This is a poem I’ve been working on for a couple of months. It names a number of Asheville, N.C.-based landmarks, characters, and artists, but my hope is there’s something of the universal. So many of us are witnessing the loss of our communities to the juggernaut of development and wealth, neither of which ever do much to forward the arts or the creative culture.
The Merle performing at Vincent’s Ear.
THE GHOST OF GAVRA LYNN
The man took the temperature
of this neighborhood and decided
in his boardroom that, yes, it’s time
to capitalize on what the artists
built. The ambiance of ingenuity mined
from the rubble. Construct a hotel
to tower over the coffee shops and dive
bars, over the thrift stores and book stores, over Continue reading
Image from Pinterest. No artist attributed.
It’s been a terrible week of world news. Terrorist attacks on a mosque in New Zealand, Israel launching air strikes at Palestinians in Gaza, a plane crash, refugees denied asylum at the U.S. border. I feel the heaviness and also I know I’m okay. I’m infinitely blessed and comfortable. I know this, but it doesn’t make me happy in light of the greater global sorrows. This poem, I hope, speaks to that. It’s personal. It’s a microchosm. But it’s also about the larger collective effort of rising and staking claim.
What do I know of triumph, anyway? I
spent the summer sweating in
an oversized sweatshirt to hide
the shame of my traitorous torso
when I should have flown
my name like a banner, like a kite — not
a child’s toy, but a bird of prey. This Continue reading
Inspired a ukulele made from repurposed church pews by the artist Zeke Leonard at Pentaculum 2019 — a craft and writing residency at Arrowmont School.
Photo by Dan “Soybean” Sawyer
Say an instrument is born with all of its songs
intact, DNA in the material from which
it’s forged. A ukulele fashioned from repurposed
church pews, the wood still holding ghosts Continue reading
Culminating my year as the UNC Asheville Ramsey Library Community Author Award recipient, I will be giving a reading on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 6-7 p.m. Local musician Heather Taylor will accompany me. There will be snacks.
Photo Adam Taylor
Much of the work I’ve been focused on for the past year has been around themes of women’s wisdom, the mythology and archetypes of femme-identifying people, and social justice. I’ll be sharing pieces from a collection about the Oracle of Delphi (and my contemporary interpretation of that phenomenon) as well as a new piece that seeks to weave the mythology of the Appalachian/Cherokee Wampus Cat with that of the 16th century Mayan jaguar goddess Ixchel. There will likely be an f-bomb or three.
More details here.
You collect them. One was stolen from a neighborhood
house empty of all traces of its previous owners except
the crystal knob on the hallway door and the thin
iron key. Whoever bought the house wouldn’t care
about the lives lived in it before, or the echoes of footfall
or the way long shadows took on the shapes of those
who no longer sit at the tables or gaze out the windows. You Continue reading
My talented singer-songwriter friend Heather Taylor recently invited me to collaborate with her on one of her songs. Jesse Hamm of Acoustic Asheville filmed this video of her performing “Up on a Mountain” with my poem “Collar of Wasps” in the middle.