Claims for Magnolia & Shadow

Because of the graceful bridge and my love of entrances,

By Sarah Blackman & John Pursley III
JUNE 30, 2012

Because of the graceful bridge and my love of entrances,

Because of The Art Bomb and Andrew Wyeth,
Because the world is haunted by dogs and empty spaces,
Because Delta swelter and Dorothy Allison
Just making the place sound really great,
Because old mills slumping toothless up the mountain,
And Blind Gary Davis and Pink Anderson,
And dogwood, redbud, jessamine, quince.
Because Shakespeare in the park and the hollow thwack
Of bucket drum solos. A goose egg
Laid in daylilies and Christmas-tree lights every day of the year.
Because “life without television?” has become a landmark for me.
Because the black cat beseeching the porch is now dictator of our home.
Because of the porch, the craftsman style houses—
Golf carts steered by children across dull canals.
Because the Cherokee and Richard Pearis,
His bridal bed, his boot on top of the mountain.
Because dal and roti, baingan bharta simmering in strip malls,
Because Esquerita is not Little Richard,
Because of the Michelin Man, and the White Horse Flea Market
Where we almost bought a pig (and a donkey).
Because Old Textile Hall was listed on the National Register in 1980
And then demolished in 1992.
Because the Reedy ran dark under the highway for all those years,
And Jesse Jackson sat down at a Woolworth’s lunch counter.
Because medicine shows and grist mills,
Evangelical ardor and brass bands baloomphing Main Street.
Because the Handlebar and Unknown Hinson,
Unknown Hinson and Unknown Hinson.
Because Shoeless Joe Jackson should be in the Hall of Fame.
Because Helen Maria—eight pounds, eight ounces—
And strawberries in white plastic buckets, yarrow root tonic in dusty jars.
Because scuppernongs are next to godliness, and muscadine
Grows wild on Paris Mountain. Because Horizon Records,
And Thomas Creek, Addy’s mustard soup and Barley’s hoppy din.
Because 49th is not 50th. Because thank you Mississippi.
Because Scotch Bonnet, Aji Cito, Bhut Jolokia and Devil’s Tongue.
Because heirloom and hand-spun, grass-fed and free-range.
Because a candle should look like a slice of key lime pie,
Because Peg-Leg Bates danced his ass off for Ed Sullivan,
Because Baby Bob thinks peanut butter is about the best stuff on earth,
And to settle means less to till the land, than to make it our own.



John Pursley III is the author of If You Have Ghosts, a poetry collection, and several chapbooks. He teaches at Clemson University. Sarah Blackman’s poetry and fiction have been published in the Missouri Review, the Gettysburg Review, and American Poetry Review, among others, and her short story collection, Mother Box, is forthcoming from FC2 in August, 2013. She teaches creative writing at the Fine Arts Center in Greenville.


© TOWN Greenville 2014