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

art bibliophilia books reading writing

my favorite book…

dirty book

chronology literature writing

i choose love

he is the page

i have been seeking

the page i shall never

turn away from

the page repeating emblazoned words


he is the one

he chose me

and i choose love

death happiness literature love punk rituals

eternal life


i know it to be

an absurd


but my heart

has come to hold dear

the notion

that if i keep reading books


i shall never die

as the narrative

will simply





art behavior books civility literature local color non-fiction parenthood poetry psychology punk relationship studies sociology Uncategorized writing

through the magic door

sitting in a cushioned chair

aptly described

as a post modern

orange violating teal


i become distracted

looking away from

sir arthur conan doyle

by denizens of the library

an old man too cheap

to subscribe to

the new york times

reading cover to cover

perhaps he simply needs a place to be

a salesman hiding from his

pharmaceutical route

blue tooth whispers in his ear

pretending to be

on his way there

a japanese man

studying intensely with his tutor

for a citizenship exam

a mother with wailing

four year old twin girls

in matching coats

looking as if she is one bell jar away

from sticking her head in an oven

the merry widow

with a fake perpetual smile

in peacock glasses

reading ladies home journal

as if any of it matters

and the couple

both wearing wedding bands

all but penetrating orifices

in roman history

who are clearly not married

to each other

stealing a moment together

behind rows of books where

their spouses wouldn’t dare look

irony not to be

lost on me

there on my lap

rests a copy of

through the magic door

sir arthur conan doyle is right

such a divine portal

wonders to be uncovered

searching spines

in a library


art books childhood ecology education Jazz Music nature poetry Short Stories sociology Urban Legends writing

life is but a dream


Well, I guess we were due another one of these, so here goes: I had another dream about you last night. The third in the five years we have known each other. The first was your grandfather on the porch, the second was about coming to see you teach with a drum kit in the lecture hall, and now this one. I don’t often dream about people who exist in my real world, nor are they typically as vivid as this dream was. I don’t often recall my dreams, so when I have one still ringing a bell this loudly when I wake, I take heed. This week has been so absurd, I haven’t been paying much attention to my radar regarding anything, as lately it seems the world has gone mad.

I’m writing to you about it, because I want to get it on paper, but also due to the fact that each time I have had a dream regarding you, I’ve been left with this feeling like I’m supposed to tell you about it. I don’t subscribe to any supernatural beliefs, but I do know that I’m a bit more tapped into the whims of the universe than most, so take from it what you will.

You came to visit me at my home on a crisp, sunny autumn morning. In the dream, my house was sitting on the woodsy plot of land where my childhood home was in Clermont County, beside a gently flowing stream. The exterior of the house was a grand Victorian with a beautiful filigreed front porch. I had Indian corn hanging on the dark carved front door and pumpkins lining the steps leading up to it. The interior of the house was identical to the modern suburban behemoth I currently occupy on the edge of Landen. The only difference was the amount of lamps. There were lamps of all sorts sitting everywhere. Lamps where lamps shouldn’t be, and if you spotted one that wasn’t turned on as I gave you a tour of the house, you took the liberty of turning it on for me. Tiffany lamps, research lamps, magnifying lamps, and the green glass domed sort you once saw in law offices and libraries. All of them were turned on. It was magnificent. The dream was clearly trying to illuminate something.

I asked you if I could hang up this handsome brown leather waist coat you were wearing, but you didn’t want to trouble me, so you hung it over the back of your chair, then sat down. I offered you coffee as I took the chair beside you, and you accepted. We then heard coffee beans grinding in the kitchen, then the coffee appeared before us in tea cups and saucers on the small round antique table between the two chairs.

We seemed to be in a celebratory mode. We had news to share. We had both just had new books published, which we exchanged signed copies of happily. You asked me to put Dave Brubeck on my Victrola and you used the word “Victrola.” I smiled in agreement, and the record immediately began to play without my getting up. The strains of Le Souk filled the room as we proceeded to laugh and engage in catching each other up on recent events in our lives.

After we were done with coffee you asked to view my book collection. We ran up the steps together the way small children do, as if they’ve been informed magic awaits them if they are but willing to go find it. We poured through the shelves together. You were mesmerized by the size of the collection, but also by how similar my library was to your own. We pulled our favorites down and stacked them, sitting on the floor together to look over them like two children playing with Hot Wheels or army men. I showed you all the rarities, antiquities, things you had never seen in my old embalming texts which blew your fucking mind. We shelved everything back as it was when we had our fill.

As we came back down the steps, one of my ex-husbands was sitting at the dining room table drunk and ranting. We ran him off and you told me I should better secure my doggy door so unwanted vermin could not get inside the house. You put the coat back on over the blue button-down shirt and tie you were wearing and I showed you outside. It was at that moment you complimented me on the red cowgirl boots I was wearing with my 1950’s era dress. You said I reminded you of Sylvia Plath if she had gone on living happily. We walked over to the creek to have a look at the water. We then made our way back to the driveway where your car was parked beside mine. You were driving a pale yellow Chevy Citation in mint condition. We laughed at our old cars and our unwillingness to part with anything that had been so loyal. We hugged and said our goodbyes. I turned my head for a moment toward the late afternoon sky, and when I looked back down, you and your car had vanished silently. I walked back up onto the porch.

The next moment I was awake. I brewed my Sunday morning coffee, slid Brubeck into my shelf system cd player, and began to type you this letter.

With Love,


Jazz Music poetry Short Stories Uncategorized Urban Legends

what escapes the worms

eternity is not made of stone

that which endures about the ruins
was not drafted upon an architect’s board
but the muse
which pierced a soaring heart

the only lasting structures in our minds
come from a writer’s pen

it is the word
made of concepts

our collective genius
through libraries
of expanding stars

the sum of my life
will amount
to a pile of stone mason’s dust
beneath my headstone

an epitaph chiseled
into gaps of minerals missing

Here lies the well used body of Alicia Young. She used it as an instrument of destruction. She wrote poems. She ate the creamy center of the world. She loved her children. She would rather be in Cleveland drinking.


flying squirrel

he comes at her
flying squirrel
in a shirt that oddly matches her dress

how did you know to wear warhol?
damn good guess

right outside in the alley of the gallery
after the reading
tongue outstretched
with school boy carrying my books intentions

saying i don’t know you
but i wanna fuck your poetry

i had bought too much crown royal
at a beforehand bodega
to care enough to slap him

later castigating him for being a man

i shouldn’t have hated him for it

now i think of it sweetly and laugh

Jazz Music poetry Short Stories Uncategorized Urban Legends



i could have anything
my heart desires
at this moment
it would be


sitting back to back
holding sunlit court
on a red fleece blanket
in an arboretum

reading our books in silence
as the birds chatter in the trees

feeling nothing
but each other breathing
and page turning

as the world decides
to raise her skirt to the sun
for one more day