Archive for the Wendy Taylor Carlisle Category

Three Poems by Wendy Taylor Carlisle

Posted in Wendy Taylor Carlisle with tags on June 3, 2020 by Scot

Carol Dies

and we are called to grieve and foster
driving down through the south
into Dash County, to Hoot’s BBQ
where we overhear the story about
a sex addict coming home from
treatment in California and Mary Lou
you know Mary Lou, says she wants
to meet him, but it turns out not
to be true, not a sex addict that is
so, Mary Lou is all disappointed, and we
speed past the Dizzy Dean Rest Area
in Wiggins, driving hard through
a twelve-hour day to come to rest late
where Carol lived in Ocean Springs
and everyone is gathered, all the sisters,
all the brothers, everybody coming from
all over, New York to Arkansas
and everybody old and shot and wondering
who’s next, because Carol was the first
and you can’t help but wonder about it
and the Baptist preacher preached
a laid-back 45, which is restrained for a Baptist
preacher and the food was church-lady
and fried-chicken-delish and we drove
right back home by way of a late dinner
at Hoots BBQ again, where we overheard
another conversation about a local lady
who couldn’t even get hired at Wal-Mart
as a greeter because customers couldn’t get past
her big-mouth-chatter and into the store,
and after that, straight home
and didn’t talk again about the trip.


Dry Fall, Dull Leaf

At the end, it’s the wanders,
fit to drive you blind. She ambles
through faded fall leaves, baffled,
no telling when she comes to herself.
Unfazed by rain, most days she can’t
remember where she set her sweater down.
The weather that year seemed to have
its timing off, rain/sun in reverse order,
one or the other not enough for a flaming leaf.
Perhaps, that confused her, the trees parched
or drowned. No one of us can untangle
her withering. Rain seemed to pelt down
as usual; sun shone like good business;
but mom didn’t come back to herself.
No matter how we want her back,
want a fall leaf to brag on.
She twists her freckled hands.


Rooster Cogburn, 1975

Rooster Cogburn’s problem wasn’t his one eye, wasn’t the Civil War and Quantrill wasn’t the Raiders, wasn’t his grit or lack of it, wasn’t because he never knew a dry day in his life, wasn’t Eula, or the Illinois woman, or his lost son, or the Indian Territory or the Hanging Judge, or the sixty men he killed, or how Mattie sent him after Ned Pepper, or the snake bite or how he run that horse to death, or carrying the slight body of Baby Sister, mourning her lost arm.

Rooster’s problem, and I don’t mean to tell you his story here, was the problem of having the wrath sitting down on him.  Rooster’s problem was paying for everything in this world because, ain’t nothing free, but the grace of God.


Wendy Taylor Carlisle lives and writes in the Arkansas Ozarks. She is the author of four books and five chapbooks. Her poems have appeared on line and in a dozen Anthologies. For more about her work, check her website at