Poems to be Published in Dead Mule

Old Country MuleHave to thank my friend Lisa Allender who reminded me of this great site for southern poets. They’ve just taken four of my pieces for their September issue. So look forward to that. One funny thing is that they require a “Southern Legitimacy Statement” so it actually helped I guess that my grandfather actually did raise mules – who knew that would ever come in handy. I posted a new link to their site on my link list, check it out.

Here’s a sample:

I-95 Kenly, NC

Even as a boy without a license
barely seeing over the dashboard,
I knew my mother never understood
how to properly use the interstate.

She’d pull down the long ramp,
then obeying some invisible sign,
come to a full dead stop, look both ways
then pull out when the coast was clear.

Maybe I could tell it was all wrong
by her agitation and anxiety,
or maybe the tell was in horns blowing,
or the screeching tires behind us.

The interstate was new back then,
we’d gone from rural dirt roads,
to gooey asphalt that bled in the summer,
to concrete highways known only by numbers.

My Mom was intimidated by the speeds
the sheer size and scope of it all,
the feeling these roads somehow belonged
only to vacationers and rough truck drivers.

I remember getting my hands on a map:
DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, to New York;
Raleigh, Charlotte, Atlanta, to New Orleans;
Nashville, Memphis all the way to L.A.

While other boys traced fingers over
daddy’s forbidden busty centerfolds
I traced my escape route, having faith in the
string of unseen cities like rosary beads.

When I could drive, despite mother’s cautions
I accelerated to merge, itchy for speed
threw myself onto the interstate, cause
these things, these things can take you places.