The Aug. 26 cover story "Monsters of Poetry" puts the spotlight on the poet's art to preview the fourth annual Decatur Book Festival, to be held Sep. 4-6. This blog will count down the days to the festival by posting a poem each day by a different writer, to let the verse speak for itself. For Aug. 30, an excerpt from her book-length poem Cradle Song by Stacey Lynn Brown.
Excerpt from Cradle Song
When I was four, we drove to Nashville,
Grand Ole Opry-bound, and stopped
the night at a broken down motel
in Tennesseeshag walls,
mossy carpet, dank concrete
and I remember standing in
the doorway as evening fell,
a busful of believers rattling their way
to the pool for a makeshift
baptism, the Amens and Hear us, Lords
ricocheting through the courtyard
as underwater lights glowed
the pool algae green.
They would come to him, the big
preacher man, and hed lay
a palm across their foreheads, brace
them at the small of their backs.
Theyd release themselves to him:
teethsucking the air before
falling back into salvation,
held under unstruggling and
splashing up anew all gasping
grace and sanctified glory
hallelujah til my mother shut the door
and made me watch tv.
My parents dont recall it,
but thats the way
memory works in the South
the truth is always lying
in some field somewhere between
the bones of the fallen
and the weapons they reach for.
Stacey Lynn Brown was born and raised in Atlanta and is an assistant professor at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Her work has appeared in various literary journals and anthologies, including Crab Orchard Review, Poetry Daily, The Cortland Review, Natural Bridge, Souwester, and The Southern Quarterly. Her book-length poem in sections, Cradle Song, was published in 2009. Poems from Cradle Song have won awards from The Poetry Center of Chicago and have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
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