Dear Books

Dear precious books, one of my families: Thank you for saving my life when I was a teenager, especially Ursula Leguin and Andre Norton, for offering me sweet refuge and constant inspiration, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, for helping me begin a rich continual virtual life. Octavia Butler. I fall in love with you every day/Bastard Out…Read more »

Eyes on the Marsh

See the clever mockingbird sitting with a boat-tail on the abandoned telephone wire? Close but not too close, facing the same direction, the same sunset.   A pair of house finches cleaning each other’s beaks. What a display of body-sharing! I set down the spyglass.   Mergansers flying in a morning circle, light and easy…Read more »

Let’s Meet in Carrboro

Let’s Meet in Carrboro Today let’s meet in Carrboro: Paris of the Piedmont West End, Lloydtown, Venable . . . Today when phoebes nest in their wattle and daub And fireflies cross their first open meadow Let’s meet in Carrboro Across-the-tracks town for two centuries: cracker town, mill town, music town Today when knotty-heads start…Read more »


What is commonest, cheapest, nearest, easiest, is Me . . . Walt Whitman   In birds: the crow, the bold pigeon, a chipping sparrow on the windowsill, Common grackles or boat-tails chatting and thieving the coast and feeders, Even gulls, laughing or otherwise, who Kate Bell says are being forcibly evicted From Brighton-Ha!-as Londoners condemn…Read more »

Cool of the Day

  1 I haven’t written about this before Because I had a geas against it But I have a distant cousin Who was one of the most famous mountain Dulcimer players in the world. When I was a young man The irascible Appalachian poet Don West Separated me from my companions What are doing with…Read more »

My Grandmother

My Grandmother   Knew the sacred nature of her place A scrap of mountain above Cane River, on Big Creek, the blue ridge a bowl above the barns I remember holding a hand-full of her skirt to keep up, hunting creasy on a February morning our breath like the smoke of campfires air uncurling in…Read more »