Pine

Hand-sized pine-limb tips,

wind-blown to the ground,

crunch and slide underfoot

during a walk after rain,

their needles still green,

a tiny burr already formed

on one stem that, picked up

and snapped, releases

the South’s essential scent.

 

Copyright 2017

T. Allen Culpepper

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Boxing Day 2017

Patchy sunlight seeps through the grey December sky,

diffusing itself over the aftermath of Christmas

in the recycling bin–bottles and boxes, bits of ribbon-bows

and colored paper–and, on the table, panettone crumbs,

on what’s usually my favorite day of the Christmas season,

Boxing Day, St. Stephen’s feast, the day after the big one,

when the mood remains festive and the lights still twinkle,

but the anxious rush has calmed; this one, though, hasn’t started

right–a cold opossum rummaging through the garage predawn,

backed up bathroom pipes first thing in the morning,

so I sit here drinking coffee and worrying about that,

and about the little things–the brake light that’s out,

the cat’s dental appointment with the vet, the paper

that already should be written. Not a total crisis,

not the zombie apocalypse or the heat-death of the universe,

but it’s not always the avalanche that gets you; sometimes

it’s all the little slides.

 

Copyright 2017

T. Allen Culpepper

 

Against the Law

“New Research Shocks Scientists: Human Emotion Physically Shapes Reality”–headline from the Enlightened Consciousness website

 

Though lacking the patience for methodical proofs,

any poet could have told them what the shaken

scientists found: Emotions defy the laws of physics,

shoving their hands down inside our genes

to make us writhe and dance; emotions seduce us,

drag us into bed and fuck us over, but it’s reality

that wakes us up with chainsaw snores

or rancid morning breath.

 

Copyright 2017

T. Allen Culpepper