A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
Another thing the Appalachians don’t like to talk about
is the creepy extent to which they adore the way they talk
alone in the shower & just walking around in their bandanas
versus how much they obviously meanwhile sort of also
secretly hate the high notes of their own hill-kitschy prattle,
especially if we’re talking halfway psychedelic Appalachians
from mid-century America born in 1937 in Southwest Virginia,
& as it happens we are talking halfway psychedelic Appalachians
from mid-century America born in 1937 in Southwest Virginia
as we are talking as usual about my father who worked so hard
to assimilate & become a mutt when he traded in his wind-up radio
for certain unnamed urbanites & fake movie stars in the theatres
& bars of Richmond, Virginia, where Daddy went to college
in the ‘50’s to be given one last chance to learn how to read
as they say & paint I guess & be a nonstop Appalachian diehard
for art. So yes in a way I do desire to keep up-to-date
on what my father gave up to become my father when he was just a boy
& pulled the monothongs out of his mouth & tossed them
in the James, but still it’s hard some days for me to think of him
as in when it gives me a headache because I am not a tape recorder
or a Xerox machine or a waterway surrounding a castle
& though I’m impatient like you to get to the bottom of the problem
of what to call the vacant feeling of our long-ago deportation
from the goats & their creamy milk & the meadows & pastures
they would frolic in each Sunday when my father would
metaphorically herd them, I am not really unlike him
as in we share a DNA that likes to whisk people up & toss them
hither & yon as in long gone as in not here & out & out & away.
Adrian Blevins is the author of Live from the Homesick Jamboree and The Brass Girl Brouhaha; the chapbooks Bloodline and The Man Who Went Out for Cigarettes; and a co-edited collection of essays, Walk Till the Dogs Get Mean: Meditations on the Forbidden from Contemporary Appalachia. She is the recipient of many awards and honors including a Kate Tufts Discovery Award for The Brass Girl Brouhaha and a Rona Jaffe Writer’s Foundation Award, among many others. She teaches at Colby College in Waterville, Maine.
From Appalachians Run Amok by Adrian Blevins, winner of the Two Sylvias Press Wilder Series Poetry Book Prize.
Copyright 2020 Adrian Blevins.