October’s tears erupted from both joy and despair.
Chauffeured to Dixie-land “Miss Daisy” style–not one care.
Northern space aliens arrived, kissed cousins galore,
Yet proved to themselves, “True, you can’t go home…anymore…”
Marriott terraces encourage survey of lands
Mountainous, splendid, degenerate–shaped by God’s hands.
Crisp air. Hospitality. Southern dialects sparse.
Wealth redistribution. Carpet-baggers returned. Farce!
George Washington Vanderbilt, claiming Dutch heritage,
“Nouveau riche”, established future PBS setting–a stage!
Forty-three “johns”, bowling alley, pool, Euro-mazes,
Conservatory, Arboretum, a Winery.
Bears, deer, fall foliage, blight, crawling “kudzu” vinery.
Esplanade, azalea garden, rusting wrought iron fences.
Nestled solemnly, further downtown, rested my soul–
Asheville’s native “bad boy” son, on whom life took its toll.
Stone-mason Daddy, control-freakin’ Ma–Tom shunned home
To write sorrow-filled novels, NOT squeezed into a poem.
Vanderbilt’s grand schemes, castles in sky, “working” estate
Awed not quite so “fine” as Thomas Wolfe’s modest front gate.
Biltmore’s promoters: “ Paradise ? Forty-five bucks…per…!”
Julia’s “Old Kentucky Home” Boarding House? “Dollar, sir!”
Sensory, literary–Sargent, (Wharton & Henry James), Whistler, Renoir.
Archaic, primitive, rustic–needn’t drive far.
Country Club dining within philanthropist’s mountain.
Fried chicken, potato salad, Bat Cave , brook fountain.
Chimney Rock, Flat Rock, Blowing Rock. How high may we go?
“Acorn” Crests, carriage rides, Central-Park-like. “Got the dough?”
O. Henry’s “surprise ending” in Gothic graveyard plot.
Calculating three legends now–“What else have ya got?”
Robert Frost defined HOME: “Where…they have to take you in.”
Whirlwinds of supposed debauchery, engaged in sin,
Or revelatory family secrets filling (23,000) books
Certainly spur hometown friends’/enemies’ askance looks!
Wholesomeness breeds at Carl Sandburg’s Chikaming Goat Farm,
Phi Beta Kappa wife Lilian Steichen whose charm,
Devotion, “beautiful mind” deemed Connemara spot
Heaven for Nubians, Toggenburgs, poet-hot-shot!
Relics, glowing tales, informative guides leading tours–
Souvenirs, period furniture, photo-brochures–
Create dynamic mythologies, few questions asked
Concerning larger-than-life-folks who in the sun basked?
Shanties, crape myrtle, switchbacks, dusty roads, and red clay,
Super-highways “carry” us to BMW-Ville–“Hey?”
Tar Heels! Sand Lappers! Birthright, lineage, pedigree!
Familial politics, “Bride of Christ” churches–wheeeee!
Smiles, embraces, sweet-tea, corn-bread, fried okra, biscuits,
Mis–judged gargoyles, over–rated angels, lunch baskets,
Odd crumbling tomb-stones, post-cards, cell-phones, ear-pops, On-Star,
Picaresque road trips, picayune chatter. “Find a bar!”
“Home again. Home again. Jiggety Jog.” “Miss my dog!”
Southern roots syrupy, saccharine; Yankees in fog!
Trapped in time warps, couplets, quatrains, rhythm and child’s rhyme,
Hopelessly constrained, restrained within bound’ries of time.
Niece, son, I–cruising through-out Appalachian Range,
“On Top of Old Smokey”, Blue Ridge –seeking fair exchange–
Routine’s rut for enlightenment’s rejuvenation?
Competitiveness, “civil” war wounds, lamentation. (OR jubilation?)
Reeling “Odyssey” unending, frolicking, aching–
Sharing such laughter, grief, warmth, brittleness, muck-raking.
Fop’s opulence, poet’s conceit, novelist’s torment
Signified by lone marble angel, their monument.
Look homeward! Which direction? Might we dare?
You see, our hearts beat. Buried. Everywhere.
(Dedicated to: Roy and Kathy…and Ashton)