Several weeks ago, I discussed one of the reasons why I write – I wonder. I sit and let my mind wander. It takes me all over the world. It takes me to imaginary lands. It ushers me through time. Sadly, it can’t bless me with extra time. As of late, I’ve had no extra time…none. That’s one of the reasons why the word “Hammer” appears in the subtitle of this blog. Writing is hard work. Sometimes, finding the time to write is even harder work. Still, I was able to write this poem. It’s from my developing manuscript The Journals of Lt. Kendal Everly: Poems of the American Civil War.
Some men – their blood is thick.
When their skin rips, their blood
doesn’t run like the blood of other men
It seeps: honey, syrup. It seeps.
Sweat can’t thin it. It doesn’t trickle.
It smears. Like a swab of paint,
it smears across a man’s skin.
Crimson paint. The color of barns
and rose petals and apples.
Like honey, it seeps. Other men,
their blood spits from their wounds,
streams across a quilt of air,
splatters the ground:
spilt wine, sweet, sweet wine.
But some men: their blood is thick.
Posted in American Civil War, Battle, Blood, History, Lt. Kendal Everly, Manuscript Development, Poem, Poetry, Writing
Tagged Blood, Civil War, Hammer, Time, Writing
Cannon at the First Battle of Bull Run (Photo credit: Jason Pier in DC)
My second manuscript is near completion. It’s titled The Journals of Lt. Arthur Kendal Everly: Poems of the American Civil War. In it, poem by poem (one poem = one journal entry) Everly tell us a tale; he speaks of his journey through the Civil War.
Everly, a pacifist and a teacher, enlists in the Union army solely because he feels it is his duty to fight if his students are to fight. He feels compelled to protect their innocence. Sadly, he fails, despite valiant efforts. Sadly, he also fails to protect himself. He survives the war; yet he, in many ways, dies.
The final part of the book remains unwritten. It will deal with Everly’s experience in the Battle of First Bull Run. Everly will tell a gruesome story. His experience it that battle will, in many ways, destroy him. I find it strange that I’m hesitant to begin the destruction, so to speak. I’m hesitant to see what Everly sees, hesitant to feel what he feels because all he sees and feels will be torn from me. I will construct his hell and, in part, I will therefore construct a hell for me to lie in as well
- On the Eve of Bull Run (thelintinmypocket.wordpress.com)
Posted in Blood, Lt. Arthur Kendal Everly, Manuscript Development
Tagged American Civil War, Civil War, Everly, First Battle of Bull Run, History, John Pope, Kendal, Poetry, Robert E. Lee, Second Battle of Bull Run, Stonewall Jackson, Union, Union Army, United States, War
Private Hercules McGraw is now…is now a man. Read a few of the previously posted poems to completely understand this one.
Damn Good Day
Felt like I could have jumped out that tree
and floated down to earth soft as a goose feather,
but I climbed down just the same. Ya could
smell the stink of gun fire twisted with whiffs
of drying blood and broken bone. I stepped
between the trees, over a Confederate body or two,
paying no mind to what was dying
or what was dead. Ya see, I was looking
for a breathing nigger. Found one, soon enough.
He was stretched out flat, but his chest was heaving
faster than the lungs of a angry bear. He weren’t
angry, though. God was just trying to tug
his soul out of him. He was shot in the belly.
Blood dark as mud was soaking his blues.
I stood over him for a bit. He looked at me
with eyes as white as cotton probably wondering
if I was gonna spit or piss on him. Instead, I knelt
down close, took his hand in mine,
squeezed like I was squeezing my own brother’s hand.
Your gonna be looking at Jesus soon, I says.
When I get myself to Glory, you and me will
have a talk. I got a lot to tell ya. He wrapped his
fingers tight around mine and smiled.
Ya might think to take a bath first, he says. You stink a might.
I smiled back and watched him die. It was a damn good day.
Posted in American Civil War, Battle, Black Soldiers, Blood, Confederate, Faith, God, History, Jesus, Poetry, Soldier's Life, Union, Union Soldier
Abraham and Isaac
In the near future, I’m going to discuss my manuscript in detail. Why the Civil War? What was the motivation for Private Hercules McGraw? How did the private influence me as he matured? As a whole, how has the War influenced me and my poetry? It will be good for me to discover all the answers to these questions. For now, I’ll share another poem. This one hurt a bit. Tell me what you think.
It done happen right after Shelby,
this fella more concerned about
breakfast than breathing,
started frying up some eggs he swiped
from a coop few miles south of the Ginny line.
Splashing stones the size of a bull’s nuts
into this little crick, we was boys again
and the war seemed a bit away.
A bit of luck pushed a golden pup, not a year off,
out of the woods. It was scrawny but lovey like.
We let it lick the plates then it took to chasing
them stones we been throwing – boy that mutt
could swim. I swear it paddled with fins.
One time, right when it was shaking itself dry,
a bastard cross the water took a shot
at the pup. Lead ripped by, hissing
like angered snakes so we all hankered
behind the trees. After all was hushed,
we poked out and saw the pup was dead –
blood and such That bastard was mad
cause we didn’t share our eggs.
I took up that bloody pup, cradled it
like a babe. Laid it on a stone
like Abraham did Isaac. I was sure the Lord
was gonna spare it, start its blood
churning again, but He didn’t.
Then I knew, we been alone.
All this time, we been alone.
Posted in American Civil War, Blood, Civil War Veteran, Confederate, Faith, God, History, Jesus, Poetry, Soldier's Life
Tagged Abraham, Angel of the Lord, God, History, Isaac, United States
The poem posted below is meant to be written after the poem Letters from Home. I posted Letters from Home a few days ago. Scroll down and take a look.
The blood smeared on that letter,
the blood smeared on my skin,
on the earth – I knew all of it.
Still do. I know how it becomes
lazy if it sits still too long,
seems to curdle thick
as cream. I’ve watched it puddle
near the broken skulls of men
who dipped their shoulders
and charged against the tide
of hell. It makes dirt
sticky as syrup, invites
the flies to sip its sugar –
but if you step in it, it gets angry,
splashes up, wraps its fingers
around your leg as if it wants
to pull you deep into itself.
Every drop – an abyss:
you can’t swim out.