Thursday, July 26, 2012


Red Doors*
by Joe Bueter

The smell some nights

_____ could’ve simply been the marsh.
Or crustaceans and bacon grease.

Once insignificant of sin, like all land,
god visited this friable acreage twice—
once in making, once in audit—

when god did range. Both times were
quick, maybe efficient.

Recently the county painted a bike lane
for the courageous, the driven self-healers
of port-to-port rides, sponsored signs.

Could’ve been their sweat or
the sweet-smelling diesel of barges on the river
or of 3 a.m. truck races passing each red light

of the abandoned Coast Guard relay towers.
Could’ve been the wind from the city

resting here. Could’ve been the two executed men
slowly sinking under the cordgrass and the light
inodorous spiders, who stepped

with their incredible knees
over the metal-blown wounds of flesh and sand.
The smell at night could’ve been all of this.

But not the locks of the new, red-doored condos—
all of them red against pestilence.

*Originally published in Nasheville Review, Summer 2011 issue

A poem by a friend, previously known as Young Joe Bueter or, if you're feeling familiar, YJB.  But since he just had another birthday, this nickname is now stretching things a bit.  In any case, Happy Birthday Joe!  Youth and wisdom both look good on ya.

And...we're back!  I am up knitting, because I knit in the summer and jog in the winter - go freakin figure.  I've been listening to an episode of On Being that Amelia has been talking about for a month.  I promise to give the impression soon that I talk to people other than Amelia.  See?  Here I am talking to a Seahawk.

There are zero Amelia's on this bench

Listening to the episode, Remembering God, I had my mind sufficiently blown open by Christian Wiman's thoughts on religion, community, and the language we use to touch on what is sacred.  What's that?  Some tidbits, you say?  I thought you'd never ask.

On needing to go to church and have specifically religious elements in his life, he says, "One of the ways we know that our spiritual inclinations are valid is that they lead us out of ourselves."

On needing religion, but outgrowing orthodoxy, he says:

"There is some combination of austerity and clarity that I think we as a whole culture are grasping toward and the main movement of the culture is against it [the political parties' trash talk, etc]...but I do think there is this huge cultural grasping toward something that won't be so fru-fru, and slip out of our grasp, and just make us think it's ridiculous, and yet also something that is open enough to engage those parts of us that we don't understand."

I don't really have a good segue back from the marvelous early Texas-Baptist fed heart of this man, except to say, you should probably listen to the whole gorgeous episode.  Knitting alongside it is optional.

In other news, I am finishing up a story for my friend Lukis Kauffman's podcast, The Storied Commute.  Soon enough, you will be able to hear some of my fiction set to pretty intro music, and read by someone with a perfect radio voice.   

It is time to dream!  Then wake and find the kettle. 

Sweet dreams to you and all your sheep,



  1. Kara! First of all, I wish there were at least ONE Amelia on that bench.

    Secondly, I love the quotes you chose! Love seeing his words in print. They resonate even more! Speaking of, now that I've finished porcupines, think I'll move on to his book!

  2. You finished Porcupines!! Good job. But aren't you supposed to be reading Proust? :) :)