Lady in Blue

I’m thrilled to announce that a poem of mine has been accepted and posted on a very cool project – The Erase-Transform Poetry Project.  This project started shortly after the inauguration of Donald Trump as US President.

About the project in their words:

Erasure poems offer a way to take existing text and pull forth poetry. The ERASE-TRANSFORM Poetry Project is a platform for transforming the language issuing from the White House in the hopes that it will encourage and inspire other transformative actions.

Beginning with the inauguration speech, we seek submissions that take that rhetoric and draw out life-affirming poetry. As time goes by, newer texts will be offered.

I hope that some of you will consider submitting to this project. There are some fantastic poets out there and I would love to read how you all transform some of the White House rhetoric into beautiful poetry!

Thanks for reading my submission – Lady in Blue

Grits and Gravy

Only one booth was open when we walked into Ken’s Corner on Saturday morning for breakfast. We slid into the booth and grabbed the menus. We were hungry and the place was packed. Our waitress came over pretty quickly to take our drink order.

“Good mornin’,” she began, “I’m Kimberly Clark. What can I get ya to drink?”

“Really?” my husband responded.

“Yeah,” she replied, “I do this as a side job.”

I scratched my face in wonderment. I didn’t get it.

“I have all my millions stashed away,” she said laughingly.

Oh, now I get it.

“This is our first time here,” John continued the conversation with her.

“Well, where’ve y’all been?” she chided us.

“The place is packed,” I said.

“It’s real busy on the weekends…but that’s a good thing.” She left us to get our drinks and chat with some of her other customers.

 

Photos of the Blue Angels hung above the prep area. Originally, the place was a Huddle House. Ken Johnston owned it then and still owns it now.

 

“I heard someone ran their car into the restaurant,” I said when Kimberly brought our drinks to the table.

“No, not that I know of,” she answered. “I’ve been here ten years. I think I woulda heard about that.  Are y’all ready to order?”

“How’s your sausage gravy?” I inquired. Coming from a family of Tennessee mountaineers, I know good sausage gravy when I taste it.

“Ya wanna try some? Here let me get ya a taste.” Off she went.

 

Meanwhile, John went to the restroom to wash up, having already ordered his meal.

“Restrooms are clean. And, they have hot water,” he announced when he returned..

 

Kimberly brought back the gravy sample…mmm, it’s good…gravy and biscuits for me.

A young family walked in. She saw them and greeted them as they walked in the door.

“I was just thinkin’ about y’all. How ya been?”

The family sat in the booth behind us. She chatted with them for a bit.

 

According to Kimberly, most of the customers are regulars. Some come in two to three times a day. She works day shift now; but, she has worked the night shift in the past.

“At night, it’s a whole different place,” she told us.  “The bars (she points to the Village Market area next to Ken’s Corner) close and the people come in. They like their coffee and eggs after they’ve been drinkin’.”

 

Our breakfast arrived with our various idiosyncratic food preps prepared just as we asked – John’s burnt toast swimming in butter and my biscuits with a small amount of gravy placed in a dish on the side.

The food was good. My cholesterol rose with every bite…Ken’s Corner has all the makings of a fine restaurant.

The Passing of an American Tradition

On a June evening in 1958, a few days before commencement, Byron Herbert Reece finished grading the final exams of his students, then neatly stacked the papers and placed them in his desk drawer. He sat entranced. The crisp north Georgia mountain air blowing in through the open window reminded him of his home only an hour away. The distance seemed an eternity to him. He walked to the phonograph, put on a Wanda Landowska rendition of Mozart’s “Piano Sonata in D”, then sat down and poured himself another drink hoping to numb the pain nagging at his heart.

It seemed he’d been lonely all his life. He desired to marry, but how could he even consider it? No matter how hard he had worked, and he’d worked damn hard, he always came up on the short end of the stick. America’s greatest lyricist, as the critics acclaimed him, suffering from the same tuberculosis of which his mother had died – his father dying still – got up, placed a bullet in his .32 automatic pistol, and killed himself.

Byron Herbert Reece, a farmer poet, lived simply and wrote of what he knew best, religion and mountain lore. His life and death epitomized the passing of an American tradition: hard work and honest living reward one for his efforts. Accordingly, Reece died an appropriate death, a self-inflicted wound to the heart.

http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/arts-culture/byron-herbert-reece-1917-1958

 

THE DAWN CAME DOWN

The round day was a circus tent

Across whose top the sun

Crawled like a fly on fiery legs.

But when the day was done

The night stretched out unendingly,

And I could scarce recall

Whether or not upon this spot

The dawn came down at all.

 

APPLE  PICKING

Autumn frosts the hedges,

The cricket plays his flute,

And high on ladder-ledges

The pickers pluck the fruit.

 

Before the sun has faded

Beyond the edge of day

The orchard is denuded,

The apples stored away;

 

Except those left to wither

And feed the sluggish bee

Because no hand could gather

Them from the tallest tree!

 

Ballad of the Bones and Other Poems – Byron Herbert Reece – page 69

More of Reece’s poems:

https://byronherbertreecesociety.wordpress.com/poetry-2/reece-poetry/

Why Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day?

Yes, Martin Luther King Jr. was a remarkable man, who worked tirelessly to right injustice and to bring equality to African-Americans. He was a man who held up despite prosecution and persecution for his beliefs; who gathered the masses peacefully together and who empowered them with his vision of change to start a movement. The movement he began eventually brought about the needed change; although accomplished without him as its leader. Martin Luther King Jr., killed on April 6, 1968, died for his ideals.

A wonderful man, yes, but throughout history there have been many wonderful, heroic, steadfast men and women, who fought and died for their ideals and visions. Why this man? Why, as a society, are we willing to stop for a day and reflect on the deeds of this one man?

He believed in

Love…

Martin Luther King Jr. preached change but he preached it through love, agape love – God’s love. Love your neighbor. Love those who hate you and desire to do you harm. Always look within first and remove the plank from your eye so you can see to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.

He promoted power to stand up for justice and truth but always with love. “What is needed is a realization that power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.” (MLK, Aug. 16, 1967)

He believed the only way to achieve his vision was through non-violent means. “For through violence you may murder a murderer but you can’t murder murder. Through violence you may murder a liar but you can’t establish truth. Through violence you may murder a hater, but you can’t murder hate. Darkness cannot put out darkness. Only light can do that.” (MLK, Aug. 16, 1965)

He surmised the battle against wrong could only be won without violence or bloodshed. If man would stand firm in truth, mountains could be moved – “The battle is in our hands. And we can answer with creative nonviolence the call to higher ground to which the new directions of our struggle summons us…truth crushed to earth will rise again.” (MLK, March 25, 1965)

Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed of a better world, a better America, a better man. In his dream the world loved God and every man that he created. “I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; “and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.”( Isaiah 40:4-5)

In this present day full of violence, hatred, and terror, a little love goes a long way – and a lot of love could solve many injustices and inequalities. “I have decided to love. If you are seeking the highest good, I think you can find it through love. And the beautiful thing is that we are moving against wrong when we do it, because John was right, God is love. He who hates does not know God, but he who has love has the key that unlocks the door to the meaning of ultimate reality.” (MLK, Aug. 16, 1967)

So on the day set aside to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., how best to honor him then by applying what he preached so fervently – love for God and love for one another. Love (and kindness) can make a world of difference and together we can make the world different.

This writer would like to extend a special gratitude to the family of Mr. King who sacrificed time without a father, grandfather, brother, cousin in order that the world might be a more just and loving place. 

Hangman’s Hill – It’s All in a Name

Vinings, it seems, has always been in a constant state of change. Researching information on the Overlook/Mt. Wilkinson Pkwy area (near the corner of Paces Ferry Rd and Cumberland Pkwy) led to the discovery of six different names being associated with just this section alone – Vinings Hill, MacRae’s Hill, Mount Wilkinson, Vinings Mountain, Signal Mountain (different than the one in Tennessee) and the most intriguing name by far, Hangman’s Hill.

Continue reading “Hangman’s Hill – It’s All in a Name”

Memory of Place and Space

What was once the empty parking lot of the Crossings Shopping Center, located on the NW corner of Concord Rd and South Cobb Drive, is now a thriving shopping plaza. Kroger located one of its largest stores in Atlanta at this location.

Funny thing with development – the memory of place and space remains despite changes made. Continue reading “Memory of Place and Space”

Nellie Mae Roe Where Did You Go?

Back in the 1970s, driving down Paces Ferry Rd into Vinings was a completely different experience.  There were no high-rises or urban restaurants or coffee shops. There was no upscale shopping center named Vinings Jubilee.

Back then, Vinings was a quaint village with clapboard houses lining the streets, a train station, an inn with a small restaurant, and not much else.  Continue reading “Nellie Mae Roe Where Did You Go?”