Blood is Coal and other poems

Karen Newman



Blood is Coal


The Celts worked the mines unaware

that their kin would die young down there,

each in his own burial hole.

In Appalachia blood is coal.


The owners of the mines just care

about their money, not what’s fair,

as they play the Grim Reaper’s role

in Appalachia.  Blood is coal


along country roads and highways

converted to a metal maze

of crushed lives overweight trucks stole.

In Appalachia blood is coal.





I look out at the mountains,

brittle boned skeletons

devoid of color,

their black marrow removed

like a cancer and burned.


The beauty of my ancestral home

has faded unnoticed

like a young man over time,

until only empty shells remain

ready to crumble at a crow’s touch.


Each day I put on a dress of soot,

a hand-me-down

from mountains stripped of pride,

while my mind wears mourning jewelry

of weaved leaves.



Backyard Memories


Grass now grows

above a coal seam

bathed by the clear water

that once nourished cows.


A barn is the tombstone

of that old dairy farm

that casts shadows as black

as the coal underneath.


Every now and then

I see the black footprints

of the dinosaurs

embedded in the clay.


Karen L. Newman is the author of the poetry collections EEKU (Sam's Dot) and ChemICKals (upcoming from Naked Snake Press). Over 150 of  her short stories and poems have been published since 2004, both online and  in print. She's won the 2005 Kentucky Mary Jane Barnes Award and received two honorable mentions in The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror. Please visit her online at


Photo "Graffiti Country" by Bella Dante.




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Poems Copyright © 2006 Karen Newman. All rights reserved.
Photo Copyright © 2006 Bella Dante.  All rights reserved.