Clyde Kessler

Lonzo Tealbrome 

I knew a drunk who sang to hummingbirds,
he watched their wings refracting light over his wine.
He kept a vase of fresh lilies for their hunger
but they chose the gnats and spiders on the porch.

He’d trade wormy chestnut slabs for some bootleg
that could hitch heaven to a ditch and plank it
into fire. The fire could tear your eyes out, he said.
The fire could still burn you three generations later.

He’d gig green frogs and rock bass in the creeks.
He said he wanted to whittle a sunrise from a stump
but he was too sober, too slow, and the light played
like a boy skating backwards to drown in a pond.

I knew a drunk who sang his house away
and he mirrored it with his words, and thin yodels
cracking into wallpaper. The moonsets raffled
his mind away whispering to a house years gone.


Clyde Kessler lives in Radford, VA with his wife Kendall and their son Alan. They have an art studio in their home called Towhee Hill. He is a founding member of Blue Ridge Discovery Center, an environmental education organization with programs in Virginia and North Carolina. BRDC website: