Virginia Backroad Beauty
Mid-July. Virginia backroad shoulders
trimmed thick now
In a hot blooming Chicory, Queen Anne’s Lace,
Heavy hanging Kudzu. Formosa trees watching
from pinked hillsides.
a beautifully mundane flashing by the windows.
So why write about it, you might ask,
Where the something new might be, the worthiness of again
Finding flowers and roadsides in a poem and don’t worry,
The volta is the turn of the road ahead,
For with such dense flowerage
By the hundred, flitting up from the islands of Chicory blue,
Lace white, out of the dense green and watching
From the high pink hills,
and a mating pair of wings,
their circling dance ahead in my windshield view.
Just as suddenly they’ve rushed past my view
And are swept behind, the quick air of my giant machine
Vacuuming them out of their safe ballet,
Tossing them up and slapping them to hot asphalt.
Larry D. Thacker
When my sister and I were small
we fussed over going to bed
in the light-filled dusk
of a Rhode Island summer.
Our mother tucked us in all the same
then retreated to her own bed of tomato plants,
a rectangle of dirt
stretching away from our window.
A warm evening breeze
Nudged our circus-decorated curtains
Back and forth against the screen.
Chins on the windowsill,
we pushed aside
balloons and cartoon tigers,
to smell the twilight air,
green with vines and leaves.
We watched our mother
on her knees,snipping and tying,
kneading the dirt
as if it were dough.
When she came in later
to kiss us goodnight,
I smelled the earth
on her embrace and felt
the first pangs of loss.
The God of This Wind
Untimely heat—and it goes on, on and on,
boxing us into its damp-skinned palm, airless
unto and unto. Unto complaint. Unto grogginess.
Until we are faithless that the cool, green rain we used
to recognize as our own
ever was. In this blanket’s warmth we barely breathe,
barely recognize our limbs’ leaden sloth. Except
when the night slides in
under the heat, the shifting edgy breeze from the sea,
twitching the cedars, the lavender, the skinny defiant
leggy weeds that chirp
through the desiccated lawns. The whole evening
flourishes and settles, flowing into this wind. Ever
kind, ever reaching down, ever stirring its cool darkness
into the weight. Feel it brush the heat from your skin.
Lifting one strand
of your hair, then another, ever easy. Feel it slip
between your frayed nerves, leavening them, leavening
the blades, the leaves.
Throw yourself open; let it in. In this instant
there is no god more worthy of praise. So praise.
Let’s get this started with an unpopular opinion: I hate summer.
I hate the heat, I hate the sunlight, I hate the endless daylight. Throw in a case of reverse SAD and I pretty much don’t get to leave my house for
three five months. (I live in Texas.)
It was during the absolute worst part of summer – August, when the heat is at its peak and we’ve still got a month or so to go – that I learned I would be selecting poems for the first issue of Remixt. This was excellent news, as reading poems is an indoor activity. In fact, summer was barely on my mind when I started reading, since I had my AC on and my fan going. I read the poems with no particular theme in mind, choosing instead to mark any that struck me. My plan was to read through the entire batch, then look at my chosen poems and figure out a theme from there.
But summer had its claws in me, I suppose. I was halfway through the submissions when I realized I was gravitating toward poems that, in one way or another, dealt with the dark underbelly of summer. Poems that hinted at a shadow in the sunlight. Poems that embodied a concept I couldn’t stop thinking of as, with apologies to Lana Del Rey, Summertime Sadness.
I found several poems in our submissions that worked with my theme. I chose the ones I loved the most – but I also chose poems that offered a twist in their construction. You think you know the story. You think summer is fireworks and swimming pools and days at the beach. But by the end, you realize you only saw a piece of the whole, that summer is also heatstroke and wildfires. That it can be as much about death as winter. And that, perhaps, winter can be as much about life as summer.
Cassandra Rose Clarke
Larry D. Thacker is a writer and artist from Tennessee. His poetry can be found or forthcoming in journals and magazines such as The Still Journal, The Southern Poetry Anthology: Tennessee, Mojave River Review, Broad River Review, Harpoon Review, Rappahannock Review, Silver Birch Press, Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, AvantAppal(Achia), Sick Lit Magazine, Black Napkin Press, and Appalachian Heritage. His stories can be found in past issues of The Still Journal, Fried Chicken and Coffee,and The Emancipator.
He is the author of Mountain Mysteries: The Mystic Traditions of Appalachia, the poetry chapbooks Voice Hunting and Memory Train, and the forthcoming full collection, Drifting in Awe. A student services higher education professional for fifteen years, he is now engaged full-time in his poetry/fiction MFA from West Virginia Wesleyan College.
Christine Jackson grew up in New England and currently contemplates the sunshine and clouds in South Florida.
Neile Graham is Canadian by birth and inclination, though she lives in Seattle, Washington. Her life is full of writing and writers. A graduate of the Clarion West Writers Workshop, she currently serves as their workshop director. She has three collections and a spoken-word CD of poetry, and her work has appeared in many venues, recently Polu Texni, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, and Cascade Subduction Zone.
Cassandra Rose Clarke grew up in south Texas and currently lives in a suburb of Houston, where she writes and teaches composition at a pair of local colleges. She holds an M.A. in creative writing from The University of Texas at Austin, and in 2010 she attended the Clarion West Writer’s Workshop in Seattle. Her work has been nominated for the Philip K. Dick Award, the Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award, and YALSA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults. Her latest novel is Our Lady of the Ice, out now from Saga Press.
“Virginia Backroad Beauty” © 2016 Larry D. Thacker
“Foreshadowing” © 2016 Christine Jackson
“The God of This Wind” © 2016 Neile Graham