"Summer Bamaland"

My ode, of sorts, to that stagnant heat that comes to Alabama in the summertime, and the way that the storms build up and break the heat, only to leave a few hours later. Much of my childhood summers were of this pattern. It was waves of weather. Very strange.

Many of the images are impressionistic glimpses from my childhood: kudzu, powerlines, dead trees, mosquitos, clearcut shacks, howling dogs, sweaty children. There is not much "depth" into this poem, it is largely straight forward, just a glimpse at about Alabama hours.

The old kudzu line are humming (Greenbrown the acres gone) Underneath the power vines thrumming, A dead forest with its dead seeds sown. Summer shacks up with Bamaland, The crops drooping, the streams dried up, Down in the bed with mud and the cracks Watching the mosquitos' last sup. Child shouts out the holy spirit, Screams metatron and we all hear him. Laughter crying tears, blood, and heat: Caught up in that sweat delirium. Clouds crawl up the horizon, Blue clouds black and blistered. Rain's coming home this afternoon, Dust smell on the nose's memory. Dog sniffs out the holy spirit, Tastes elohim and nearly raptures. Just a howl a mile's road down it. Just a hole in grey green roar. Summerland at the storm on the tracks, The tressel drips and lightning cracks. The pine beetles lay down their heads, And pray to God wet creek beds. The old kudzu wires start drowning, Drinking rain and angry piss wines. The street lamps come on early. Knowing. The county road gleams misty eyes. Then it stops, another day dead, Another night humid, another distant insect Creaks down in another clearcut shack. Another star comes out in the black.

This poem written by W. Doug Bolden.

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