backwoods, baby...

you're not from around here, are you?

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submit your best and backwoodsiest shit!

heya writers, this is one of my favorite online sources for some good readin’. in fact, i’ve got a few pieces up there myself. here’s a little taste -

     When the day slips away, the mos­qui­toes come out. And bare skin brings the bugs. Not so far in the dis­tance, she can hear them shak­ing off stag­na­tion among the cat­tails and she wishes wist­fully that her jeans weren’t shoved down around her ankles. The buzzing comes drift­ing to her even over the bland and labored breath against her eardrum. The buzzing comes over the stink of Skoal spit pool­ing in the del­i­cate pit where her shoul­der meets her neck. The fran­tic beat of the winged cloud ris­ing from their cool roost in the moist mud is loud, louder. Loud­est. And the coun­try air is clear, car­ry­ing the sound of the insects unob­structed. Aside from a fer­vent grunt and an echoed, half-ass, half moan. It occurs to her vaguely that they want her blood. Mos­qui­toes are party par­a­sites, she thinks. They live short and drink hard, ten days to exist and to fuck and to die….

Filed under Appalachian literature rural literature submissions writing opportunities

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     When I met her, Maybelline was a mess of a machine. She was reduced to a sputtering remnant of her former glory, given over to rust in a trailer park driveway. Broken down, worn out, like some small-town, honky-tonk barmaid. The windows were stuck down all the way, leaving her soft leathery insides exposed to the elements. The dash cracked and peeled in long, fleshy strips as a result. When I got behind the wheel,   I’d cling for dear life and pray the concrete blocks holding the busted seat in a vertical position wouldn’t clunk out of place in the middle of traffic.  The windshield wipers only worked half the time and the windshield was half-cracked anyway. Luckily on the passenger side. Two out of four hubcaps were missing. The front right tire was a wobbly donut. 
     Maybelline winked at passing cars with her single headlight as I navigated through the still dark towards my third shift duties. The stretch of road between the trailer and the truck stop where I worked as a night clerk was narrow and quiet. And painfully straight. It made me feel agoraphobic. All the space, all the beige. The way the wind whipped up strong and sudden, pushing and bullying Maybelline and me across broad lanes on the flat high way. This land looked foreign to me, a girl with deep roots that stretched across states back to green hills and hollers, back to a land of Mamaws and double first cousins and familiarity. Back to Kentucky.
For forty miles a day, I was alone for the first time in my life. Except for Maybelline. Together we floated down that eerie highway through a moonlit ocean of corn. As we drifted over dips and pot-holes, I teased -
    “One of these days…” I’d say to her, over the blare of oldies from busted speakers, “One of these days I’m gonna’ replace you with a Volkswagen named Brunhilda.”
    She’d sputter and backfire in protest. I’d laugh. Maybelline and me got along pretty well. I was in the wrong place and she was from the wrong time.
     The day she died wasn’t just like any other day. It started out better. Relief from my midnight grind came early. I whistled my way out to meet Maybelline in the parking lot at 4:30 in the morning instead of 7:00 or 8:00. I’d like to say that the end was dignified.  But it wasn’t.  The ill-fitting spare tire I’d forgotten to replace on my last pay day popped in a loud, obscene way as soon as we hit the first curve on the outer road. Maybelline veered towards a concrete ditch and I jerked the wheel the opposite direction. I’d like to say I was thinking fast. But I wasn’t. I was trying my damndest not to slide out the always open window.
     The ditch on the other side of the road was a softer sort of devastation than the concrete gulch I had managed to avoid. Covered in freshly-sown, bright green grass it separated Maybelline and myself from the highway that had already began to buzz with traffic. The ditch we landed in was fuzzy. Like my memory of the event itself. My head collided with the patch of once fashionable faux wood in the center of the steering wheel. The horn was stuck on when I came to.
     “It’s not your fault. Airbags weren’t standard in 1986,” I groaned to Maybelline as I hauled myself unceremoniously out the window and collapsed in a slightly bloody heap, leaning against her.
    She continued to emit broken moans. The horn weakened and waned and whimpered. An automotive death rattle hissed its way out from the busted radiator like so much steam. Her frame was bent and my wrist was broken. I knew I would recover, but it didn’t look good for Maybelline. She was doomed to be hauled away and dismantled piece by piece, picked apart by swaggering, junkyard vultures. My good arm drifted up to stroke the car who’d been my salty, old gal pal.
    On the other side of the outer road, the other side of the deep concrete ditch that would’ve undoubtedly killed me, tired patrons filtered out from the seedy motel to see what all the fuss was about. Tweakers and whores watched me puke and weep in the sunrise shadow of “the world’s best synonym for quality”. I cried because I couldn’t remember the area code in my new area. I cried because there was no one to call anyway. I cried for a white headed old stranger with a crooked smile reduced to ashes in a shoe box. I cried for Maybelline. A crumpled Cadillac that used to have a name.


Filed under prose car wrecks homesickness creative nonfiction

2 notes

snip, snip…

i gave Lucky a haircut today.
and a bath to boot.
he’s gettin’ old
and cantankerous
and growls like a pit bull instead
of a fluffy, little poodle
who’d much prefer to grow
his canine dreadlocks
on out.

i snip so carefully
'cause his skin is stretchy these days
and he pulls back lips
and snarls
like i’m bound to lose a finger
if i get an inch closer
to his balls.


Filed under poetry private parts poodles