Running Music

Longleaf Press, paperback, $11 US

I suppose it is not too unusual for a person to have family responsibilities, a job, and a vocation and for that person to find it hard to keep things ongoing and mostly under control. Running Music addresses this subject with candor, sometimes rueful humor, and always with a determined attitude, “Game face” they say these days. ~Fred Chappell, North Carolina Poet Laureate 1997-2002

Running Music is a necklace of tales interloping rich narratives from beginning to end…endless in surprises. Crystal Simone Smith captures the miracles and horrors; the sublime found in the mundane; the haunting awareness of entanglement. These are poems shot straight from the heart… intentionally hitting or missing, sometimes both. Running Music sings with solidarity for the children, for the relentless love of life and living…a tribute and offering to the breath of the running spirit. ~Jaki Shelton Green, 2014 NC Literary Hall of Fame




A Southern Evening

Among the coded unison of fireflies you trot
downhill, heaving breaths in July’s liquid air.

The crack overhead isn’t thunder. You wonder
then lift your eyes to the dead second a branch breaks,

falls twenty feet. You are struck, now horizontal
you mumble to a not-fazed, closing-day sky—

these house lights won’t come up in unison;
the Corvette lover won’t rush out to dig you

out of tree debris, you tell your bitter self.
Nor tote a medical bag to the walkway

of his tulip-rimmed golf course property. Why
were you running beneath my dead oak? He’ll ask.

Aren’t there live, surviving oaks on your street?
You lie in the quiet of fireflies and dusk.