This is not

what was meant to be sprouted from scarlet, this: your exhortation to stop picking at scabs, the crusted-over crimson of searching fingers. I meant it to be about the blood of history, all sticky rust and slave-set-free-catharsis, set outside train station where truth is buried under a clouded highway overpass and redemption pulls away with a groaning of unoiled engines. But time taps out what it will, and I have a talent for scars. Sigh, and sigh. Let’s, then, try to keep our own story from becoming pock-marked & pot-holed: the burial-ground-turned-parking-lot of that old hospital where I first learned to stitch (with catgut in formalin-fumed skins of forever), will wait.

Written after a stroll through what is called “Hell’s half-acre,” which encompasses archaeological sites for Lumpkin’s slave jail, burial grounds and city gallows. The I-95 overpass, Main Street Station, and parking lots for students and employees of the Medical College of Virginia (where I did first learn to suture) all overlap/border the sites. Linked in for Five-Sentence Fiction with the prompt “scarlet.” Could we call this my first attempt at flash, do you think?

20 thoughts on “This is not

  1. A recent film about MCV that is a little rough for some but important. Surprised it was unnoticed by Academy and a lot of folks. The full piece has been shown on PBS.

    • thanks for posting this. i remember seeing it when it first came out. there was a lecture at mcv that centered around the whole “body-snatching” phenomenon last fall; fascinating in a gruesome sort of way.

  2. Seem’s we have become jaded of such things with autopsy show’s being our number one dramas on TV? In 2010 the wife and I picked up Habib Al-Zayoudy (sp), Jordan’s Poet Laureate at a downtown hotel to attend a friends Soiree. Habib was in town for Arabian Nights at University of Richmond. I’m not sure if it was our modest Honda or our southern charm but Habib said America wasn’t anything like he had pictured it from watching our television programming. He and then proceeded to sing and laugh as we showed him the sights on route to our night of food and thought.

    p.s. I was born in the art deco building in 1955, thank god they saved that from being torn down, so love this post. Don’t have a clue about critique of poetry, but really love your words!

    • i’d chalk it up to Southern charm. 🙂
      you were born in the Egyptian building? i took my whole first 2 years of class there; it still feels like home every time i walk in.

  3. I was born in the West Hospital which is art deco such as the CNB building I believe.

    Regarding prose, I’ve had Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass sitting around for a decade and reading here is warming me up to approach it again. I’ve been dying to read it. It’s odd how words can be consumed sometimes, sometimes not. Hemingway’s Nick Adams stories I tried to read again after years but lost interest.

    I saw the Purple Martins for the first time this evening at dusk :

    • nice! i have yet to catch them.

      Leaves of Grass is one of those go-to books of poetry for me. it’s a compliment beyond most that reading this here is warming you up to crack it open. wow.

      i’ve seen a few more of your (belly)dance photos in and around the web of late. some beautiful images.


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