My Lone Chair

chair-1

The lone chair is everywhere.

Is it only for the lonely?

Traveled the countryside, in search of the deserted, solo seat.

Thru leaf and fallen shafts of wheat.

And, in due course, not a single one would speak.

As the multifaceted traveler, I had to interpret what I was after.

Thus, I took the chair offered me.

It was then that the chill in my bones subsided.

And, the words of, ‘alone’ but ‘not lonely’ collided.

 

 

Being Odd by Ruth Walters

They all exalt in normal
they do not like the weird,
they slander anybody
who’s slightly out of gear.

They all berate the odd ball
that stands out from the crowd.
You’ve seen odd balls at parties
hung loose, all odd and proud.

The odd ball talks excitedly
about his odd ball ways
The things that other people fear
or find a trifle strange.

They say that he’s not normal,
they snigger and they grin
but he’d rather be an odd ball
than normal, just like them.

poe 3

Measured by the Soul

 

‘Tis true my form is something odd.

But blaming me…is blaming God;

Could I create myself anew

I would not fail in pleasing you.

If I could reach from pole to pole

Or grasp the ocean with a span,

I would be measured by the soul;

The mind is the standard of a man.

Joseph Merrick

 

Outcast

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Discarded on the side of a road.

Not a soul to wonder why.

Occasionally, receiving audible gasps from those passing bye.

the Tallahatchie Bridge

a Southern Gothic … brother and father returning after a day in the fields. There is dirt tracked on the floor, and of course, a warning from the women of the house; “Mama” says that she “got some news this mornin’ from Choctaw Ridge” that “Billie Joe McAllister jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge,” apparently to his death. As is typically the case…back in the day, word of the suicide falls on deaf ears. Other than the father pointing out, “Well, Billie Joe never had a lick o’ sense; pass the biscuits, please”

How normal?  Possibly too much so.

the bridge 1 the bridge 4 the bridge 5

The brother asks for another slice of pie.  The father, obliquely speaks of the chores that need to be done tomorrow.

But, no storied lullaby can end so easily…

…The brother recalls that while he was with his friends Tom and Billie Joe, they had put a frog down the narrator’s back at the Carroll County Picture Show, and that he had seen her and Billie Joe together last Sunday speaking after church. Late in the song, Mama questions the narrator’s complete change of mood (“Child, what’s happened to your appetite? I been cookin’ all mornin’ and you haven’t touched a single bite”) and then recalls a visit earlier that morning by Brother Taylor, the local preacher, who mentioned that he had seen Billie Joe and a girl who looked very much like the narrator herself and they were “throwin’ somethin’ off the Tallahatchie Bridge.”

And, in final verse,

a year has passed, during which the narrator’s brother has married Becky Thompson, and moved away (“bought a store in Tupelo”). Also, her father died from a viral infection, which has left her mother despondent. (“And now mama doesn’t seem to wanna do much of anything”.) The narrator herself now visits Choctaw Ridge often, picking flowers there to drop from the Tallahatchie Bridge into the murky waters flowing beneath.

The question to this day, for some,

What did Billie Joe throw off the bridge?

An inspiring artist to the savage side of life?  Would always want to query the following:

Why, oh, why, did Billie Joe commit suicide?

My Tallahassee Bridge

 

Don’t know why Billie Joe and the Tallahatchie bridge meant so much to me

Hadn’t I been just a lonely girl?

With sad thoughts easier to tame…

between the doubt and shame.

With easy acquaintances hidden behind the drawn lines.

Whiling away at slumbered parties, eyes wide open…

I could never stake my claim.

The loss of loves I had yet to meet.

The fiction of desperation’s childish ways.

And, the begging of yearnings away.

Isn’t it funny how adult fears make a mockery of child’s play?

If I had the courage,

would I have taken Billie Joe’s hand in mine?

Kindred souls, blackened by what is not nature’s way

Companions in emotions final stand.

Under a cool river’s pressure.

Immoral dreamers, hiding behind words we dare not say.

Distant musical hints

and, incidents of being different.

My own Tallahassee bridge…

among the suburbs where I lived.

Stolen traces of stoned faces.

Gathered around me like,

secret gardens…

empty crowded places.

For a short while, after the song’s release, Bobbie Gentry, received minimal fame.  However, in the end, she faded off into obscurity…not to be heard from for the past 35 years.

And, the bridge?

Soon after the song’s chart success, the Tallahatchie Bridge saw an increase in those willing to jump off of it. Since the bridge height is only 20 feet (6 m), death or injury was unlikely. To curb the trend, the Leflore County Board enacted a law fining jumpers $100.