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An earlier version of this poem appeared in Deep South Magazine on April 1, 2016

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Double Thoughts on Dixie

I bet you do, Dixie. I bet you wanna

look away. Past Little Rock Central,

past Wallace and the Klan.

Past that flag your county fair t-shirt

insists is history, not hate.


Old times not forgotten?

Slavery, dogs and hoses - look away -

look away down south

past the past which didn’t die

when Lee surrendered his sword

at Appomattox.


Dixie, you are your past

and your future. So don’t fret.

I’m here to praise, not bury

and I’ll never look away.

Not until Memphis stops rocking

and the Mississippi stops rolling.


See, I love

your drawl

your heat

your y’all

your space

wide open

like the mouths of 72,000 hog callers

or 102,455 Rocky Toppers.


Give me a flooded timber delta sunrise

with ducks circling the hole.

Give me a gravel road cut through cotton fields.

Give me a rack of dry-rubbed baby backs

with a side of Nascar’s boogity, boogity, boogity.


Give me you, Dixie. 

but don’t tell me to look away.

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