Thursday, June 22, 2017


Cindy rains and rain
fond memories of last year's drought
grow like fungus on our feet


Conjure Woman

Mama made a leaf man the year Daddy ran off. She said a leaf man wouldn't hold up well, but he'd last long enough. I didn't want her to send anything after Daddy. Even though I was glad he was gone, and not just because Tom and I could get real private in his workshop. Mama didn't know about what Daddy did, and she would have been real mad. Madder than she was.

Mama was particular about the leaves. Oak for strength, willow for passion, cane for flexibility, pecan for the mind. It's important, she said, to get the right mix. Otherwise, leaf men won't mind hardly at all. No more than real-life ones.

She didn't let me watch, said I didn't have the conjure spirit. She was right. I could never do some of that stuff you had to do. Hard enough to do what Tom wanted when we were alone together.

When it was done she led the leaf man to Daddy's workshop. The creature wasn't big. It was late in the year and I'd had trouble finding enough good leaves. If you use spoiled leaves the leaf man will be spoiled, she said. He was shaggy, leaves sticking out everyplace, but he moved like he had a purpose and meant to get to it.

Mama whispered in his ear. He leaned to the door like he was getting a scent, then made off down the road. That's when I thought I should say something, even though Mama would find out about Tom and me. It was too late: the leaf man was gone, and I kept quiet.

When the Sheriff told us, I knew he suspected Mama, but he never charged her. I didn't tell, just like I didn't tell Mama about Tom. The way I screamed when the Sheriff told how Tom was found, and the look she gave me...she knew. Had sent her creation after Tom apurpose, never after Daddy. I hated her then, left home soon after. I had nightmares for years about how it must've been like, choking on leaves and them keeping on coming as the thing crawled down his throat. Tom pulling them out and out, but never fast enough.

Now she needs me; can't talk or hardly move since the stroke. I sit by the bed, and the look she gives me now, I think we're both wondering: do I _still_ hate her?

Publ. 2009,

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Stone lithography

I am looking into the commercial uses of various kinds of stone, in connection with helping to revise a book about all of the rock formations in the state of Alabama. I know that, once upon a time, printing was done by means of stone lithography, and it must have been big business, because newspapers were printed that way. So there must have been stone lithography, probably in the 19th century, in Alabama. Where did the stone come from? There is near lithographic quality limestone in the Tuscumbia Limestone, according to a paper I have seen. An art professor and I took a look at some Bangor limestone, because he was interested in making some lithographic art prints from it, but that investigation never went anywhere. The stone that we saw contained scattered small fossils which were too large and would have rendered the limestone unusable for lithography. So, if anyone knows where lithographic limestone was mined/quarried for the purpose of printing newspapers or anything else, in Alabama, please let me know.

Update: I have been told that at least some of the stone probably came from Kentucky. Slim pickings, information lies, but it is something.


Summer Solstice of Love

the sun stood still on the solstice
so it was a while before people noticed
its peculiar rays penetrated
flesh like blown glass
the shadows of organ systems
pumping was distracting at first
more so than opaque flesh might have been
but the people got used to it
as we have a habit of doing
and there was something in the way
her bellows moved
that told me she was the one


Childhood still sucks

So one day after school Carlos says he's moving to the Sun.  Ever since he grew the second head he's been acting strangely, but I was like "whoa!"  And Billy goes "can I have your Game Tesseract™?" but Carlos says he's taking it with him.  Now you're probably thinking, "didn't I learn in school people can't live on the Sun," but they totally solved that problem at Beijing Tech, or someplace in Asia, which I saw in a web comic on NewJournal earlier this week.  This guy had a totally realistic simulation. You could have multiple avatars just like in a real game and it was like you were really on the Sun. But that's not what I wanted to tell you.  See, Internet access between here and the Sun really sucks and since Carlos has been my best friend since, like, last summer, I think we should move to the Sun too. I'm sure you can get a really cool job there, probably better than you have here, because everything is new and on the edge there.  Or, this is better, I could go live with Uncle Mort on Mercury, and he has those adapted horses and I've always wanted to ride one. I'd be way closer to the Sun, so Carlos and I could see each other and stuff.  Cos, like, I was going to invite him to my next birthday party and I can't do that, I mean, I can do that, but he can't come, if he lives on the Sun and I still live here on Titan.

Publ. 2008,

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Thing 2 after a long delay

Did you think it was dead?


Rain yesterday
rain today
and blimey if it don't look like rain tomorrow

The trolls built a boat
sailed away when the hills got flooded
they would've made it too
if it hadn't been for that meddling sun
it wasn't a bad boat
but it sank like a stone