Americana Art astrolabe astronomy baseball writing beauty belief biology books cartography cemeteries childhood Christmas chronology civility comfort communication confections corsets dance death digital art digital photography divinity Europe fairy tales family fashion fauna feminism festivities fucking funerals geneology geography gratitude happiness history holidays human behavior humanity iconography journalism Kentucky life literature local color love love poetry mindfulness mourning muse Music mythology non-fiction Ohio ornithology painting Paris photography poetic theory poetry pop culture publishing punk relationship studies relationships religion rituals romance seasons self-love sexuality shooting stars society sociology Southern Gothic technology thanatology The British Royal Crown theology tomes traditions travel writing Uncategorized Urban Legends

Y’all, we’re gettin’ hitched proper this time!

Abelard and Heloise activism affectation Americana Anne Boleyn Art astrolabe astronomy atheism baseball writing battle beauty belief books California cartography cemeteries childhood Christmas chronology cinema civility coffee comedy comfort communication confections crime criminal behavior dance death desserts destruction deviance digital art digital photography divinity domestic violence ecology education electoral process English epicuriosity epidemeology Europe fairy tales feminism festivities film forensics fucking funerals furniture geneology geography girl stuff good reads government government and a lack thereof gratitude happiness health Hell history holidays horror human behavior humanity humor Hunter S. Thompson iconography infidelity insects Jazz journalism Kentucky kindness kinetics Lent life literature local color love love poetry mindfulness mortuary sciences mourning muse mythology nature nightmares non-fiction ornithology pandemics papyrus parenting Paris performance photography physics poetic theory poetry politics pop culture produce psychology public broadcasting publishing punk puppies reading red hair in the morning, fucker grab a cab relationship studies relationships religion religious studies reproductive rights rituals romance science science writing self-care self-love sex sexism sexuality shitty shit shooting stars Short Stories slang society sociology Southern Gothic Southern Living suicide technology thanatology the arts The British Royal Crown theatre theism theology tomes traditions travel writing Uncategorized Urban Legends vice war waste weddings womens studies words writing

Ha!! Me, too…

activism addiction Americana childhood deviance family feminism Hell history journalism Kentucky non-fiction Ohio poetry sociopathology Uncategorized

a girl child

two decades ago i took

an overdue trip to Central Ohio

introducing my former mother-in-law to her six month old twin grandsons

we got to talking about Kentucky

as all transplanted Kentuckians do

we bounced gurgling baby innocence on our respective maternal knees having our own little gossip social

curling wispy baby hairs in her worn fingers

her laughter turned to pained breaths

as she shuttered out

a mortifying truth

about a bluegrass upbringing

she was discussing how she had been repeatedly raped as a girl by her father in Hyden, Kentucky

ran away to something worse at 14

how her first marriage ended when she found her alcoholic unemploymed coal miner husband was molesting her two little girls while she was waitressing to support the jerk

fleeing north to Ohio with them

to single motherdom with three kids in the 1960s living in a car until she could afford a place to rent

tears streamed down

her withered cheeks

as she said

“A girl child isn’t safe growing up around a family of men in the South.”

20 years later i think of her words and the women in my biological family

four generations of women who tried to protect their genitalia from one family member

the irony of being expected to smile and pretend

give forgiving hugs

that i’m the one who doesn’t feel comfortable coming to the Thanksgiving table

not the man who couldn’t keep his hands to himself

activism Americana analysis art baseball writing battle behavior belief cemeteries childhood chronology civility comfort corsets crime criminal behavior dance death destruction deviance divinity ecology education electoral process Europe fairy tales family feminism fiction fucking furniture geneology geography government government and a lack thereof happiness Hell history horror human behavior humanity humor iconography journalism Kentucky kindness kinetics literature local color love medicine mortuary science mourning muse museums Music mythology nature nightmares non-fiction Ohio ornithology painting pandemics papyrus parenthood Paris performance physics poetry politics pop culture psychology

of thee I sing

the true measure

of a civilized society

are the rumors

told by its ghosts

Americana astronomy battle belief comfort communication divinity family happiness health Kentucky local color love medicine poetry religious studies rituals Southern Gothic the arts theatre Uncategorized

Liturgy of the Hours

every night you were away

i sought you out

through blackberry bramble ether

from weeping constellations above dixmyth avenue

to jessamine county barns filled with horse hay

perpetually wrapping blue ribbon around my finger

whispering vespers

my plea to the particles of the universe

to hold you together

to bring you back from oblivion

as you had done for me

you are my chosen family

inextricably part

of my thunderous heart

to which you will always hold the latchkey

Americana geneology Kentucky poetry

Mabel Spaw Bates

Mabel Spaw Bates


I have dreamed about you

every night this week.

I would like to think you are visiting me

from the great beyond.

We’re in your house and

I can hear your voice,

I can smell your skin,

I can hear you laugh,

I can hear you sigh.

I can watch you smooth the table cloth

down with your hands

and wash the kitchen counter.

We watch Gone With the Wind together,

then have tea.

We look through an old Sears catalog,

we sort your quilt pieces,

we string buttons.

After we visit the Halls Gap Overlook,

we end the night at The Dairy Freeze.

I love you immeasurably.

The older I get,

the more I miss you.

Your absence is enough

to fill the world,

Mabel Spaw Bates.


Rest In Peace

Americana death family history Kentucky local color poetry Southern Gothic

spinster sisters

when i was a little girl

allowed to roam

through the backrooms of

the house shared by my great aunts


spinster sisters

jo ann and mary alys

whose  Bates brothers all passed before

i didn’t mind the obligatory visits

imposed by my mother and sister so much


finding photographs of glory faded

antique wash basins and ceramic kittens

delicate baubles in satin boxes

fine dresses who had given up on finding love

bobby pins on china saucers atop

a vanity avoided because no one wanted to see

what it had to show


until i was five i thought jo ann

was a man

an old farmer in mens clothes

who smoked constantly

cut her hair short

and squatted like our indian ancestors

talking of her land

loyals dogs

sturdy tractors

whose barn had burned

tidbits you orta know

a lesbian of a time one didn’t acknowledge

such things

baptist blasphemy running through

her country bones


mary alys

the once beautiful bride

whose wealthy husband cecil had died

leaving her childless


though she seemed content

to remain married to his ghost

so feminine she was

pin curls

perfectly filed long

nicotine yellow nails

too many rings

a  forked tongued

wicked gossip

oral histories

slim pointy nose

judging everyone whilst wearing

pink polyester and

knee high panty hose


two women were never more different

yet to me

they were symbiotic halves

of a singular tale of  family woe


jo ann on her side of the sitting room

reading the paper

and mary alys

applying ponds cold cream to her face

and lotion to her transparent

blue veined soft hands

claiming she intended to make

a pretty corpse


jo ann went first

ate up with cancer

mary alys died later

of meaness

i suppose

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The Inevitability of Cherry Blossoms

“Every mile is two in winter.” – George Herbert



has a way…

of making atheists

of Englishmen,

country folk,

and poets.


It’s as though

they have forgotten

their prayers

and the inevitability

of cherry blossoms.

Americana art behavior books childhood civility ecology education family government government and a lack thereof happiness history Kentucky literature local color love Music nature non-fiction poetry punk religious studies rituals society sociology Southern Gothic traditions Uncategorized Urban Legends womens studies writing

50 year plan

keep my mother proud of me


give my sons braggin’ rights

love in their hearts

and wisdom in their minds


be the reason my father’s sooty

fallen angel wings

spread wide

closer to the throne of god

when i do something right


perform a poem

at the inauguration

of the first female president


allow my  deeds to accomodate

sleeping well at night




activism Americana analysis art behavior biology books childhood cinema comedy ecology Kentucky literature local color love Music nature non-fiction physics poetry psychology publishing punk

this day and for the rest of time

you know

it is true what they say


your entire life really does

flash before your eyes

the moment before a motor vehicle accident


my film reel cigarette burned

car crash footage

went precisely like this:


i saw my twin sons locked out of the house

in 18 degree weather

upon returning from school

to find their mother nowhere around  & unalive

…this day and for the rest of time


i saw my mother’s face

and thought how i wanted

to touch her downy warm cheek

one more time


i thought about my brother bob

and how i would not live to see him  write

the great american novel


i saw the face of the man whom i am in love with


i thought about how happy i would be to see daddy

at the dinner table in heaven tonight


i saw my friends sarah, marissa, and sean

toasting to my existence


i thought about how grateful i am

to have been given this amazing life


thank you, god, whomever you are


it is i who shall cover you

with a blanket of stars

this night