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Archive for February, 2010

Michelle McGrane has a post about my chapbook, Price Reduced Again, at her beautiful site, peony moon.   Hit the link and take a look!  I’m thrilled to be there.  You’ll also see a sample poem, She Told Me Money Does Not Buy Happiness, Then She Hopped In Her BMW And Drove Away.  Many thanks to my editor, Crystal Folz of Backpack Press, for all her work!

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While you’re at peony moon, be sure to look around.  Michelle McGrane is an amazing poet.  She has been published in numerous journals and is the author of Fireflies & Blazing Stars (2002) and Hybrid (2003). Her third collection, The Suitable Girl, is forthcoming from pindrop press.  You’ll find a sample poem from The Suitable Girl at the pindrop press link.  I can’t wait to read it all!

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Michelle is also one of the most generous poets I’ve ever met in my life.  Most of her site is dedicated to promoting other poets.

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peony moon is a must read for the serious poet or lover of words.  Poems, new books, old books, interviews with poets, and reading lists are all beautifully showcased.  It is one of my favorite poetry sites, and Michelle is one of my favorite poets.

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Since I began reading peony moon, I now have some new books on my shelf and a “must buy” book list that is several pages long.  Check out the favorite poetry collections for 2009.  It runs for eight posts, from November to December.  I also love the interviews with poets and beautiful artwork at peony moon.

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Thank you very much, Michelle, for highlighting Price Reduced Again.  And much appreciation to you all for your kind words and encouragement.  It has kept me going!

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I’m posting on a weekend?  The gates of hell have frozen over!  Actually, I’ve been having one of those blue bird happy days and wanted to share some joy.  This has nothing to do with my day, but I love this song.  It makes me happy.

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Cornbread and Butter Beans by Carolina Chocolate Drops

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You can read more about Carolina Chocolate Drops HERE.   They are a group of young, extremely talented musicians who are carrying on the tradition of Old Timey music from the Piedmont and foothills of North Carolina.

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Carolina Chocolate Drops formed in 2005 when they were students.  I’m excited to see this awesome group go from a very popular local group to one that is now known and loved worldwide.  Check out their tour dates on the website.  While you’re there, click on the “About” button and read their bios, too.  I am in awe of all they have done and can do!

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Some people don’t realize that string music is a very important part of African American history in the South.  The banjo is an instrument that came from Africa, and the music evolved during slavery and Jim Crow days.  To some people, Old Timey may sound like bluegrass, but it’s not the same.  I’ve read that the two forms are sometimes blended, but I don’t know.  I’m not a music expert.  I just know what I like!

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Carolina Chocolate Drops learned much about Old Timey music from the MASTER, Joe Thompson of Mebane, North Carolina.    Joe Thompson was awarded the NEA National Heritage Fellowship, which is this country’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts.   You can hear more of Joe Thompson’s music HERE.  And read an article about him HERE.  It’s an older article, but the quotes in it are great.

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And here are the Carolina Chocolate Drops with Joe Thompson doing John Henry.

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Joe Thompson is amazing, and so are the Carolina Chocolate Drops!  It’s great to see traditions carried on into a new century.  But Carolina Chocolate Drops have also shaped the music into something that is entirely their own.

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Have a great weekend!  See you again in a few days.  In the meantime, I’ve got some cornbread and butter beans to cook, and I ain’t kidding about that :)

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I Will Not Sleep At Night

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It talks too pretty–it rocks me,

wraps me, whispers me down

on my unbuttoned back,

and I am fool enough to love it

every time.

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I am fool enough to let it

lick the warm, soft insides

of my brain, curl my toes,

break off my feet

in puddles, thick and deep.

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Night sleep slaps me like a board,

crushes me down against the sheets,

tangles my breath,

makes me drool and beg

and rattle hum the sugar black hours

against my lips.

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I will not sleep at night.

Its rhythm is too long and loud

and I am fool enough to love it,

let it send me spinning sweet and blue.

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I am fool enough to let it

take me on the Freudian tour.

It kicks tin cans and says:

Look at this.  Honey, you ought

to be awake and trying to figure

this mess out.

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It puts me on the bloody couch.

It makes me lose my teeth.

It puts concrete on my feet.

It turns into snakes.

Its food is tasteless.

It strips me naked in the lunch line.

It keeps me waiting at the train station.

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And when I open my eyes, it’s gone.

I am alone in a gray washed room

with a rickety chair and a bare light bulb

hanging limply overhead.

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It leaves me slowly rotting like old pork.

It leaves me thinking of all the things

I should’ve done–swollen fingers numb,

a dream thick tongue, used up and sour,

the side of my face looking

like a wrinkled, red sheet.

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It leaves me laying in a plot

of leaky yellow sun, listening

to the neighbor’s chainsaw

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barking morning sharp

barking morning hot

barking like a laugh

that just won’t stop.

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So I will not, will not

sleep at night.

I’ll save my soul

until the boring

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morning light plods in

like a second fiddle,

like a quiet desperation,

like a safe, gray gasp

against suburban windows.

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Then I’ll sleep soft without thinking.

I’ll sleep dull without dreams.


Julie Buffaloe-Yoder

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Before you read this week’s poem, just a friendly reminder…

The Third Age is still going strong!  Season One is drawing to a close, and more episodes are coming.  It is an awesome story and very exciting!  If you missed my other post about The Third Age, you can read my take on it HERE.

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My daughter, Amber, is the producer.  If you like watching the story “all at once” instead of in weekly segments, now is a great time to see it all HERE.

Go, Amber!

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I always think a lot about my daughter.  Her strength and determination are amazing.  Lately, I have also been thinking about all the strong women I know.  Many of them are older women.

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In the first Maudene poem I posted, I had a specific woman in mind as I was writing.  Maybe a couple.  But now that I look back on it, I think Maudene is a combination of several women, including my daughter.

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I also have a friend who could literally be Maudene when she is older.  I think I was writing subconsciously about her, too.  She is now the captain of a big ship.   She shows the men how it’s done.

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Here’s to all those strong women, no matter what work they do.  They come in all shapes, sizes, ages, and colors.  They move mountains and walk on water.  They are truly the salt of the earth.

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One Woman Working

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Maudene has worked the ocean

for seventy years—her big boots

balance firmly on the old bow

of a hand made shrimp boat.

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She knows the beat of engines,

the pull of ropes, nets, tide.

She knows the permanent roots

of mud on her palms, grease

on her cheeks, wind in her teeth.

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Maudene breathes each season.

The sting of horseflies and sun.

The growling water of a storm.

The sparkling backs of dolphins.

The softness of sharp August stars.

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She knows those bone lean years

when creditors circle at the dock,

when prices rise and profits fall,

when she eats wet cornbread

on deck for the long, hard haul.

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Her world is being swallowed

by condominiums and big ships.

But Maudene will not stop.

She will not gasp and die

beside a sun dried puddle.

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She will live to sweat nets forever

in a faded, flannel shirt—her boots

a rock of ages on a creaky old boat.

One woman working, salt strong.

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.Julie Buffaloe-Yoder


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Reason #589

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Beside miles of woods

and a single wide trailer

in a muddy front yard

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there’s a hand made sign

that says

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Big Loolah’s Beauty Barn

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Electrolysis by Appt. Only

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Palm Reading – Spiritual Advice

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Mary K Cosmetics Distributor

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*Collards * Rutabagas * Bar-BQ*

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Yard Sale Every Thursday

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Your Old Bible Rebound

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Biggest minnows & crickets

in the county

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On Site Engine Repair &

Brake Re-alignment.

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Reason #589 why

I love rural Carolina:

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One stop shopping.

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Julie Buffaloe-Yoder

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