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Posts Tagged ‘heritage’

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Story Quilt

Julie Buffaloe-Yoder

The women sew stories

at sunset on the porch,

an old wicker basket

full of fabric by their feet.

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There’s a square of green

from the gingham dress

a girl wore when she first

kissed a boy by the river.

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Here’s a gray head rag,

stained with sweat

by a grandmother who

plowed the jagged back

of this black mountain.

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Those bits of blue denim

are a father’s overalls.

He lost a leg and died

working the railroad.

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That piece is from

the wedding dress

mother made with

a white lace tablecloth.

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This strip of yellow

was a blanket, dotted

with brown circles

of blood and covered

a chicken feather mattress

where babies were born.

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Four bright pink ribbons

belonged to the twins

who came out holding hands.

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A red checked apron

fed thirteen children

with two catfish

and three stale loaves.

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Each piece, a meaning,

a patchwork of souls

threaded together

by generations

of callused fingers

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on a front porch

between live oaks

and wisteria vines–

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the lingering smell

of warm cornbread

from the oven.

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Gold and purple sunset

stretched across the sky.

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Beautifully and Wonderfully Made

What Naomi Told Her Daughter

When the Kids at School

Called Her a Half-Breed

Julie Buffaloe-Yoder.

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Take these roots.

Chew them slowly.

They are close to bone,

sinew, tissue, womb.

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Braid them in your hair.

Taste the ticking wood,

the synchronicity of cells.

Watch them softly twist

through slices of moon.

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No microscope can show

the rings they carve

in your spine, the humming

of particles—each piece

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a moving world, a color

singing on the tips

of a blind man’s fingers.

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This legacy

is rhizome,

a curling inward,

an umbilical cord

stretching back

across oceans.

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Cut them and they

will grow fourfold.

Fight and they will

tighten around your soul.

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Listen to the pumping

of rocks that rumble

underground, the lift

of concrete, a drop

of hot wild seeds

in the dark wet earth.

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Take these veins.

Give them birth.

Let them birth you.

Melt this twisting river

on your tongue.

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You will become

that woman,

cypress strong, covered

in the warmth of blood,

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turning to root

only you can name.

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Carolina Cypress Swamp by Julie

Spider hanging out – by Julie

North Carolina Cypress by Julie

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madeline-josh-moon-0105

The Devil’s Tramping Ground

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The devil walks

in a circle

hoof footed

in the thick black

Carolina woods.

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Around, around

sizzle pop ground.

Nothing will grow

where he treads.

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Not one weed.

Leaves won’t

fall in his wake.

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Dare to put

a penny in

his circle;

it disappears

by morning.

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He snorts,

leans forward

head down

hands clasped

behind his back

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thinking of

new ways

to burn me.

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Maybe I will

never find a job

or pay the rent.

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My car might

not start again

and if it does

surely I will

lose control

down slick

mountains.

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At his beck and call,

furry things crawl

down my dark hall.

A man with an axe

breathes by my bed.

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Some silent something

swells in my cells.

Somewhere a finger

hovers above

the button.

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Damn this devil

who stomps

round and round

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leaves a zero

in my gray space,

poems unwritten

work undone.

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He laughs

when the sun

comes up and

it all swirls,

turns to smoke,

dissolves.

Julie Buffaloe-Yoder

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The Devil’s Tramping Ground is a real place that’s only about an hour-and-a half drive from where I live now.  Supposedly, there is a circle in the woods where nothing will grow, not even weeds..

My grandfather was a master storyteller, and I heard many stories about the Trampin’ Ground from him..

He made up his own versions, including one of my particular favorites that involved a wrestling match with the devil..

I’m not saying there’s anything “to it” or not, because I don’t know.  I just love the stories..They’re part of the language and rich cultural heritage of North Carolina.

According to Wikipedia, the Southern Supreme Fruitcake Factory is located near the Devil’s Tramping Ground.  I almost busted a gut over that one.  Dang, I love my state.  There are poems everywhere you turn.

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