The Ballad of Old Buck Howland For years and years he lived right here in a tent on the edge of Folly. He brewed his beer and wrote his poems in the shade of a stunted loblolly. He played at working construction, could drive a nail I guess, but what Buck was really good at was downing his Inverness. He’d have a drop in the morning, he’d have a drop at noon, he’d have a drop at midnight, ‘neath the light of a winter moon. The cold on Folly ain’t that bad (unless you stay in a tent), but Buck would hum all through the night, shivering but still content, content because his poems would clack from that old Underwood, clack-clack-clacking, like a woodpecker, on the edge of the stunted wood. The VA doctors warned him to change his lifestyle soon, but Buck was a stubborn cuss. He loved the light of the moon. They found him dead inside a shed on the side of Folly Road, and in his hand he held a poem, the last one he ever wrote: Drunk me some wine with Jesus [it read] At this here wedding in Galilee. He saved the bestest for second And provided it all for free. So I quit my job on the shrimp boat To follow Him eternally, No longer bound by them blue laws Enforced by the Pharisee. And we had us some real good times Till them Pharisees done Him in. Ain’t got no use for the religious right After I seen what they done to Him. Then when Saul Paul stole the show I sort of drifted away. Cause he never quite did understood What Jesus was trying to say. Paul was like a Pharisee, Cussing this, cussing that, Giving the wimmins a real hard time, Gay bashing and all like that. So I stay at home most nights now Trying to do some good, Offering beggars a little snort Whilst praying for a Robin Hood. Drunk me some wine with Jesus, It was the bestest day I ever seen. Drunk me some wine with Jesus, Partying with the Nazarene. I can think of worse things to have in your hand when dead across the bridge on Folly Road inside an old tool shed.
In memory of Judy, on the anniversary of her death, a villanelle about Everyday Use and the grafting of new life, in which she has the last word ~ Caroline Tigner Moore
In Living Memory
There hangs a patchwork quilt above our bed
A stained and storied past in pastoral,
Skylit purple, indian summer red;
Clary, sea glass stitched with auburn thread.
Tuck to rimple, soft in autumn’s thrall,
A damocletian quilt above our heads.
Aboard the river bark where we were wed,
The innocents stood by in quiet pall
As each we swore to share our daily bread.
And like a bruise that first appears bright red
Then blue and green and ochre in its sprawl
We lay this patchwork quilt across our bed.
So stitch together prints of all our dead,
In orisons, from labyrinthine walls.
Her face was viridescent while she bled,
But now at peace… and lovely overhead,
A Pride of India shades her, green and tall.
Here lies a patchwork quilt across our bed.
“What you see is what you get,” she said.
Caroline Tigner Moore
 “Pride of India” is an alternate name for a crepe myrtle.
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In memory of Paul Yost 1955-2014
I’m tearing apart paper,
newsprint, the obituary page,
shredding descriptions of lives:
of fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers,
bachelors, partners, husbands, wives,
shredding their black-and-white
faces, their smiles, their stares,
ripping also the memorial verses
loved ones have left,
wadding it all up
to fuel my charcoal chimney.
Yet not enough.
So here comes the sports page,
the World Cup, accounts of pop flies
dropped, ripe for ripping,
ripped, balled, stuffed, ready
for the match’s fiery effacement.
And that poor chicken! hatched, harried,
pecking its food among hordes,
pulled from transport crates,
shocked for the throat cutter’s convenience,
This one’s also been
deboned, yet not sold soon enough,
skewered by butchers along with
aging onions and overly ripe peppers.
After its scraping, red and black,
slightly rusted, the grill stands ready,
top open, at attention.
I place the chimney
upon the barred metal, pour in
the briquettes, and torch the
shredded lives of others,
their wins and losses,
and watch the smoke
rising into the dissipation
of the silent, cloud-shifting sky.