Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby


Linda Parsons Marion’s third poetry collection, Bound, chronicles the work and fabric of a Tennessee family, from grandparents to parents to daughters to granddaughter. Bound as they are on journeys together and apart, memory seams one generation to the next, redeeming the stumbles of the past and blessing the plenteous future.


You see the rounder most in the sepia photo,
hat cocked over one eye, pranking with brothers
Owen and Ivan, bad boys of the old Hartsville
school. You can almost see the outline of bronze
glass held close, voluptuous curve already thunder
in his young Ulster blood. When he leaves the scarce
inheritance of a tobacco farm, his stepfather decent
but still not his daddy, the beacon of cigarette so casual
in my grandfather’s hand lights the road to Nashville’s
New South. Brass doors open to bankers and merchants
flush with capital, contractors unrolling blueprints
of the marbled Acropolis. Only at the chiseled columns
and Olympian pediment are there scraps for a farmboy
whose veneer buckles under drink and hardship,
four stairstepped daughters, a wife who has forsworn
his bed. His fine chances to measure lumber
in an ironed shirt or barber at the Maxwell House
traded for a sometimes job in the Arcade’s catacombs,
a shady corner where no one comments on the bottle
shoved to the side or behind the counter,
all the white worlds traded for another swig
at that sweet-burning fountain.