JOURNAL ENTRY 8/1/2011: A Poem with "Orthodox Slant"

[NOTE: this is the third of four posts copied from my mostly "simultaneous" blog, "Red Dirt Mysterion" ( This also is an example of the kind of post I might have left at that site alone, especially if it didn't have the "Orthodox Slant" part included. This one, and the 8/2/2011 post which will be up shortly, both have the "Orthodox Slant" section included.]

¶ A poem written yesterday (with no claim whatsoever about its worth!) …


when you ask where

the tunnels go

into the hills behind the

cave house

the hills just turn away

and Five Coats Frieda

dead these eighty years

lowers a raggedy paper shade


This is based on an actual house in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which is rumored to have tunnels running back into the hills behind it leading to – among other things – a long-abandoned dance hall/restaurant complete with stage.

The Cave House was a speakeasy in Prohibition days. It featured an outdoors restaurant as part of its “cover.” But, according to legend, the real fun was to be had in a now-lost dance hall/restaurant, complete with stage, far back in the hill immediately behind the house. Since the hill is loaded with springs, even digging into it looking for abandoned tunnels is risky business. So far it hasn’t been tried.

More interestingly, however, the house is supposed to be haunted (and I for one believe it is). “Five Coats Frieda” in the poem is a fictional character of my own. She plays a minor part in some historical fiction on which I have been working, on and off for the past decade, about the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot. Since she seems to bear an uncanny, not to say eerie, resemblance to one or more past inhabitants of the house – inhabitants who, shall we say, still inhabit there – I have left her in the poem. These historical inhabitants who apparently still inhabit, appear to be numerous.

ORTHODOX SLANT: I’m not about to try to deal with “haunted houses” (yet) from an Orthodox perspective.

But I do have some emerging convictions about the power such places – and the stories, poetry etc. about them – hold over us: they evoke our innate awareness of the Shadowed existence humans live, and earth itself manifests, due to the “Fall.”

By “Shadowed” I refer to the Darkness, the Dark Powers.

Writing such poetry – and I love to do it – as well as short fiction is a way to explore what lies buried in at least my innate awareness, and I presume the awareness of others.

[NEXT: another poem with an "Orthodox Slant" on beauty and ugliness, poetry, etc.]


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