Thursday, March 14, 2019

Mourning Morning

Mourning Morning

Once a year, the ocean and I meet.
I tell him about my troubles, as he caresses my feet.
I tell him all that's happened since I've seen  him last,
of all the good things in my life,
but also of loved ones who have passed.
I talk of people I had a year ago
that I've since lost,
how broken my soul feels without them,
how my heart has been tumbled and tossed.
He gives me shells that have been through the same,
broken, emptied, now polished,
and they still remain.
The sea oats nod with empathy.
"Yes, yes," they whisper as I walk by.
The seagulls hover around,
and sometimes with me cry.
Moody clouds blanket both me and the sky.
The ocean calls out,
"Hey! Look at me!
I'm deep, and I'm blue."
I see that he manages it beautifully,
and I know I can too.
When I get it all poured out
and again am feeling brave,
I call out, "See you next year!"
He says, "I'll be here, dear,"
and waves and waves and waves.

(c) T. Sigler 2019

Sunday, January 13, 2019



I thought maybe snake handlers,
and the close minded,
weren't the best ones to advise me
about salvation and the cosmos.
The god they spoke of
wasn't a god of love,
so I released him from his duty.
My god looks like Jerry Garcia.
My goddesses are nurturers,
mountain mamas, and healers.
Like violets in the fields they stand,
sucking up the earth's magic
through bare feet on summer nights.
They gaze at stars and don't wonder
but know.
Even the spirits show up to follow them around.
Creators who walk through life
in color,
who write, paint, make music, plant seeds,
make babies, bake bread,
create laughter, or any feeling,
in a soul that has been numb.
This how we are made in the image
of the gods.     

Trinny Sigler

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

The Warped Sapling

Warped Saplings
T. Sigler

One of these days I'll die,
and the mountains will swallow the place up.
Maybe they'll have a little misty morning tea party,
the leaves cupping dew.
The grass, no longer at threat of being mowed, will flourish.
A bird will fly off on the horizon,
making the sky wink
at the freed vegetation.
He will bring back seeds
and plant his own preferred flowers,
instead of the ones I've chosen all these years.
The trees will head-bang, rocking out to the silence.
Snails, no longer at risk of being stomped,
relax and move in sweet slime time.
The elder pines that surrounded me all my life,
will talk about what a pain-in-the-ass guest I was,
how I destroyed the leaf carpet every fall,
how I broke stuff and burned things,
how I invaded their space, climbed them.
They'll describe me as a warped sapling.
After all this time,
the interloper is gone.
We set out to make our mark on the world,
as if this is a good thing,
but that leaves behind
We'd do best to not.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Man Trains Pets to Demand Breakfast at 5 a.m. and Other Reasonable Grounds for Divorce

*I pitched this to Points in Case. They said it was more Onion material, but Onion doesn't accept submissions without an agent, so I thought I'd just share it here. 

Man Trains Pets to Demand Breakfast at 5 a.m. and Other Reasonable Grounds for Divorce

Lawmakers look at making divorce easier to cut down on homicide rates
by Trinny Sigler (c)

Betty Lou Guiltenhammer of Pike County, KY, has served five years of her 50 year sentence for bludgeoning her spouse, Jimmy Joe, to death with a high-heeled slipper, after he trained their pets to wake her up at 5 a.m.
"We had five cats, two dogs, and a couple friendly squirrels. He trained them all to wake me up demanding breakfast at five, knowing I don't have to be at work until nine. Jimmy Joe always was jealous because his job started a few hours before mine.
The cats were the first string of attack, and they would start meowing and scratching on the door around four fifty-five. The dogs would bust in next at five. If that didn't get me up, them squirrels would start scratching on the window at five after. It were more than I could take. One morning I heard Jimmy Joe laughing about it, so I took off my slipper and whacked him in the head. I didn't mean to kill him. Who knew I'd hit just the right spot? Reckon our brains are like egg puddin'."
Supporters started  the Free Betty Lou campaign to try to get her released. One such supporter was Myra Kendrick who says, "It was an accident. What wife ain't hit their man upside the head with a shoe? They don't usually drop dead. Her sentence shouldn't be more than manslaughter. Maybe even justifiable homicide or not guilty by reason of insanity. Let me ask you something? If five cats, two dogs, and a pair of squirrels woke you up at the ass-crack of dawn, wouldn't that work on you a little? Like water torture, one drip at a time, it  adds up. She broke."
Following Jimmy Joe's death, family and friends of both spouses began pressuring  law makers to make divorce quicker and more accessible. Jimmy Joe's brother, Timmy Bo, spoke about the family's feelings on the matter.
"Marriage ought to be harder to get into and easier to get out of.  Who knew Betty Lou was a psychopath? She always seemed like a sweet girl. Kept the trailer clean. We should've known something was amiss when she did in that rooster during their first year of marriage, but you know...people strangle chickens all the time. But the fact is my brother would be here today, if Betty could've gotten a divorce on the day the pets started harassing her.  He would've kept the pets."
Kentucky is piloting a drive-thru divorce program similar to ordering fast food. Patrons drive up, state their reason, and drive through to pay fees and present paperwork. At the second window, they get the decree. They can write in grounds that are situation specific. Some have included:  Goes running instead of helping with household chores. Spends grocery money on cigarettes, lottery tickets, and beef jerky. Leaves tobacco juice in soda bottles all over the house. Officials in several bordering states are working to devise a smooth, affordable  process. 
"Wish I could've gotten rid of my old lady that easily," said Benny Hogindorf, a local paralegal. "We feel this drive-thru divorce option will be a huge deterrent to first degree murder. Murder is a lot of work, if you think about it. Chasing someone down, killing them, dragging a body through the woods. My ex weighed between three and four hundred pounds.  In those cases you have to have at least one accomplice, maybe two, and good friends are hard to come by. So it's that versus pulling through a drive-thru. No more work than it takes to order breakfast."
While some see it as convenience, others see it as erosion of morality.  
"I think it's an abomination!" says Pastor Effew of the Crystal Methodist Church. "The Bible says that what God has joined, let no man put assunder. Why make breaking the Lord's commands easier? Marriage is a holy covenant. It shouldn't be treated like tacos."
Kentucky is working around this commandment by only allowing women to run the drive thru. The pilot program makes use of abandoned restaurants, in this case, a former fish joint. A pretty blonde pulls up to the menu board, which offers up some example grounds for divorce in case patrons are too tired and agitated to come up with one. She says into the speaker, "Yes, I'd like a divorce, please."
"On what grounds?"
"He routinely takes all the coffee and doesn't make a new pot."
"Any property or kids to divide up?"
"No, he can have it all. I just want out."
"Stop at the first window so the clerk can record this, and then proceed to the second window so the judge can give you the decree. Take the decree home and hang it on the fridge. If he wants to counter, he will have to drive thru himself. Today's drive-thru is free, but each time y'all come back over this, the cost goes up by a thousand dollars. Cash in hand. Enjoy the rest of your day! And if you are happy with our services, my name is Kayla. Will you take this survey? Like us on Facebook!"
Easy Peasy.
Meanwhile from her six by eight cell in prison, Betty Lou Guiltenhammer expresses remorse. "I never meant to kill Jimmy Joe, but if I become the poster child for the rapid divorce, then he didn't die in vain. I mean, if we can do it with tax refunds and mortgages, why can't we do it with divorce too? Why make people wait six months or more? That just gives spouses time to plot each other's demise.
I do think Jimmy Joe set out to drive me crazy when he trained those pets. Well, you got your wish, baby," she says as she simultaneously rubs her locket and points to the heavens, "I took the crazy train down to homicide town. It was a shame Jimmy Joe was on the tracks, but there's consequences for every action. I'm serving mine, and Jimmy's serving his. But no other couples should have to suffer this way..."

Sunday, September 2, 2018

The Tea Party

The Tea Party

When Spring and Summer sit down to tea,
the crickets keep them company.
The steam from their cups often fills
the lowly valleys and lofty hills.

The peepers, those little frogs,
pop up from the bottom of their bogs.
Their songs carry on the warm evening air,
and awaken the green infants everywhere.

Once the trees are clothed in their emerald gowns,
mild sister Spring lets her defenses down.
Summer steps in, heats up, and takes over.
The green children run wild from ivy to clover.

They fill up yards and scurry up trees.
They shade the snakes and feed bumble bees.
The moonflowers are an ornery sight.
They come out past curfew and stay out all night.

When Summer’s children start acting too bold,
then she realizes that she’s getting old.
She can’t keep the trees’ gowns clean.
They turn crusty brown instead of soft green.

The butterflies first feel the distress.
They leave to escape the hot, humid mess.
The trees shake their fists at the sky and demand:
“Do something about this parched, filthy land!”

All of the green children start to protest.
They are getting tired and need their rest.
So in order to answer their humble plea,
Summer sends for Autumn and invites him to tea.
(c) Trinny Sigler 1995

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

A Tribute to Jerry Fugate

Today I buried my best friend. The one I laughed with and loved. When I think about Jerry, it's always the details that come to mind. The way he carried dog bones in the pocket of his hoody so that all the dogs would befriend him. The way I've seen him tear up at babies toddling around at the levee. Small trinkets he would bring me: a purple monkey full of candy that crashes cymbals when you press a button on his back, a Hello Kitty fan on a 96 degree day. He tried his hand at buying me girly things for Christmas one year, and I ended up with lip balm labeled "Lip Shit." I loved it so much that he got it two years in a row. The way we both used our Hard Rock Cafe toothpicks and stirrers as plant decorations. His was in his peppers, and I made my fairy garden rock out. The way he wanted to stop at every gas station looking for weird flavored chips, and  then  he would forget them in my car and text me telling me to give them to my kids. The way we would say the exact thing at the exact time. When leaving the Jimmy Buffet show, we both rolled our windows down, heard the buzzing, and said, "Cicadas." The way he tracked everything about his tomatoes from the first bloom to each one's circumference and weight. The miniature things he kept in his mandolin case for luck.  Once he showed me an app that locates the  constellations. Once he pulled me up and started dancing with me when they played "Purple Rain", and it really did start raining. In the fall, nobody got more excited about eating pawpaws, and I'd bring him some from the trees in my yard. And the holidays brought out his little Christmas tree with  Sesame Street and lizard ornaments. I always liked looking to see what was new on that tree.

Jerry was always trying to take care of his friends and made his apartment a peaceful haven. Few people know how he took care of me when I was in crisis with my son, who is severely autistic and can get physically aggressive at times. I went into a major depression when I realized my son needed a higher level of care than I could provide in my home. I hadn't slept for days and was exhausted. Jerry took me in. I fell asleep on his couch multiple times, and every time I'd wake up covered with a blanket, while he'd be scrunched up in a chair watching television. He gave the best hugs and forehead kisses. He'd let you bum his hoody. One time I fell asleep with a drink in my  hand and woke to him gently taking it so I wouldn't drop it. Another time I drifted off and fell over on him. Upon waking,  I heard another friend say, "I want a relationship like that...where you can just fall into someone's armpit and pass out." He was comfort to me, a home.
We had such fun at the levee and going to concerts. He knew everything about any group that popped up on the levee schedule and educated me on them. He supported local musicians and donated to charity. He indulged me by going to nearly any show I brought up and no matter where, and people from all walks of life would come up and start talking to us.  Jerry became buddies with this 21-year-old guy at the Tom Petty show who kept telling us that we were old enough to be his parents and that we were concert gods because we'd been to so many and that he'd been to only three and had been police escorted out of them all. Jerry kept his patience with this kid, whose friends had abandoned him, and he stayed with us through the whole show. Once a guy on a tricycle outside of a gas station chatted us up for a good hour. I thought he was going to follow us. In the parking lot at the Buffet show, Jerry rigged a blender so that it was powered by my car battery and made margaritas. Then he sat and played "Werewolves of London" on his mandolin.
                   *The goober on the left does not belong to us lol. 

He had a zest for life and a childlike sense of amazement sometimes. He would get this way at concerts, and I also saw it at the Hardrock Cafe. He'd get excited over something and wander off to pursue it. It might be another musician playing off in the distance, and he'd grab his mandolin and follow the music. Sometimes he'd forget I was with him, and it took me a while to find him. Courtney and I started calling him "Where's Waldo."
He had a spiritual side that was eclectic. There were Buddhas filling his apartment and he often burned incense (Nag Champa). He celebrated Yule, Ostara, Mabon, and Samhain with me. He celebrated Christmas  others. I know of at least one time he went to Christmas Eve mass at the Catholic church. Heck once we even celebrated the Flying Spaghetti Monster with the Pastafarians. And he did find Jesus...hanging out beside the McDonald's just last Easter. Then he sent me a text asking if I wanted a quarter pounder with cheesus. His gentle, kind, non-judgmental nature was more Christ-like than many I've encountered in organized religion, and I guarantee you he's probably in heaven right now turning water into very good wine and hosting a tasting.
*(Do you want a quarter pounder with cheesus?)

What I'd love most were the small, funny conversations we'd have, and some of the things he routinely said. The first time I was at his house and got up to go to the bathroom, he called out, "Be careful!" I said, "Why's that, Jerry?" He said, "Because you have to walk past the dead hooker room."
Once he agreed to go see Dwight Yoakum with me who was opening for Eric Church. We both enjoyed Dwight but weren't into Eric Church. Jerry said, "Let's go home so we can get ready to watch Saturday Night Live." I agreed and left with  him. It wasn't until I got into the car that I realized it was only Friday night. Thereafter, I referred to it as the concert that was so bad we left on a Friday to get ready for Saturday Night Live, and he never could remember Eric Church's name and would grumble that Dwight Yoakum shouldn't have been opening for "What's-His-Nuts" in the first place.
Another time, we had courtside seats for the Harlem Globetrotters. Jerry had his flat cap on backwards and had on a pinstriped shirt. One of the Globetrotters stopped mid-game, came up to us and said, "Are you a writer?" Jerry laughed and said no. The player said, "Well you look like a writer!" I sat there nervously thinking Jerry was going to tell him I was the writer and signal me out, but he didn't. He recently sent me the picture I took and said, "Thank you for this hilarious and priceless memory."

Jerry surrounded himself with art and music. Peace and love were happy side effects. Dogs, babies, and women loved him. He had countless friends. He was an inspiration. Anytime I told him that my writing got rejected, he would text me how many times famous authors got rejected before being published or how many times famous athletes failed or made mistakes. He was excited that I was learning banjo, and when I told him I was planning on taking voice too, he said, "and then you'll sing with me?" I'm too shy to sing, but I'm going to do this. He inspired me to start my lessons again. He inspired me to come home and make something pretty, so I planted a memorial garden today. Every time I spent time with him, he instilled me with peace and inspiration. This is what friends, artists, writers, and musicians do for each other. We need each other.
                                *Allow me to introduce you to the "Jer-um" of which he wrote: 
"I can't put into words how lucky I am to have each of these three lovely ladies in my life! We had such a great time! As always, of course..." 
                 *His birthday night, and he loved that cake. Red velvet was his favorite. 

Nobody else in this world could give us what Jerry did. None of us will ever have a friend like him again, but I bet many of you would be able to predict what he would say or what he would do. I bet I'm not the only one who could finish his sentences. And as long as we remember the essence of him, our friend is still with us. I wasn't prepared to write this so soon, but I felt that we needed it right now.
Life is a miracle. When you find someone your spirit has known for a very long time it's magical. Of all the people in the world, there are few you can pull on like your favorite jeans, few you can fall into like the softest most gentle blanket. You connect with folks like this because you've known them before. Your spirit finds them again in the current lifetime and says, "Oh! There you are. I've been missing me some you."
I'm grateful that we got to walk on the same path for even a day. Every day thereafter was a bonus. I got him a ornament for his little tree that said, "My heart and your heart are very, very old friends." I always felt that way. As if we knew from experience that time was limited and poured all we could into every visit, packed all the happiness and silliness into every day. In honor of him, I will continue to do so. And although I would give anything to cup that stubble roughened cheek again, to plant one more kiss on that forehead, to be gathered up one more time by those arms, I don't regret anything. There's no way we could have more fully enjoyed life or each other. Rest up, my friend, I'll find you again for our next round of adventures.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

WV Landowners: Agree to sell land for pipeline, rebel as soon as gas company isn't looking

*This entry is lovingly dedicated to my friend, Ginger Hamilton (Caudill), who was a wonderful writer and story teller and who shared my sense of humor. She is so missed. 

The pipeline is coming to West Virginia. Sure they are having public relations meetings and talking to landowners like we have a choice, but we know it's a done deal because they are already piling pipes.   You can fight it. You can refuse to sell, but you know your neighbor would sell  his soul for a pack of bologna and a candy bar so the company will just take the pipeline around your place. The best thing to do is agree, take the money, and do whatever the hell you want as soon as Landman isn't looking.
Our ancestors came to the mountains because "decent people" sent us into exile for simple things like playing with witchcraft or trying to kill the king. They thought the mountains would eat us up, but we have the ability to survive like  wood roaches (a bug that isn't as dirty as his cockroach brother, apparently. If there is a roach in the kitchen, Mama looks at it and says, "Oh! Okay! He's just a wood roach! They come in a time or two when the seasons change. Don't mean we're dirty!" Then she doesn't flip out as much.)
We survived because of intelligence, ingenuity, and creativity, but we are a culture of rebels. There's the idea:  "If someone is dumb enough to show me they are going to take my land one way or the other and then offers money, I'm going to take it. I'll heed the restrictions for a day or two, but it's still my land. I do what I want."
Landman will come knocking and offering $45 per foot of your land they are wanting to purchase for the pipeline. Snap up that deal. Take the money. There are about six companies wanting to put in pipelines so if more than one company offers money, take their money too. So what if you have a small pipeline city under your place? It's the companies' job to figure that out. Take the money.
They are going to tell you a bunch of restrictions. One article said you can't put as much as a lawn chair over top of the pipeline. Another said you shouldn't build near it. But this is the state of "Mountaineers are always hold my beer and watch this" (the second part just didn't translate well into Latin). As soon as Landman leaves, we will all go back to doing whatever the hell we want, as it was from the beginning. They can't monitor us forever. And just like every population we have those that lack impulse control and anger management skills.
In the grocery store, you will hear common statements such as:
"You cain't tell me not to garden or barbecue or make meth or go muddin' on my own place!"
"If I get mad at my neighbor, all I gotta do is dig up the pipeline next to his house, climb in my tree stand,  and shoot it with my AK. None-a that old Hatfield and McCoy shootin' and yellin' bullshit. And once-TUH (pronounced once-TUH) that blows, Landman won't know what happened. Me and the neighbor will both get beau coups of money from the gas company just like those folks did when that tanker train exploded near-at old Indian village, which by the way, the railroad shouldn't have been cutting through with 18 explosive cars..."
"You cain't tell me I cain't moonshine on my own property! And you cain't tell Granny she cain't can outside on the Coleman stove when it gets too hot in the kitchen!" 
I predict death and disaster from this pipeline, but it's coming one way or another. There will be a large number of body parts of meth makers hanging in trees. Pigs will be blown to bacon. Snake handlin' churches from here to Kentucky can't save us from this. Bubby is not going to stop muddin', drinkin', and buldin' campfires just because there's a pipeline underneath him. We can tell him, but he won't listen. This is the land of that'll-learn-him mentality.
"Let him blow up a meth lab on that pipeline. That'll learn him!"
We can warn the younger generations. "Kids! Y'all know Uncle Bubby only has one leg, half an arm, and one eye because he was playin' on that pipeline, and it s'ploded. We done told y'all to stop once-TUH!" (And before someone tries to say I'm using Uncle Bubby to imply that we are inbred up here, let me explain that some folks use Bubby (or Sissy) as a first name, and then Bubby grew up and became an uncle, which is a mur-acle from heaven after what happened to him with that pipeline.

There's a good chance meth-makers are going to blow themselves up anyway. People are going to shoot each other with AK's anyway. Trump sold us to China so the air quality is going to be toxic anyway. Stream banks will erode and flooding is going to increase because the pipeline is coming anyway. Might as well take the money.  It may be the only green we have left.