Dew covered vines and briers glistened in morning sunlight.  Blue Jays called; crickets chirped.  Memories of what had been, continued to disappear.  Pieces of weathered, milled lumber, mixed with fallen limbs and branches–as Mother Earth reclaimed sacred ground.

Respectable people never crossed to the street’s other side.  Only a fool would dare venture in, to what was left to rot–without risking life and limb.  The door frame held lonely vigil against total collapse.

Could this have been an old gas station during the roaring twenties, with, colorful, red cylindrical, glass-topped pumps?  The two big window frames by the entrance door weren’t typical for a residence. Commuters whizzed by, too self-absorbed to give the ruins a second glance.

Perhaps the site represented painful tragedy?  The tragic story of someone’s Uncle Herb, Aunt Annie, their daughters Clara and Alice, now chronicled in yellowed newspaper clippings, faded family album pictures.  No one, had been surprised, when a few years later, Uncle Herb, the lone survivor, hung himself in the barn.

Only a few old-timers remembered their cries for help, rescue efforts, all in vain, on that day in 1934.  Voices of the dead were still too loud. What if they’d been rescued?  What would have happened?  They were such a nice family.  There was no point in thinking or talking about such things–better to let it be.

The falling down house, while not a cemetery with headstones, flowers, and wreaths, was a place of honor–a sacred place.  A representation of four lives, cut short by tragedy.  What was left standing, the same as, four white crosses–two of them taller, and two, that were shorter.

The old house crumbled
Given second birth
Once again, part of earth
Until, the time came
When, memories of
The pain, for which
This structure stood
Remained, no more



mississippi lightning--alex northThe ghostly
Figure, of a man
Walked, hunched
Over, up and down
The beach sand
On stormy nights
Still, searched
For something
He’d, never found

Sharecropper’s son
From hard-time
Mississippi, when
Things was rough
The day he left
Like to drove
His mama
And daddy, insane
Boy, he could
Sure, wail those
Blues, like
No one else

That, was
Because, of
Troubled feelings
Hidden, deep
Inside, big
City darkness
Took ahold
Of, his soul
Wouldn’t, let go
When, he died
It seemed
As though
Folks, would
Never stop cryin’

Now, his
Blues wailed
In the midst, of
Howling winds
His tears
Lost, in
Driving rain
Played, to the
Of, thunder
And Mississippi

–Photo by Alex North–

Searching For Relevance


Hidden in obliqueness

Far as the eye could see


Different drummers

Too many Indian summers


Closed rooms

Cuspidors, chamber pots

It was too much

Too soon

Intelligence, ambivalence

Searched for relevance


Blue eyes

Color of winter skies

Broken hearts

Stripped for parts


Hidden in witticisms


Leathery hands

Tried to understand

Blue chambray shirts

Smelled of sweat and dirt

Rusted old pump

Rested down by the barn


Not happy

Not sad


In between

Words void of feeling

Words with no meaning