This is a poem in four parts. I altered my typical style a bit for this one, so I hope you like it.

I. the way the world goes round in a small southern town

Sweet air on a fine day

The sea a mile away,

It’s just a morning. But it’s something beautiful,

Whirlwind fires lying down to rest in the soul.

There’s nothing wild about a town of simple people.

But an artist painting from the tall church steeple.

Cast bronze in the distance,

Girls waiting for princes-

It’s all from an old portrait framed in sand.

The translucent mistake of meat too bland.

But just the opposite is sometimes true,

And some days it’s a perfectly good view

With the daylight lengthening

Odd notes leave an old violin

But they feel real and right and good

The town feels real and right and good

Except when something goes wrong,

Because then it goes too wrong.

Under the looking glass evil brews

If you only search for the clues

You’ll see the woman sitting with the man ready to preach

In the back pew after last night wanting to drink bleach

When the lights of Saturday die,

The sins hit Sunday morning light.

It’s the way the world goes round

Down in a small Southern town.

II. the way the world goes round in a small southern town

They kick off the boots,

Reach for the pearls,

And lock up the keys to the wine cellar.

They try to hide behind the doors

So no one else can know

That inside they’re all imperfect

Because then they can

Look down upon the sinners.

Honor and shame- more valuable

Than a lifetime’s fortunes-

Is all that they know and all they need.

Tell me your story, they sing

As they sip on ice and sweet tea.

Once there was a girl

Who tried to change the world

And they locked her up,

Shut her heart down

And threw the pieces away.

That girl was me

And I should’ve known better

But I didn’t. Cause I couldn’t.

I. the girl who lived in a small southern town

I was born when the creek was cool

And in those days the river ran high.

I always heard that people were happier then

As if kids in those days didn’t know what life was

I liked to think that I knew what life was.

The king is dead and the fountains are still.

No swan so fine as the one in sweet Southern waters.

That’s where we are right now-

Ain’t that the way the world goes ‘round?

The face of a Chinese lizard with a thin feather crest

Falls from the trees in a living fire, and starts running.

Elsewhere, sea lizards congregate so together they spend their days

Praying for some semblance of safety

Even if it requires them to surrender anonymity forever.

Rapidly cruising or simply floating through the air

We see our own sins just as God sees them,

But with far less mercy than He would give us

Because that’s the way the world goes ‘round.

I was just a child when I learned

That that the winds were reversing.

With no similar ease, they slowly rise,

Circling each day. In his height, he quivers.

The modern woman is a jewel and a jeweller,

Black. No white-nosed ox.

Tusks of ivory dismounting at the shrine,

Women secluded behind the wall

Guarding the wild fruit under a crescent moon.

Bleeding red and mended to a prize

The flowers are slandered but stronger

In spiritual understanding- how the world goes ‘round.

I’m young, but I know it alll. Because I survived it alll.

II. the girl who lived in a small southern town

My mother swore she was a forgiving soul

But that she couldn’t forgive the shame upon my sins.

Shame suited me so well, but pride suited her better

And my father had gone off to fish so we’d be alone.

Water always drove a wedge through my family

Because there was never enough sun to go and serve us all.

There wasn’t air either, my mother made sure of that,

And I certainly didn’t get the luxuries of food- I was a girl.

The day my father died I was baking- my dagger-

And there was a heavy silence all around- my cloak.

My mother did not venture into the kitchen in five hundred years

To tell me of this news. There was nothing to be said.

One day you will understand, she promised me when I was small

And it was only in the kitchen that I knew I was a slave.

I was alone in the world when the funeral line drove away

And left me for the first time- I had a vivid pulse

I was just a girl who lived in a small southern town.

Photo by Coen van on Unsplash

Thanks all for reading. As I noted above, this is a departure from my typical style, so please let me know what you thought of it. I’ve been working on a few more pieces like this which I may publish soon.

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For more in my usual style:


I write poetry, prose, and personal pieces. All images are mine unless indicated otherwise. Feel free to leave feedback on my work anytime; I hope you enjoy.

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