Charles Kersey: Three Poems (poetry)

Southern Legitimacy Statement: I was born in the South, deeper, in fact, than my father and mother, both of who relocated from southern Georgia and southern Mississippi respectively. I attended college in Charleston, South Carolina, at The Citadel which, contrary to the experience of most alumnae, widened my worldview. Thus, I am now one of the rarest of creatures: a liberal Florida native.

Laurel, Mississippi – 1984

The oppressive humid heat
seems to wash the dirt
and smoky grime out
of the air, through my clothes,
and into my very soul.

Driving down the broken streets
I notice the broken stares.
At the old intersection,
a decrepit drink machine
forlornly returns an old man’s gaze
as a mangy dog chases
Today’s News away from
the ancient gas pumps.

A stray breeze blows through
the open window of the truck
and carries the sickly sweet smell
of decay and memory.

I search for Moreland –Wood Hall
and the Delta Cabana Country Day School.
The Laurels of my memory are
nowhere to be found
among the dirty, dusty delta countryside.

Sighing with the surroundings
I stop at the old
Union 76 station and the
attendant slowly shuffles to the pump
to discuss and cuss the Summer weather.

The pump clicks off and I pay the man.

As I drive out of town
I watch the rearview mirror for some sign…
but Laurel fades into the dust.

But I know then, I will always
be back—whenever I am near—
to search, again, for the forgotten
memories of things and times
that never were.

******************

Biltmore Backyard

In the Autumn mornings
I often feel a chill
that’s more than just the
weather and breeze
coming up the
French Broad River.

The tenuous misty
fog hugs the ground
between the hills,
drifting among the trees
in a silent flow.

I see shapes in the
corners of my eyes,
aimless, lost ghosts
wandering through the
wood, searching for
their resting place
these many years on.

***************

Summer Sets

As I sit here, contemplating
the fine and brilliant edge
on which my thoughts rest,
I slide down; slowly;
slashed in two by
the intensity and indifference
of desire and hatred——
raging fires within my
blackened, charred heart.

The days are longer now—
steel heat and polished laughter
in the faces of death
and transition.

Ah——
Summer sets . . .
moan the passing and
skip the Autumn and
fall, straight down
into Winter and
bitter, freezing warmth.