The Floating Bridge
ISBN: 978-1-59948-896-7, 84 pages, $15 (+ shipping)
Projected Release Date: November 16, 2021
An Advance Sale Discount on this title has expired. For those who prefer to pay by check, the price is $19/book (which includes shipping) and should be sent to: Main Street Rag, PO BOX 690100, Charlotte, NC 28227-7001.
PLEASE NOTE: Ordering in advance of the release date entitles the buyer to a discount. It does not mean the book will ship before the date posted above and the price only applies to copies ordered through the Main Street Rag Online Bookstore.
About The Author
About Eleanor Brawley
The Floating Bridge is Eleanor’s first full-length book of poetry. Her chapbook, A Short History of Music, was published by St. Andrews Press. Her poetry has appeared in The Main Street Rag, Theology Today, Poetry East, Kaliope, and Kakalak, among other journals. Eleanor is also an award-winning photographer, curator and documentary filmmaker. Her work includes the public television series, Poetry Live, and the narrative photographic exhibition, Families of Abraham, which was supported by the Lilly Endowment. She received her Master’s in Television and Film from University of North Carolina. A long-time North Carolina resident, she currently resides in Rhinebeck, New York.
The tone of Eleanor Dare Riggins Brawley’s The Floating Bridge waves over Coddle Creek like an evenly unraised voice telling family stories. Brawley’s porch-like musical words seem water and weather together. A grandson is born “with a furrowed brow.” Someone says, “Put it in your diary now while you can.” ~Shelby Stephenson, poet laureate, North Carolina, 2015-18.
Read Eleanor Brawley’s stunning collection, The Floating Bridge, and weep. Read Eleanor Brawley’s stunning collection and clap for joy. Here is pain, sorrow, mirth, eros, moonlight and mischief. Here is the stuff of a long and full human life, felt to the depths and lived to the heights. Rejoice! ~Dannye Romine Powell, author of In the Sunroom with Raymond Carver
The Garden on Coddle Creek
There is the plastic chair
your father sat in
under his favorite live oak,
the one he was in
when he said, I like trees better
There is the rusty
blue truck your father drove
when he took you to 4H camp
with the first calf you’d raised.
Today at sixty-five,
your brother seventy, you drive
that truck to the seed store
once again to buy Kentucky Wonder,
Better Boy, Silver Queen.
Your brother sits in your father’s chair
at the edge of the freshly plowed garden
that fed this family fifty years
and barks orders
the way your father did.
You place seeds
into even straighter rows.
The pediatric resident
held my newborn
by the heels,
smacked her on the back,
said, She won’t break!
as the baby vomited
across the room
just before I left for home
to a mountain of sheets
piled on the unmade bed,
dishes high in the sink,
my mother on her way
and by morning
I didn’t know
called the doctor
who took me back
to the hospital,
checked me into a locked ward
where I was kept for three months,
the first three of my baby’s life,
cold cloths on my aching breasts.
America is at War
A new kind of war
we are told.
I pull a quilt
over my head,
Round the clock, the news
blares from the screen,
with false IDs.
Lee Ann’s daughter
buys gas masks
for her children,
plans an escape route.
Beth’s husband from Pakistan
says it takes twice as long
to board his weekly plane.
My daughter who lives
near New York
calls to tell
of friends they’ve lost.
Our grandson is born
with a furrowed brow.
At the Nebo-Lake James Truck Stop
Peterbilt drivers flock for liver mush
and gravy biscuits. Mama, Don’t Let
Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys
plays on the jukebox. Lovanda,
blonde curls piled high,
greets each driver as if
he were the last man on earth. [“was” would be the proper grammar – change or not?]
Daily, she bathes and feeds her mother
in a house trailer they’ve shared
since her daddy died. Only twenty-five,
she looks older. Rode hard and put up wet,
they say behind her back.
One winter Wednesday, Lonnie Mac
busts in all shaved, not smelling like grease,
pinches Lovanda’s fanny harder
than usual. Don’t handle
the merchandise unless you’re buying,
she whispers as she flips him his check.
He just might do. At least she could
see the world from his truck,
get out of this red-dirt county.
They drive off that Saturday,
her mama wailing.
One post card arrives in April from L.A.
I’ve seen Lyle Lovett live.
A month later, the coroner’s report:
Saying Blue Bird Motel in Canyon City.
Saying strapped to double bed.