Showing posts from February, 2017

Palms, Preachers, and Poems

I'm spending the winter of 2017 in the South. Deeper in the South than I've ever lived before. I'm so far south in North Carolina that I'm practically in South Carolina. In this part of the south, flowers bloom in wintertime and palm trees grow alongside the pines. In fact I'm looking at a palm tree outside my window as I write this. It's a common species, a Windmill Palm ( Trachycarpus fortunei ), but every time I see it I’m still astounded that it's only a few feet from my front porch. My writing cottage—that's what I’m calling it, for now, anyway—is in an ungentrified part of Wilmington, not far from downtown. Ungentrified, as in a euphemism for black. I'm not white, but my neighbors don't know this. I mentioned it to Tracy, a neighbor who makes extra cash mowing yards on this block, but I don't think he really heard me. He must not know many writers, because he likes to joke with me about telling a friend there’s now a writer in the nei

Something About Secrets

I remember it was on a school bus. Was I in middle school? Maybe. But wait, I didn't take the school bus in middle school, so it must have been elementary school, when my family had first moved to Tennessee from Florida. No matter. The bus was bumping along a narrow, wooded road on a steep hillside. The road followed the winding path of a creek that lay like a dark ribbon of shine in the ravine below. We were all in shade and I was a little bit scared. Sometimes the bus's right wheels went a few inches off the pavement, and I imagined how easy it would be for us all to go tumbling down the ravine into the murky glimmer of that creek.