The same wind



genstore06.jpg picture by pemerytx



There was a discussion going down, going around a table of old-timers in the gray yellow morning as usual, in the usual vouching and boasting on the fresh-painted porch of the Choctaw General Store.  The wind swirled down the dusty main street, swirled southbound in circles as usual, rounding up dead grass and voices and noises of kids and wheels turning in circles.


Across the way, in the clay and the stones ‘round the base of the Black Cat Showplace, lay all the men made into messiahs out of alcohol just the night before.  The raucous, starry night before, they were preaching things above their heads, amazing things they couldn’t have read or known in a lesser, sober state.  Once spiritual lightning rods speaking highfalutin words, now lying in the shadows, just drunks, sleeping themselves back to stupid.


The wind swirled dust ‘round corners, ‘round corners of mouths and into eyes and around the feet of dogs in chase and passersby casting their time to waste.  It swirled up and over and onto the porch, the fresh-painted Choctaw porch, and it wrapped itself ‘round the legs of the chairs that the old-timers tipped back as they spat and roared.  They spat and roared disgust and accord, spat and roared over chess and cards, ‘bout whether it’s better burning off crop stubble or turning it under. 


Burning or turning, that was the question, the question of old or new.  And amidst this quandary didst a city man come, a city man passing through town.  He come up the stone steps and onto the porch, the fresh-painted porch of the Choctaw store.  The city man come with his brocade vest, his elaborate cravat and his dapper hat.  And all of that would have been alright, had a glint off the gold of his great pocket watch not stabbed the eye of the poorest old farmer.


Say, Mister, come here and set a spell.  Say, help yourself to this good-smellin’ coffee, the finest you’ll find around.  Say, tell us where you been and where you’re going and which is better, burning or turning, in your opinion, and remember where you are when you answer.  When you answer, remember you’re where the wind blows everyman’s dust and grass and voices and noises of kids and wheels turning in circles.  This is everyman’s land and you stellar types are just our guests here, yes.


About then the sky frowned and grew gray all around.  The wind picked up and slapped the shutters of that Choctaw store, slapped ‘em hard against the dead wood clapboards, as dead as the old timers, just a long gone whisper in the wind ‘round the paint-stripped porch rails; as dead as the dogs and the drunks and the city folk.  All of them dead, phantoms on the wind, the same wind that rattles the beech tree leaves like snakes’ tails, startling me sideways to look; the same wind that cried Mary to Jimi, that still cries Mary to me.


Beech01_1-24-09.jpg picture by pemerytx




General store photo found at


The drunken messiah concept is uproarious, although I don’t think the author of Spurious, the author of “The Drunken Messiah” would put it so dully.  I can, however, assure you that the concept is true, for just last night I was a Cabernet Sauvignon messiah, and I was kind and compassionate to everyone, and excited and concerned for everyone.  I was love and kindness.  I was selfless.  ; ) 


The photo of the North American beech tree is mine, is one of the many I pass every day on my morning run.  The same wind whispers different sounds through the different beech trees’ leavesthe rattlesnake, the rustling beast in the woods, the cheap Sears womens’ slip under the wrong fabric, and on and onalways surprising me.



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Missalister’s “The same wind,” copyright 2009, was spun off the Sunday Scribblings prompt “#147 – Phantoms & Shadows.”  Click here for more on prompt #147 from other Sunday Scribblings participants.




And finally, for the Hendrix lovers among you, a lovely, clear, live performance video here, and the lyrics to go with, directly below.




“The Wind Cries Mary,” The Jimi Hendrix Experience


After all the jacks are in their boxes
And the clowns have all gone to bed
You can hear happiness staggering on down the street
Footsteps dressed in red
And the wind whispers mary
A broom is drearily sweeping
Up the broken pieces of yesterdays life
Somewhere a queen is weeping
Somewhere a king has no wife
And the wind, it cries mary
The traffic lights, they turn, uh, blue tomorrow
And shine their emptiness down on my bed
The tiny island sags down stream
cause the life that lived is,
Is dead
And the wind screams mary
Uh-will the wind ever remember
The names it has blow in the past?
And with this crutch, its old age, and its wisdom
It whispers no, this will be the last
And the wind cries mary


24 responses to “The same wind

  1. great piece – (it) has such a lyrical melodious flavour to it – a rhythm that took me along all of its own accord and demanded my brain to accept and adapt to its beat – the repetition and imagery grabbed me and took me straight to that Choctaw Gen’l Store – seems to me i heard that somethin’ weird went down up on Choctaw Ridge when Billie-Jo McALLISTER jumped off the Tallahatchee Bridge~!!! — hugs!

  2. I’ve heard say that the wind stops blowing when it reaches its destination. It has finally blown its self home. Its still there, say, in the quiet of the night, just not moving any, with no place else to be. So, too, goes memory, and peace, are we all so far from home?

  3. I agree with danni…this had the most beautiful lyrical rhythm. It swept me up and carried me along as the wind is want to do. I could have read more of what the stranger tells and what the oldtimers thougth of a man so fancy.

  4. Lyrical, rhythmic, lovely unrushed pacing and active and languid at the same time. Haven’t read a narrative poem like this in a very long time. Well done. I look forward to reading more of your work.

  5. Sheeit. Just what exactly are we dealing with here: electromagnetic fallout from a couple of decades matriculating down here in the Sunbelt? Years playing footsie with Mr Keats and his genius for negative capability? Or just the Holy Ghost Powah of speakin’ in tongues? This is a glorious sticky mess of honey bee brilliance. If I weren’t already spoken for, I would have to date the line “now lying in the shadows, just drunks, sleeping themselves back to stupid.” I’ll settle for being President of its fan club.

    As for Jimi and his Mary, well now, that’s just blatant seduction.

  6. Must be some rich oxygen — maybe 02+ — blowing in on that wind over there, definitely some wildness tearing loose here, takes the reader along on a glorious tumble, leaving this one, at the end of the ride, still catching her breath on the side of the road, very happy.

  7. Oh I loved how you ended it!
    It’s hard to dissociate ghosts from wind, isn’t it?
    What a lovely morning run that must be – albeit cold, very brr cold.

  8. DANNI
    Yeah, well I heard Billie Joe never had a lick-a sense. ‘Course we know betta now, but I guess we’ll never really know what they throwed off that there Tallahatchie Bridge… Billie Joe’s voice on the wind, the same wind as whispers the old-timer farmers’ recollections, is keepin’ it a secret. Maybe you know… ‘Til you tell if you do know, big hugs back, dear friend : )


    Well, now, Bass, the wind seems a busy wind, ‘cause after it does that dreamily put “just not moving any” bit of yours, it kicks back up a fuss. Out of the blue, it comes and messes up women’s hair after they get it just right, it makes itself a tornado and wipes out buildings. Ah but it sails boats and moves clouds along their way. Naw, I don’t believe in destinations, but somehow I catch your drift. No, we’re never far from home even if we only mostly feel never far from feeling close to home.


    As the wind is want to do, so right : ) I coulda done with more of that story, too, but that’s all the old-timers fed me this trip by the rustling beech tree leaves. And there’s such a din from the other beeches! It’s hard to take it all in and get it all down ; ) Maybe they’ll tell me more on down the road…


    Holy smoke! Feels like yesterday, but when I looked back, it’s been a couple of months! How’ve you been?! I’m so glad you enjoyed this. You sure are welcome to read more of what goes on here, but I can’t guarantee it’ll be any good. I hope it will. Well, it’ll be fun to see, anyway : )


    I dunno what we’re dealing with here, Paschal. But I can tell you what started it. It started with my response to your first comment on Mallroom blitz, part of which went, “For ‘as I went down to the river to pray, studying about that good old way,’ the corporate ex, she came to play, her starry crown in disarray, sang hey there son, don’t you put on down, don’t you put on down your roots too low, don’t you put ‘em down too thick, neither, ‘cause the winds of change, they a-rippin’ through, and in times like these you gots to be, I say you gots to be like a tumbleweed. I forget Keats, but fear not, I’m working on building my right-now-necessary reading repertoire. I’m on Kerouac’s “On the Road,” now and some Bukowksi, “The Most Beautiful Woman in Town,” and a buncha Hemingway’s on my slow-readng plate. I’ll get to Keats, or maybe Keats in getting to me, on the wind, the same wind… In the meantime, you jess keep that just drunks line handy, like a bidness card in the back-a your wallet, in case Ms. Tina ever gets sick-a your ass ;-)


    Ah, it’s lack of oxygen, I’m afraid. Feet pounding, heart rate astounding, beech trees surrounding, competing with me for the air on this planet, so we gotta split it… So maybe the wildness you’re picking up on is desperation. LOL! Hey, happy poetic one, I’m glad you enjoyed the ride : )


    Now you know it was inspired by a voice that started to holler at paschal, then it hollered at me through the beeches, and when I got to my computer, it did cry mary, right before it quit on me and left me in the daldrums. Well, at least I got down a little of it ;-)


    Hey there, Mr. Boston, Boston being my second favorite city after Dallas. I do know what you mean ‘bout them messiahs, and how! Thanks for dropping by. I’ve yet to make my rounds over to your place…


    The ultra-divine Ms. M! Pleasure.
    Strange thing about the temps though. When all the beeches were freaking, it was actually a high for these parts. I was overly sweating while running, cursing going against my better judgement to don a lighter jacket. Ya gots ta start out a run a little uncomfortable and then the rewards pay off when you’re not sweatin’ this sick kinda sweat goin’ “Jesus, why did I do this to myself???”
    So you see the lovely run. I guess that backs up that business about troubles building character and inspiration coming to us unawares! ;-)

  9. Oh my, that was marvelous. I felt as if I were dancing along with the wind, blowing me too soon to the end. I grew up in this place, “and it wrapped itself ‘round the legs of the chairs that the old-timers tipped back as they spat and roared. They spat and roared disgust and accord, spat and roared over chess and cards, ‘bout whether it’s better burning off crop stubble or turning it under.” Only in this town, they are still talking about which is better.

  10. A masterpiece Miss A. The photo of the general store provided a nice backdrop for the rich imagery to follow. So vividly, you captured and conjured the old timers with, “They spat and roared disgust and accord, spat and roared over chess and cards, ‘bout whether it’s better burning off crop stubble or turning it under.” I love that!
    Have you been tipping your chair back and helping yourself to the “good-smellin” coffee, while taking in the conversations and attitudes blowing by in the timeless conversations of any-town, small-town?
    Your piece flowed and whispered and took us along on an unseen current.

  11. This is the most delightful piece I’ve read in a long time – lyrical, rhythmic and full of small town. The burn or turn under argument continues in my town, aided and abetted by laws worded with far less beauty than this! Superb!

  12. wild piece, I was transported to another time and place. I even read it in a different voice due to your pace.
    when you wrote: All of them dead, phantoms on the wind, the same wind that rattles the beech tree leaves like snakes’ tails, startling me sideways to look; the same wind that cried Mary to Jimi, that still cries Mary to me.
    Well this has stuck with me, how the same wind is connecting every thing to everything, when that wind picks up outside, i will think of you and this town for sure.
    Then you go on connecting your life to this writing, really great, you had me chuckling and enjoying you.

  13. GEL
    It was a whole other flavor I started sliding into toward the end of last week and the beech tree leaves rustling, they pushed it over the edge. Glad you enjoyed it : )


    I was dancing along with it too. I tell you it was a blast to write out. My only issue with it lies up against the brick wall of the last paragraph. I think the old-timers done left me sudden, left me with the whole thing in my hands wondering what the heck. I fiddled with it quite some but nothing gave me any peace. I guess it was meant to be that way for now. And seems the burn or turn issues is still being discussed everywhere. Some things don’t change ; )


    Good day, poet extraordinaire. It’s a new day. The air was freezing, the jacket I picked was just right, and the spirits were silent, for no wind stirred. But I’m still getting the biggest kick out of the drunken messiah concept over at Spurious. Worth checking out if you haven’t already. They’re still going at it over there : )


    Yeah, that photo ended up doing the right thing I think. I agonized over it as usual. Got to find just the right accompanying image, don’t you know! I was looking through old ghost town photos and old western movie set photos, and I finally realized what we need here is a snapshot of life, not death, a slice of life as it might have been on that day on the fresh-painted porch of the Choctaw General Store. I am in a small town right now, but naw, I haven’t been communing lately with any of those folks. I just know them from memory and the wind ; )


    So you liked it then? LOL! It was indeed enjoyable in so many ways, to be a part of its sing-songing and lilting and chopping and digging and crying and whispering… And of course hearing your reaction, all these reactions to it, has been so enjoyable as well. I got a big kick out of the burn or turn thing with so many mentioning its continued controversy.


    Wild. I like that. Yes, it was, it is. And I’m so pleased that what you went away with is exactly what I wanted to convey. The wind stirs things up, in animals and people. It’s as a palpable entity, as a spirit, or a carrier of spirits. It’s a carrier of something and I don’t mean just dust! I don’t know about you, but when the wind is particularly frisky but not flattening me down, I notice, I perk up, I stop what I’m doing and partake of it. The wind feels alive and I feel freedom and possibilities, and I’m energized as a result. And I’ve recently begun to like to think that the wind’s spirit carries the spirits of all who’ve gone before, that it carries their hopes and dreams and their love and creativity, and that we can become infused with it. Well, that’s why I sniff the breeze, anyway ; )

  14. Yeah, I imagine you must gather a lot of ideas while running. I specifically remembered that other post about the woman who went running and she had to avoid looking at a dead animal, wasn’t it? ;)

    Oh gosh yes! And what you’re referring to is the time I saw a flattened dead bird on the side of the road and it freaked me out, yet I kept running by it each day and glancing over at it! Yeah, that became the Poe-like story “About Mrs. Giovanna”!

  16. The feeling i got after reading this one was that of stepping out of a dark, drunk house, damp with alcohol and the previous night’s binge into a clear day with the sun shining just the right amount and the breeze licking yet another bystander.. Loved the casual, blue and breezy feel to it – almost like the kind u get after a couple joints of the best weed. :) Oh and the beech tree – absolutely marvellous. I envy you for that.

    Always a pleasure when you drop by : ) Especially when your calling card consists of some of your own lazy breezy slide on down and set a spell words. You have your bud and I’ll have my Bud and we’ll sit on the back porch and just listen to those scratchy-soundin’ beech leaves rattlin’ together and maybe talk a bit ‘bout what they might mean. Then maybe we’ll talk about cashew trees. You got cashew trees there doncha?

    It’s all relative. It goes without saying that I’m a moron compared to Kerouac, but more realistically, as I read Jessica Halliday’s “Morning Coffee” today, I felt stupid. But you know, some folks would say to us, “If you two would spend as much time reading and writing as you do feeling stupid, you’d be brilliant…or at least you’d be too busy to notice either way!” LOL!

  19. Pingback: The Plight of the Trees 2 | The Essence of a Thing·

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