Betty Shamblin

Betty Shamblin was a product of degenerate illness

Swan song of the choir that was suffering from madness

Married a man that could bring her out of it

Fell into a double-wide, ass burned from the butts left in the recliner

Stuffed her children into a shoebox, hands thrown at their incontinence

Bounty wipe for a wet wipe when there wasn’t enough cash for consequence

Stacks of paper scratch offs in the corner like a treasure chest of casino tokens

But the exchange rate is lousy,

Doesn’t she know dollars are made of cotton?

Rebel Run

She’d re-packed the Honda late last night, after she drove her friends home from the bar,

Laying down to sleep when she got the call, across town without a paddle they were,

Went home early for a reason, all for naught, spring is the season, and she sprung,

Reckless with the keys, tossed the shit out in the yard, kicked it through the door,

Pedal to the floor.

Heart cry obligation.

4 days should be enough time away to starve the fruit flies until they’re dead and gone,

6 a.m. start should be enough time to drive as far as Atlanta before she needs to stop,

Friendly drunk vomit stain on the passenger door, rolled down the window last night,

May the wind sweep some away, may the highway grime memorialize the rest,

The wicked don’t rest.

Get in the car.

Alabama was where she’d left herself behind 10 years ago in her grandfather’s Chevy,

Dark daisy with a permit at a graveyard taking the photo to win the photo contest,

He said I can’t take you but you don’t need a license ’round here, go win the gold,

Breaking the law for the sake of art is about as noble as they come,

Go on, rebel, run.

Laws turned to promises turned to hearts turned to honesty turned to fingers turned to

Intuition and the art stayed art and then became the journey to the art defined as loosely

As her aimless, retrospective, circa ’01, losing artist’s statement.

But stayed her rebel run, wicked in rest, she needed the pedal to the floor

Not the journey or the art but the choice to leave it all,

Without caveats or restriction,

And the choice to come back

Which she chooses every time

With devil-may-care open arms

And a sponge for the passenger side door.





Wolf Mother

Prick me while the moon is waning

Suck the blood out with the poison they fed me

Empty me and feed me to the wolves on the precipice

Suicidal over hunger gazing at the rocks in the gorge

You thought a dog couldn’t feel it

You thought a dog couldn’t feel it

Posthumous savior of a land unremembered

Forsook and forsaken, let me be nameless

The only difference between that and a martyr

Is that a martyr is shameless

You tighten the leash

I feed them bits of me till

The leash is tethered

You thought a dog couldn’t feel it

You thought a dog couldn’t feel it

Wolf at a stoplight

Rummages through the dumpsters of urban blight

Sets course for the precipice when the trash doesn’t go down right

Tell them the truth, urban cowboy

You’re obsolete and it’s a crisis

No cows to heard, only wolves at the bit

You thought a dog couldn’t feel it.


A drop of water in a pond
Turned the whole thing into a

Vexed ocean fit for a Michael Bay adaptation of a

Jules Verne novel

Each ripple a new pretty ugly


Where are the damn royalties.

Quel poesie

Mi amor pizza j’adore

Come si dice

The difference between free verse and free style and the air when

The truth comes busting out as if it’s significant

It’s not a heart of pretense but

Lavender and sage, bled words and word play

It’s just

Lost in the matrix of a land unjaded

Because everything else got jaded and

I learned language

At the age when growing up meant getting fucked

up and over for the sake of


And I tried but the only solace I found was in the experience of relinquishing it

And god fuck I relinquished it


You couldn’t tell from a glance but baby bebe bambina

I’m angry at the way I –

I see it all now

Pon de motherfucking replay

16 again realizing fantasy is a fallacy

Mixing my brains into brain stew for the

Sad drummer in the drumline

Sad dancer with the wide smile

Dumb bitch in carmine

Click-clack, a clock keeping time

Automatic transmission with a manual overdrive

And I just let it

Just let it all

From the top to the bottom


Everything was dominoes

I couldn’t help but dance around it

And there they went

And I watched as they fell in a pattern I couldn’t recognize until now

Hedge maze in a bright blaze

Always stepping too late

To hold that last domino

Against the weight of the ivory and the blood that was spilled to put them all in place

A violent dance with myself

Stepping too late, always stepping too late

I make myself laugh when I step too late

In a dark room

And I’ve always been feeling my way towards the end of the line and the

Sacrifices for the accusation of a crime

Giles Corey in Wonderland

There the fuck I go again

Velocity-inspired Bible-based hellfire

Dominos click-clack like that clock keeping time

On a bomb set to detonate whenever my legs give out and my weak arms expire



Soft as lilies

Plucked from a chilled lake

On the outskirts of a burning city


Fit me like gloves

Tailored and God-made

As we fall into us like a fever

A little death saves us from the degradation of life

In your hands I die, and die, and die

Come up and undone


I watch you die, and die, and die

Messy, sweaty suicide

Kickstarts a breath and a sophic smile

Nothing. Nothing but this.

Hold my hand and let’s fall into it


Tulips from the outskirts of a city on fire

Pure on my lips

Pure as every burning morning

Verse for the Expelled

The last thing they told me was that they were slipping through the cracks

Every fuck you was a slap that turned a backwards heads right back and right back


Those babies 

Exorcists, they’re all exorcists 

Screaming at the demon inside the details, like a child in a bind

And, like a daddy with a switch, the demon keeps screaming right back

The last thing they told us was that they were slipping through the cracks

And nothing high brow could ever be that sacred

On the way to hell they clawed my hands and made me promise

As the cracks widened and the chasm got hungrier 

To keep holding on

And they scratched at the bit 

Restless for recess

Scratched my eyes and my mouth

Drawing blood to prove I was real 

Not a ghost like the ones they crawled out of –

Born of a ghost

Damned to the ground.

My makers keep me chained to heaven.

And their makers are underground.

Circadian rhythm for social pessimism.

Else I’d make that promise and follow those babies down.



I watch the wheel in your hand as we drive north
Dust in the air, your chest straight and high
How’d you come to be 80 miles from Valdosta?
I am sitting here, and we are nowhere
The martyrs are never there until they’re gone
I think as your hair unravels in the air
Was it ripped, or natural
40 miles to Valdosta
The car is moving but I can’t see you there
You’re always going and they’re never coming
Two score 10 and 4 heart beat beat drumming
Drawn and quartered for the last time
Suzanne, break free and start running

Suzanne – Full Song