomb does in fact serve a historical purpose, but we think you'll agree it looks much better with some embellishment. Richmond's Monument Avenue cannon, situated between Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis, now sports a cozy, colorful cover in honor of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. To see more photos and find out what KnitoriousMEG bombs next, visit her blog, like her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.
by Erren Geraud Kelly
place i head back to
i'll never belong to again
My family accepts, if not
Love me for what i am
The streets are always the
Summer heat makes
And gumbo tastes
With beer on a hot
I look on the parade
I used to
I wonder about shannon
I refuse to
believe she didn't love me
Funny, i don't take the
I gave to my
I see my
I don't need him
The streets are
still the same
Erren Geraud Kelly is a poet based in New York City by way of Louisiana. A graduate of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, he has been writing for 21 years and been published in Hiram Poetry Review, Mudfish and Poetry Magazine. Most recently, he was published in " In Our Own Words," a Generation X poetry anthology. "The themes in my writings vary," says Kelly, "but I have always had a soft spot for subjects and people who are not in the mainstream. I never limit myself to anything, I always try to keep an open mind."
Big news in the fashion world for spring is the release of Florence, Alabama, designer Billy Reid's tennis shoe design for K-Swiss. Reid put his own washed and weathered twist on the unisex shoe, which comes in navy, white and grey canvas. The shoe's function as the perfect summer sneaker isn't even the best part though. Special mailings of the sneakers arrived in a gorgeous wooden box handmade in Alabama. According to Reid's website, the shoes will be available this spring online and in shops, so keep an eye out, especially for that distinctly Southern box.
by Gregory Luce
"I remember the way the mimosa tree buttered the shade
Outside the basement bedroom, soaked in its yellow bristles."
- Charles Wright
I too remember mimosas
two of them in my grandparents’
yard the pink bottle-brush
blossoms helicoptering down
the almost-not-there scent
trailing and how I had to sweep
them off the driveway
or scrape them when
the rain glued them down
to the concrete
how hateful the labor
and how much would
I give to do it again
now as my grandfather
finishes mowing the lawn
after dinner and starts
the sprinklers and we go
inside for one last iced tea
cicadas burring the
Gregory Luce was born in Texas and still resides below the Mason-Dixon line in Washington, D.C., where he works as production specialist for the National Geographic Society. He is the author of two chapbooks, "Signs of Small Grace" and "Drinking Weather." His poems have appeared in Kansas Quarterly, Cimarron Review, Innisfree Poetry Review, If, Northern Virginia Review, Juke Jar, Praxilla, Little Patuxent Review, Buffalo Creek Review and in the anthology, "Living in Storms." To find out more, visit his blog or follow him on Twitter @dctexpoet.
by Diane Kimbrell
Othermama’s biggest fear in life was death. Her second biggest fear was that she would be buried in potter’s field—a bleak burial ground for paupers located about a mile outside our hometown of Quicksand, North Carolina. To make sure she didn’t end up there without so much as a stick to mark her grave, Othermama, my maternal grandmother, took out an insurance policy with the Quicksand Mutual Trust Agency. She had no intention of being buried in an “ole cold, pine wood box,” as she put it. Her monthly payments to Mr. Mosely, the tall, thin insurance man, ensured that she would be laid to rest in a satin-lined coffin with a lid. Although she couldn’t bear the idea of being closed inside of anything, it was preferable to being exposed to the elements and eaten by worms—worms, which by the way, were her third biggest fear.
Othermama had always lived with us. To this day, nobody in my family will admit it, but we all dreaded her death as much as she did. I never understood why she was so afraid of passing on to her final resting place. Perhaps she feared being cast into the Devil’s lake
by N. A’Yara Stein
Life. Domain. Kingdom.
The embayment alongside the alluvial plains
Is where I was born and where I grew up.
It’s a trip to see some rare November cotton:
Commissioned to collect, record, and describe,
Identify by name each rigid principal of tribe.
We get out and stand around.
No one there knows me now.
Extinct, I’m just going through the motions.
I tell you a secret even I don’t know
Showing you the succession of great-greats
On tombstones that begin to begin in 1753.
Phylum. Class. Order.
Rank is relative, restrictive to schema.
By summer’s end the boys in these towns
Will molt, farmer’s tan and all, into men.
Without the built-in checks to help
You keep the many names straight,
That rudimentary or basic knowledge
Important to survival, you talk with no one.
Family. Genus. Species.
In the antebellum kitchen we cut onions.
Developed from a common ancestral form,
Monophyletic, some places we never reach.
We eat in silence. You say you love the food.
We are both crying tears we don’t mean.
Hybrid. Variety. Aberration.
Between me and you, a distinction is to be made;
I've crunched all the numbers, culled the statistics.
A tiny mass of Latin rattles in my brain;
Words scribble like wasps on the water’s surface.
Somewhere between this moment and forever,
Somewhere between the two extremes,
There is some kind of common
by Lyn Lifshin
you know the story of
the woman in a
turret and how ivy
puts its fingers
across the moon.
And besides, no one
could hear. Ivy
that grows like
kudzu in the
deepest part of Georgia
swallowing up a
in one night. I would
have lowered my long
hair to a lover,
lured him with blood
in a bottle, each
drop a ruby with
a poem etched on it.
Or carved my initials
in the grey stone
around his heart. I’d
have talked to the
birds or waited,
slept 20 years, given
away my children.
Only I was outside
trying to get in
Lyn Lifshin lives in Virginia and has written more than 120 books of poetry, including "The Licorice Daughter: My Year With Ruffian," "Before It's Light," "Cold Comfort" and "Another Woman who Looks Like Me." Her new book, "All the Poets Who Have Touched Me, Living and Dead: All True, Especially the Lies," is receiving strong reviews. To find out more about Lyn or purchase a book, visit her website.