Grandpa’s Ditties

October 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

Grandpa’s Ditties
Kevin Heaton

Grandpa was born in 1896, and could play
just about anything with strings attached.
What pulled most at his heart, was an old fiddle
that he kept on top of a china cabinet
in the corner near his rocking chair; where
he fell asleep every night listening to Kansas
City Athletic’s games on a Philco dial radio.

He worked part-time for the highway department;
setting out kerosene warning flares that looked
like bowling balls without holes.

During the 20’s, and throughout Depression Era
days, he set great store in playing that fiddle
at barn raisings, and harvest dances; where neighbors
could find brief but welcome respite from hardship
in simple food and fellowship. Civil war ditties
frequented the menu; passed down to him
by the same fingers that first plucked his fiddle.

When his lame shoulder wasn’t throbbing,
and I asked him just right, he’d take her down
off the china cabinet, rosin up the bow, and with
a work boot conducting: take us down dusty,
forgotten pikes lined with blue, and gray soldiers;
marking cadence on the road to their awakening:

Ride a Scotch horse
to Danbury cross,
see an old woman
upon a white horse.
Rings on her fingers,
and bells on her toes—
she shall have music
wherever she goes, and goes…..

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Grandpa’s Ditties was previously published in Tidal Basin Review

Pushcart Prize nominee Kevin Heaton writes in South Carolina. His work has appeared in a number of publications including: Raleigh Review, Mason’s Road, Foundling Review, The Honey Land Review, and elimae. His fourth chapbook of poetry, Chronicles, has just been released by Finishing Line Press. He is a 2011 Best of the Net nominee.

Image: Halifax Harbour, By Leigh-Anne Fraser

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Is Anyone Else Coming By

October 11, 2012 § Leave a comment

Is Anyone Else Coming By
Natalie Parker-Lawrence

the man asked into the phone in the milk-dudded hall of the theatre where I left Julia and our husbands with the violence on the screen, so graphic that I could not look up at someone hurting a baby on an ironing board over a drug deal begun by hoodlums and justified by the police in the underbelly of NYC (wherever that is) since most people do not know what is going on but just cry when their brother gets shot or their baby is sent to foster care or they put their cousin in the ground after he bleeds out from a bullet wound to the head for betraying a badge or a skewed dream in October when the color commentators of the World Series ask people to stand up during the seventh-inning stretch when fans sing loudly and breathe beerily then sit down again to scream at Blue for the number of outs, fouls, and strikes in crowded stadiums that have no other function on a Friday night than to fill up when little girls want to go to the pajama party after the movie in theatre number 2 but can’t because their dad is sober at this and only this point and not at another so he has to leave now to take them not straight, but homeward and not later as he slips his snockered hands around the clammy wheel, depending on which cop you asked and depending on the gin-tossed seconds of dusk or night, dawn or morning, tomorrow or eclipse.

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Natalie Parker-Lawrence, a writer since 1994, earned her MFA in Creative Writing (creative nonfiction and playwriting) at the University of New Orleans in 2010. Natalie Parker-Lawrence’s new full-length play, a collection of nine true-story monologues about insomnia, I Bet They’re Asleep All Over America, won a spot in the first Women’s Theatre Festival of Memphis in August 2012, and is the season opener for Our Own Voice Theatre Troupe at Theatreworks, September/October 2012. The Just Passing By Theatre Company in association with The Morris Theatre Guild (outside Chicago) produced Bob War in 2011. Adelphi University (New York) produced Earlybirds in 2009. The Women’s Playwright’s Initiative staged a regional reading in Orlando, Florida of Upright Position in October 2008. Her other plays have been produced in Memphis theatres. Her essays have been published in The Barefoot Review, Wildflower Magazine, The Literary Bohemian, Stone Highway Review, Tata Nacho, Knee-Jerk Magazine, Edible Memphis, The Commercial Appeal, World History Bulletin, and The Pinch. She is the religion/spirituality columnist for Wildflower Magazine.


Image: Street Art, By Leigh-Anne Fraser

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