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Amy Trussell
Muscle Shoals

Muscle Shoals

I am drifting down from Nashville
Along the Natchez Trace with the radio on
The broadcaster warns about tornadoes
Erupting like mushrooms on the radar screen

Wind drives through skirts of clouds
Even in the dark warehouse, the destination
I stand with tall friend cooking up a dance
Beneath the leaky moon

Thunder punctuates your Delilah song
In a cafe with a heart sealing the door
Painted flames coming out the sides
Like a souped up car from the year we were born

Next day we move slow as over heated snakes
Stopping to pick cotton that froths from the pods
Like foamy beer from the bottom of a keg
Shoes in red clay, crows circle above

You keep seeing lightning off in the clouds
But I press up near the windshield and I don't
It must be my eyes, you smile
Excuse me, I'm pulling over to have a vision

We can see the aqua vitae
Of these tree encircled swamps
Rising up in stillness like steam
Off the breath of a casket maker

You transport me to a destroyed plantation
Spirits of disembodied slaves
Stone columns are all that are left
And the graveyard across the way

Where someone left a blanket
We walk down a condemned road
I feel a gate opening, you tell me
turning your head towards the woods

I put my ear to the ground in the cemetery
Where the masters are under slabs
There is unresolved static
That bleeds up through the soles

When the planets form a string of pearls
Dripping down the stairs of darkness
You do distillations down in the lab
With glass retorts and dissolved notes

There's a murder mystery going round
The creamy center of this universe
About how we split off and fell
From that main storm cell

You say we won't get out on time
With these virgin parchment records
But that All true art opens out, sister
It opens out into the infinite

Poet's Biography:
Amy Trussell's poetry has been published widely in the U.S, and in Canada and Prague. She has choreographed dance to poetry and performed it in New Orleans at Loyola University and Zeigeist Theater, Nashville, and for five years consecutively at the Dancing Poetry Festival in San Francisco at Lincoln College and The Palace Of The Legion Of Honor. Her poetry and collaborative video with Jake Berry was exhibited at the International Poetry Biennial in San Diego and Mexico City. She is also the CEO of Front Porch Records, which she founded in 1997 to record and disseminate exceptional folk music and poetry. She can be reached at This is her second appearance in three candles.

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