Evening, Wednesday, October 1, 1919: T. K. Jones, Security Chief In Eastern Arkansas For The Missouri Pacific Railroad, Boards A Train For The Short Trip From Elaine To Helena And Passes The Site Of The Hoop Spur Church, Now Burned To The Ground.


Should torches bring purity? No less,

Lies can be as pure as any truth that

Is; so much for purity in any form,

I’d say, if you think there’s reason

To divide truth from lies; more often,

What’s the purpose? For all seems

The same – at least here, where we

Inhabit hell and make the worst of it

On our long way to someplace else.


They came to alter the story by ashes,

To flame out the sentences and start

Anew, to have other nouns and verbs,

Many transformed adverbs and periods.

Arsonists don’t work well or very long

With commas and other pauses; four

Words to a sentence are much better,

If not best; no paragraphs at all, which

Get in the way of action and finality.


Who will remember what stood in

Place of the burned out message?

A few, if they’re still alive or haven’t

Gone on the road to find something

Of peace and otherness. We see them

Escaping through pockets of freedom

And deception, of tenacity and want;

We’ll miss them, taking their power

And eloquence to God knows where.