It's that time of the year, and looking at out from the kitchen window I'd say we got at least a good four inches of snow last night in our neighborhood, probably more, which would be fine anywhere else, but here in the South and in cities like Knoxville, everyone and everything hunkers down or stays closed. Lines from T.R. Hummer's poem "Half Life #1" come to mind: "A handful of powder can break a city's back, / a scatter of sleet, cloudlight, luminescence of salt." (See the full poem posted below.) I don't think we're in Kansas anymore, Toto. And this would all be fine if today were any other day, but it's not.

I am fortunate enough to be able to work from home most days of the week, and plan errands like grocery shopping ahead of time so that, if the hill at our end of the street is too slick to drive down, or if the hill at the access to the turnpike doesn't have traction, I can just stay in. But, today, staying in is not an option, though I can't really discuss why. If you're wondering, I can say the reason we won't be staying home is not related to the manuscript, well, not related directly, but it's an appointment we cannot miss. Cross your fingers for us, please.

In other news, the coffee maker we received as a wedding present nearly ten years ago finally gave up the ghost. I shouldn't really say "finally" as that would imply that it has been working intermittently. No, there haven't really been any problems with it. It just quit. I think it may have heard me talking just yesterday about moving to a French press and carafe system. But that's just what I'm thinking. Anyone have a recommendation for a good coffee maker?


image source

Have you been following the latest foretelling of the Apocalypse? Or should I say "Aflockalypse"? No. I should not.

Last week I came across a poem at the blog Montevidayo that you should take a look at. It's called "Queen of Diamonds" and is by Brent Hendricks. Here are the first three lines: "Today birds are dropping from trees, / wires, leaping from rooftops and / ledges."


Half-Life Study #1

A handful of powder can break a city's back,
     a scatter of sleet, cloudlight, luminescence of salt.
At the taxi stand, a driver from Senegal practices
     thinking in English. Etoile, he whispers. No: star.

Star, snow, diesel, moon, fatherland, wing,
     and the mystical incantation carburetor. Inside, beyond
Plate glass, a man and a woman stick in the throat
     of a life, in the gut of an argument, and one girl in pink

Is possessed by the Demon of the Grecian Urn.
     Atlanta airport: every snowbound flight shuts down.
Nobody's going anywhere. Bursts of bar conversation
     syncopate into sniper fire: Nice little culture

You got here. / If God intended folks to fly, we'd be born
     with more reservations. Dangerous vortices of rage
Burn on Doppler screens. Everyone here wants transcendence.
     No life in the moment. Bodiless lift. The lyric's

Poisonous glow. The father of the girl in pink
     feels the ticket in his jacket pocket discharge
Its singular pulse of frustration. The mother breathes
     on the window and draws a cartoon face that fades

As she watches. Through its left hemisphere she silhouettes
     the taxi driver against his yellow, rime-scummed Ford.
He, in turn, remembers the face of his own mother transfixed
     in the doorway the morning he took the road to Dakar

And the rotting shipyard. Then the sick grind of ocean. Then
     the Convention Center. She is still standing there,
Expressionless, almost swallowed in empty shadow.
     She will never move again. United, he thinks, Las Vegas, meter

Not running, each snowflake a punctuating loss.
     Coca-Cola. Please direct me to Peachtree Street.
Multiple avenues to salvation. De-icer: What's your angel's name?
     Whiteness fouls every access road in sight.

T.R. Hummer
from Useless Virtues

Support a poet and poetry! Click here to purchase T.R. Hummer's Useless Virtues from the wonderful LSU Press.

Other T.R. Hummer poems published @ Against Oblivion:
"Fallacy of Accident"
"Useless Virtues"
"Olive Bread"
"The End of History"
"Blue Alexandrine"