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Monday, March 09, 2015


by Jay Sizemore

Alabama is also on the front lines of what some see as the modern-day successor to the civil rights movement. Although a federal court threw out the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, Alabama’s Supreme Court has tried to block the issuance of marriage certificates. Mr. Obama made several references to gay rights but did not directly address the fight over marriage in Alabama. --Peter Baker and Richard Fausset, The New York Times, March 7, 2015; photo by Doug Mills/The New York Times

in a hurricane of rose petals,
in a landslide, where every granule of dirt
is a body clamoring for air:
roll tide, roll.

There’s something holy about crimson,
the color of blood,
the color of a wound left open
like a gash between the ribs
where wind can be heard
through a punctured lung,
gasps of breath lost
out the knothole of a hollowed oak,
felled when the roots began to die.

Remember the F-5 that tore through Birmingham,
digging a trench a mile wide,
scrubbing houses clean of their foundations.
Remember the hopelessness of the sundogs,
shimmering in the wake
of Death’s coattails
like pearl buttons on a burial suit.
Remember the sounds of rubble
lifted from the cellar door,
the way the world smelled
like a dirty palm pressed over a mouth.

Whose hand reached down
through that rectangle of light,
that swirl of dust and dripping rain,
to pull you free of the cobwebs,
into cacophony and conflicted weather vanes?
If that hand had held
the penis of his lover
just hours before the storm,
would you have refused to be saved?
If Jesus Christ put on fishnet stockings
after the sermon on the mount,
and let Peter call him bitch,
would his words cease to inspire you?

Alabama attempts to stand still
with both feet on a fault line,
shaking its fists like gavels
to pound illumination
out of the stars,
insisting that every kiss
be given with the eyes closed,
no tongue. Leave the lamp on,
so you can see yourself
drowning in the gulf. .

Roll tide, roll.

Jay Sizemore brought the high-five out of retirement. He still sings Ryan Adams songs in the shower. Sometimes, he massages his wife's feet. His work has appeared online and in print with magazines such as Rattle, Prick of the Spindle, Revolution John, Menacing Hedge, and Still: The Journal. He's never won an award. Currently, he lives in Nashville, TN, home of the death of modern music. His chapbook Father Figures is available on Amazon.