Karen Paul Holmes
I came early to poetry and yet late—from age 12, I wrote in notebooks and didn’t show anyone except a few teachers here and there. About six years ago, a whole community of poets opened up when I attended a workshop in the Blue Ridge Mountains and joined a critique group. I became an open mic junkie and started hosting a monthly reading series with open mic. I love to write and have been a freelance business writer in Atlanta for years. Connecting with poetry communities helped me improve my work and gave me the courage to submit it. I have a full-length collection, Untying the Knot (Aldrich Press, 2014) and my poems appear in many journals and anthologies including Poetry East, Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, and Stone, River, Sky: An Anthology of Georgia Poems (Negative Capability Press, 2015). www.facebook.com/karenholmespoetry
White After Memorial Day
It’s only May 10th, yet I’ve shimmied
into optic white jeans, rejoicing
they fit from last summer; white
doesn’t forgive. Boiling
for broth on the stove: the chaff
of last night’s chicken
thyme rubbed into its olive-oiled skin
for my dinner party
where a true Belle told me, In the South, you go
by temperature not date.
In Michigan this wouldn’t happen
and even here, I don’t wear white shoes
until June first. I just won’t.
A Charleston gentleman, 82, with young man’s glasses
asked me to coffee. He heard of my divorce.
I refused, politely. His wife died three years ago.
Twin Cadillacs, circa 1980, sit in his carport
side by side, limo-long and white.
From Untying the Knot (Aldrich Press, 2014) by Karen Paul Holmes
Singing with Beethoven
my car moves past twilight,
to sense fields with dark cattle shapes,
a black-mountain backdrop.
I turn on the radio, crack windows—
Music, nature mingle in cool air,
cricket song merges with “Ode to Joy.”
Now, night enough
that my headlights end in nothingness,
I have to trust
where the curving road goes.
For a moment
I fixate on the void,
a blue shiver travels my spine.
Then Beethoven heartens me,
Seek beyond the starry canopy!
I hit the pedal and drive on home,
belting it out like a fat soprano.
first published in Dead Mule School of Southern Literature
©2016 Karen Paul Holmes