Monthly Archives: November 2018

The Best Thing About Tennessee

“The best thing about Tennessee is that you can leave it.” I’ve always said. Yet here I am.

Knoxville is a knot of highways. I can hit every direction and escape. Yet here I am.

The same breastaurant every night. I’m just as lonely here. Yet here I am.

I don’t want to be in this place. I want something better. Yet here I am.

I don’t want this life. But it’s all I know. And I stay.

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Home (Unquiet)

A teenage girl, maybe 17, in a black hoodie with a black bandana with white flowers covering her dark hair, sits on the crumbling sea wall on a cold and grey November day.

She holds a snow white lamb in her arms that is without blemish, and it nuzzles in close to her, tries to bury it’s head in her hoodie to keep warm.

A silver crucifix hangs from her neck, still shining, as storms threaten out in the sea, threatens to blow this whole city down.

 

She whispers into the lamb’s ears, unquiet and fearful prayers of what has become known, that the God she loves looked the other way.

The lamb burrows farther into her arms, and the first drops of rain smack her face an start to dampen the lambs wool, beyond swallowing.

The girl watches the dark clouds, though there were already storms in her heart, and she tries to hold onto the glory and the hope of grace.

 

The sea churns up, and the girl continues to whisper those fearful prayers into the lambs ears, and the lamb is as unquiet and fearful as she.

The silver is untarnished, and is hurtful to demons but not the Fae. The Fae the girl saw in the woods are still above reproach, even in wildness.

Hurtful to demons, but a demon, wearing holiness like a mask, placed it around her neck at confirmation, after trying to tell her she was nothing at all.

 

The girl picks up the lamb, and carries it close to her down the gaudy and commercial streets, without succor for her fears.

The storm is coming in, and she doesn’t want to lose this lamb, her guardian and her soul, all that she ever put beyond this world.

She makes it too her doorstep, but home is not home when you are lost inside. She kisses the lambs head. Can it’s wool remain unblemished? Can she remain whole?

 

A Precious Lamb

There was only a teenage girl on the train. She wore a black hoodie, and a black bandana with white flowers over her dark hair. All her clothes were dark.

She carried a snow white and unblemished lamb in her arms. She buried her face in it’s wool. She was crying, and whispering a prayer.

The girl had the quiet dignity and grace of a biblical heroine, from those drawings I used to see in my Sunday School class in my small southern church.

 

We were going through the underworld, through Tartarus and past Elysian Fields, to the place where the innocent are honored and healed, no matter their wounds.

The little lamb nuzzled it’s head against her cheek, and she kissed it and pulled it closer to her.

No angels saw her through this part of the journey, just the guardian she’d chosen from how she’d been in life. A precious lamb.

 

The tears carried away the poison and pain of her murder. The wool sopped it all up and swallowed it, all of it gone from her forever.

The day she was taken, she was to buy a lamb to raise as her own, in the little dirt backyard in that city by the ocean.

The sky was blue that day, with the white clouds like lambs up in the air, that would never gambol on the patchy grass of a city backyard.

 

I, the conductor, finally stopped the train, the end of the line for me. She was home now, where all would make her whole and free again.

She carried the lamb, held close to her chest, out into the sunlit meadows and everlasting spring, like in Heidi, her favorite movie.

Healing came in the wind, and the warm sunlight that dried her tears, and gave her soul the light to shine back at the world she’d been taken from.

 

She fell to her knees, and the lamb licked her face as she felt all the weight of her troubled life and violent death was lifted from her.

She let go of the lamb and it went running into those lush and gentle meadows, and smiling once more, she chased after it, off to a million adventures.

All was well for her now, all was healed and she was whole, the Light of God shining on her forever.

 

I reversed the train, headed back to Earth, to the living. More souls to the next world. More souls to meet their faces in their guardians.

Loved ones left behind, hurting, couldn’t only get the Light of God in shadows and in occasional waves.

On Earth, we all walked in brokenness, hoping all would be well someday, that we’d all be welcomed by Him.

Veronica

She is a faithful girl, the light burning still in her, as the war threatens in the morning.

She is here in the lake house with her acoustic guitar, singing mournful psalms for us.

Her eyes are wet. Ours are too. God close in the night. God close in our coming deaths.

 

She sings of Israel’s king crying out in the face of defeat, in the face of his wicked people.

She sings of the Shepherd who brings us to drink from cool waters, lie down in tall grass.

She sings of our tears being wiped away and all these sorrows being gone forevermore.

 

This lake house, our last peaceful night, my last moment with her before the war comes.

She sings through the night for us, and we love her for it, for her devotion to our time.

Prophetess, telling of a better way and a better world, as this one once more goes to shit.

 

In the morning, the pale orange sun rising on the water, the dreaded moment come,

she embraces each of us, clings tight to us, kisses our cheeks, prays quietly for us.

We head into the waking perdition, into the war, and she can only watch us as we go.

She Has A Present For Me

It’s the last of April.

I ride my bicycle on the little dirt road by the canal.

It’s my birthday today.

She has a present for me.

 

The sky is clear. No raging planes.

Just endless and blue. Not even clouds.

I imagine her in her navy blue dress.

I imagine her with a bow in her hair.

 

No guns now. I try to think about before.

Just think of the endless and blue sky above.

And her in her prettiest dress she still has.

Her wild, dark curls tied up in a red bow.

 

14, me and her, passing on to another world.

14 and not children but not our own people.

We’ll listen to love songs on a phonograph.

We’ll talk about getting married in Paris.

 

It’s my birthday. She loves me. I love her.

The war is over. She has a present for me.

A present made by her own hands.

A present she made just for me.

 

It’s the last of April. Almost there.

I can see her sitting on the front steps.

In her navy blue dress, red bow in her hair.

Box in her hand, wrapped up, waiting for me.

Between The Sky and The Sea

We drove all night, both of us 18, both of us thinking now we were free.

We drove all night through Georgia, 2 am empty streets of Atlanta, to the

very edge of the world, to the very last key, to the endless blue ocean.

 

The still soft light of morning was on us, the day full of promise and hope,

as we sat side by side on the beach, looking out to the ocean’s endless horizon.

We held hands, we felt tiny between earth and see, more than we ever did in church.

 

We drink soda pop with our eggs and hash browns breakfast in a small café.

The day is fully bright, and we have maybe $75, and no where to spend the night.

We don’t know anyone here, or where to find work, or what to do now with ourselves.

 

18 and we thought we were free, but the world is always there; sometimes home is too.

We drove back to Maryville, still carrying the feeling of being found by being lost in awe,

but we have not made our plans for escape, and sometimes plans are not enough.

Welcome Home

I am back now, from that dark time and place.

I long for you to welcome me, to touch my face.

I wait, sitting in the lawn, twilight in bitter November.

Faith and the falling sun, a vanquished, fading ember.

 

I just have to go to the door, and knock, to be let in.

I have in your love all the angels I could ever win.

But the echo and emptiness linger in inside me now.

If I have not your faith, how can I ask for a wedding vow?

 

The cold is soothing, the wind blowing my face flush, raw.

Of this world and the way it runs, their is no hope and no law.

You have faith in a god of light that’ll wipe away all our tears.

You have faith in a god of love, who in the sky our prayer hears.

 

The cold howls me about, as it goes dark, the stars a bitter light.

The stars we kissed under before I went to that dark place of sight.

I have no faith, and it’s better to hurt with the truth, than hold a lie near.

I love you, and your faith is real, but in my secret places, nothing is dear.

 

 

 

School Days

I walk in the dusty and dirty halls of our old school. Even through tainted windows the bright spring sun shines bright in the empty classrooms and halls. The happy children painted on tapioca yellow walls seem as joyous as they did when we were young.

It’s warm, spring truly here, and I remember me and her, young children full of curiosity and energy, learning about the sun and the stars, and what made the grass grow and the world spin and the seasons come and go.

When you are a child, you can believe and light and the sun and the goodness of the great big world, even as you feel terror in the darkness and the things you cannot name and how they spin through the stars.

 

I walk outside to the rusted and broken playground equipment, the broken and cracked asphalt of the little basketball court, the basket with it’s shredded net. The swings up against the chain link fence, where the childhood jungle of the forests meets us.

We looked deep into those forests one day, as spring had come and all was green and bright, and you saw a white unicorn. I saw her too. We were blessed for a time then, chosen and allowed to enter between the cracks.

We made kingdoms, just us, not even regents or royalty, just Adam and Eve before the truth came, among miracles and wonders and a dream of neither death or it’s beginnings.

 

I sit now, in the dry and yellow grass, by that same forest that is named shamed and lost. So long since the rains came. You’re not here anymore either, and the wound is raw and not even scabbed. Human wickedness took everything. The war took everything.

Even as we were children the hooks of the parasitic worms of corruption dug into our flesh, into our souls, drug us into the dirt. You cannot be in the world and not of it. Things changed. We became too much like them.

The sun is bright and the day is warm, but spring and its hope and promise are past now. This place still echoes with love and dreams, our the memories of you. As I look into a ruined forest, I saw a famished and sickly unicorn looking back at me.

Papa

You went to the war, but I’m just broken.

We’re both rambunctious, when not soft spoken.

Hit on waitresses, joke with a stranger, leave with a smile.

Tell nothing true or real, just let it all burn, that’s our style.

 

You’ll comment on Facebook on a link about a bastard in D.C.

You’re excited when I get home, but won’t say anything else to me.

I didn’t come from a mad home like you did, but I’m just as sealed in.

I have your love, I am your good son, but your soul I cannot ever win.

 

We rode all the way to the sea when I was a boy, when you drove a big truck.

When I was little it was so easy, before I had my troubles, you were playful puck.

I had my dark days and I turned away, and I can’t be the sweet child that I was before.

I don’t know how I ended up this way. I never wanted for love. I never fought a war.

We’re All Going To Die

We’re all going to die. We don’t know what’s next.

The west is burning, as if Hell itself had come to us.

The oceans are hot and that means we can’t breathe.

The oceans wash us away like Atlantis long ago.

 

We make enemies of each other, lords of ourselves.

We look with hate and suspicion at anything outside.

Horded with guns and canned goods up in the hills,

you’re still going to die, still going to pass on from this world.

 

Lines over everything, borders and haunted faces, so much fear.

All this will mean nothing, when we’ve wiped ourselves away.

We’re all going to die. We’re all cold here. We’re all weak shapes.

We’re all going to die someday, and none of this means shit.