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I love this poem and its imagery. (Also I've lived in the southeast countryside all my life and I still feel terrified by it.)
holy shit queenie this is amazing and the perfect mirror to mine
for some a purgatory
filled past eternity with
in the sea of greens
the thread of sun-bleached rain-washed asphalt
that twists and swoops
around hills speckled
with salt-and-pepper cattle
and yellow-gold flecks of tied-up hay
pulled and braided like shorn hair
and the single store
across a red-clay-streaked street
yellow lines so faded that we run on assumption
the dog barks
and chases every car
that pulls in across from her
wooden siding gray as the pavement
where the paint has chipped and peeled
her name is lily
she defends the singular store
with cigarettes behind the counter
and pencils beside
a child’s paradise in the form of a wall
covered in crayola-colored candies
the woman inside
is older than anyone can remember
and her hair is whiter
than the house across the street
her son is there too
his name is mike
when i was smaller
he’d pick me up
so i could reach the dollar ice cream
inside the icebox
and once he tolerated me
when i climbed on the counter
to braid his hair
and two men sit in chairs by the door
they have always been there too
in the half-light
through the paper-plastered front window
and they drink coffee
careful not to spill on camouflage jackets
and well-worn leather boots
red from the clay they’ve stood in
they talk about the before
and compare it to the now
and they talk about
how the now can be better
how nice it is that their daughter
can be in the military now
and how the solar panels
on their hot tin roof
help so much
and they talk about stamps
and their guns in the back of their trucks
and hunting the bear that’s been killing their
they say that the past is nice too
before cookie-cutter houses sprung up
and chain restaurants forged their way in
before a night-black road came in beside
and the days when a president’s skin
was not orange or black
before when anyone could come in
regardless of their skin
and then we could hate them
for whatever else they’d got
and patriotism didn’t mean
so we sit in the shadows
of purple-blue mountains
as the wind blows through the trees
that line the roads
that may turn to gravel
and we watch
picket-fence perspective lines
fade into the humidity
the cardinals and sparrows fly
and sit on the graves of
names faded with indifference
some kept in the best shape
are of a different shape than the rest
and the next church
offers hope too,
regardless of who you voted for
when you last stood inside
but eternity isn’t so bad
and purgatory is my backyard
okay so @thepensword directly inspired me with "American Purgatory" (go read it, it's gorgeous) to actually follow through on the effort I've been making to describe the small town in the American Southeast that I live in. I want to make clear that I am NOT mad at you/offended, Jess, I just wanted to show my corner of where she's seeing from someone who's lived here for a while.
Second note: the lines in this poem "some kept in the best shape/ are a different shape than the rest" refers to how the graves of confederate soldiers are a specific shape. And we've got some of those around here. Most people can recognize the shape. That said, not a single person nearby me has a confederate flag displayed at their house.Edited by queenie_flower
okay I have some respect for the southeast countryside seeing as I live there but I love how you wrote this?
On 3/13/2018 at 9:07 PM, Apollo's Lover said:
I have a Meadowbrook near me too, but it's in the suburbs.
i also have a meadowbrook close to where i live!
bridges traversing open, rolling seas;
brown-green grass and hay-bale yellow,
scraggy trees and pickup trucks.
each gas station is alike to the rest, each
red pump and
beer for sale
rusting faucet and
shelves of cigarettes.
here is a grove of old farmhouses and mobile homes.
the fenceposts lead into eternity;
this is a special kind of purgatory.
i am nose-to-the-glass, or
cow, i point—
that's our game, our
roadtrip pastime, though here:
points are far too easy to come by.
(maybe we should switch to counting tractors.)
timeless expanses and
rolling, similar fields.
there's cotton, there,
clouds cast in miniature among the brown stalks,
and, squinting, can i see the ghosts of the people wronged?
(how many points for that sheep?
how many for a race's dignity?)
this is a special kind of purgatory
one in which i am a stranger
passerby, migratory bird:
bright feathers, exotic, flying
past sparrows on fences,
home to my concrete trees and
this is a haunted universe,
but who am i to judge it?
who am i to judge the people who sleep
beneath those graves,
in yonder church after
nestled among the cornfields?
(i am but a stranger, and cannot know their lives.
yet, with feather-eyed opinions,
i will be glad to return home.)
aka the southeast countryside terrifies me in a guttural way and i cannot help it please forgive me it's all cowfields and republicans hhhhh
Oh this is great! I have so many weird dreams.
I dreamed once that I was scuba diving with this group of people; we were exploring and we found this underwater sunken ship, but there was air inside and it was really well lit, and there were pink, flowered plants growing in the sunlight inside it. We were for some reason really excited that it was an old launching point for submarines. There were some ancient, rusty subs docked in the bottom.
We had taken off all our gear in the air pocket, but for some reason we had to put it on again AFTER we went back out into the water... so we had to hold our breath while swimming and trying to put our gear on. And then we had to go back into the ship because there were still some people in it (they left their air tanks there or something). Then it mysteriously started sinking farther into the sea and taking on water, so we all ran out of the ship.
Also I think I dreamed this all from the point of view of my mother.
over protruding wrist bones,
eczematic winter tendencies
this skin is
parchment paper but
cold porcelain a
runs through my
only shows up in my
I was in my house and we have a glass sliding door and I heard dogs barking and I thought it was my dog but he was under the bed and then I heard more and looked outside the sliding door into my backyard and saw about 2 dozen dogs just running across my backyard. Quick note about my house: it has two paths on each side of it so that you can just keep running around my house.
So after I saw that I was really confused and then this guy in a gas mask and jumpsuit with a huge vacuum attached to his back and he had the hose-thingie in his hand and he was just like waddling towards the dogs. We have curtains at the sliding door and so I hide behind them and I heard paws scratching concrete as they ran on the right side of my house. So I drew the curtains back and then I didn't see anything in my backyard. So I tried to forget what I just saw but then I heard barking again and looked back outside and saw dogs getting sucked into this dude's vacuum. I yell and he hears me and he turns towards me and I hide. But then he knocks on the glass and now I'm scared as hell.
For some reason I decide to go outside, and I pick up this really fat dog and toss it at him (apparently I'm just Superman now) and then the dog gets stuck in the hose and the thing implodes in his face and IT'S LITERALLY RAINING DOGS.
Anyway, that's a dream I had a while back, but I somehow remember it 'till now.