Filet O’Flesh

What words could flay the thin skin from the soul

Exposing the veins in sinew, while squishing anguish

Thick with fleshy catastrophes?

Spilling grief haphazardly?

Wailing from the stained soles of her feet,

her knees met a false purpose to dishonest prophets,

Swindling in the dwindling twilight of a horribly dark Friday

Immobile she rejected whole-i-ness

She desecrated the vacant hallows, roughly refusing relief

Vehemently offering insincere micro-aggressions

She no longer held skin over her bones, she faded absent

Late September

leavesdried

The late September thunderstorm drizzles gray on dark pavement.

The wind physically throws a tantrum of plants, chimes screaming alarm.

The trees relieve themselves of dead branches onto accumulated decayed leaves.

Darkness portends a bitter battle but refuses to acknowledge the calm.

The cars slide by with deeper tone, like a man’s voice taking over a woman’s.

The blinds clap merrily against the windows as I rush to keep dry beds.

The thunder is unexpected, rumbling like bowels filled with beans and broccoli.

A flash, a roll, a grumbling of disturbed pressure pockets, then wet, dripping, silence.

 

Ronnie Bill

I was told that I’m not allowed to offer family advice.

Twenty years gone but I made it out alive.

Let me tell you why you’re wrong, because you are.

I KNOW

what it’s like to hold bitterness

what it feels like to reject those who love me

what holidays, loneliness, and anger tastes like

what Christmas morning looks like without oranges

what Thanksgiving is like without mincemeat pie

what birthdays feel like without shared history seeping

what anguish unsupported loss endures

I KNOW

what it took to wake me up (although I’m sure you think it was you)

what I had to realize before I could bolster my courage

what it is to ask forgiveness for being a fool

to walk into the unknown with hat in hand

to step cautiously to the edge of the cliff and

JUMP

I KNOW

how much damage I’ve done but not to the extent

what rebuilding a bridge with still smoldering lumber is like

that sometimes bitterness takes the form of pride

that abuses of history, privilege, and birthright exist

that time goes faster than a blink

that it’s far later than you’d think

I KNOW

right now, (not that you’ll read this) you’re lost

you blame me for not having money, not loving him, but

most of all for loving you and not choking on your pride.

You are so far in the darkness that the light feels like an insult

I love you despite yourself.

I’ll still be here when you’re ready.

I made my six year old vow to always be there for you,

I KNOW

you didn’t and couldn’t understand why I couldn’t and didn’t for him

you won’t believe me.

I’m okay with that.

you need to return home before you’re too afraid to come back

you’re a better man than you’ve become

I believe in you even if I don’t understand why you chose this way.

I KNOW. I see. I LOVE you anyway.

Dave Looney Sr., My dad

My dad, Dave Looney Sr, and his dog Apollo.

My dad, Dave Looney Sr, and his dog Apollo.

Today I’m in a deep state of admiration for my dad. I’ve been dangling carrots in front of you for a while, but truly, if you understood, you’d be madly in love with him too.

My dad is a man of courage, strength and integrity. He not only served America in the United States Navy as a Sea Bee (from which he retired), but he also struck out to begin a life away from everything he’d ever known. Not only was he incredibly good at solving problems, creating opportunities, waiting until he was ready to accept responsibilities, but he could also move large electrical wires as part of his career in a Union shop for Consumer’s Energy (from which he retired). And he did this all with a strong sense of morals and ethics he learned by choosing to be more than he was told he was worth.

When I think of how much he had to overcome from his upbringing, from the Vietnam War, from the struggles against poverty while raising a family of four children and maintaining a relationship with his new wife during a 1970’s economy, all while working any hours he could get his hands on to provide, I’m in complete awe.

While it is true I’ve been accused (accurately so) of putting men I’ve married or dated on a pedestal, if they only knew half of why I expect so much out of a man is because of my dad, and first from my Grandfather Louis A Coleman, Jr, then perhaps they’d have realized I wanted to hold them in the same esteem. Ben Stotler is trying hard to meet that lofty place because he sees the same thing I do.

My only regret is that I didn’t know how very great he is until I got to hang out with him as much as I have and look at him through the eyes of love. Dave Looney, you’re top hats all the way with true class, honesty, and an incredibly beautiful soul that I aspire to be like.

Binge reader

I gush distracted through my days

but when I choke with disgust, starve for poetry,

I dig out their works and cover my ears to the world

The common world where words are disposable,

no longer present pleasure

but tedious imaginings

of short-handed, short-sighted vulgarities.

The world where “u r ok” is acceptable bastardization.

Ready for a binge

Ready for a binge

I burrow into my favorite comfort foods

like a fork bringing sustenance to my body

I allow them to enter my veins with lusty anticipation.

When I ingest Joel, E.I. Wong, Roads, or Cardiff

I’m blissfully transported, transposed into a new trajectory,

rescued by the unsuspecting, unaware, shiny knights

The breathless depths of my immersion

puddle into my lap, spill onto my blouse

leaving me with short-lived shielding against ignorance

besotting my sensibilities with undulating vocabulary

I lift one last feather towards the wings of Queen Bird.

The final dollop of delectable dessert.

Deep sighs topped with a satisfied burp from my binge-filled indulgence;

Gratefully sated by the authors of still-life slices.

Opinion: Rev. Morrill addresses ‘Black Lives Matter’

This past July, a church committee requested a new message on the electronic sign, which faces the Oak Ridge Turnpike. The message they requested was “Black Lives Matter.” The board of the Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church, or ORUUC, voted to approve it, and the message was added to the sign’s series of scrolling messages.

Source: Opinion: Rev. Morrill addresses ‘Black Lives Matter’