Peter Neil Carroll, 11/25/2013

Current Occupation: Writer
Former Occupation: Teacher
Contact Information: Peter Neil Carroll is the author of a new collection of poetry, A Child Turns Back to Wave: Poetry of Lost Places (Press Americana, 2012) which won the Prize Americana. A previous volume is Riverborne: A Mississippi Requiem (2008). His poems have appeared recently in HEArt Journal Online, Sand Hill Review, Poetry Bay, American Atheneum, and Written Rivers: A Journal of Eco-Poetics. He lives in northern California.


Workers in Paradise (Alabama)





No place to eat in rural towns

I pick apples at Piggly Wiggly,

distracted by loud shouts  

as a cock-eyed, toothless man

disputes the register printout.

Where’s my buttermilk! My shrimp!

Two checkout women

laugh hysterically.

One covers her mouth, whispers  

I love Tuesday, he does this every Tuesday.





Not a shop seems open on Main

but three rusty pickups squat

outside a shuttered door. I push

inside. An elderly chef, her flowery dress

touching the floor, calls out


God bless! and dishes sweet potatoes

baked with pecans, collards,

ham hocks, beans, and gravy. Her partner

in Church of God T-shirt delivers dessert:

I sure hope this beats pie in the sky.





My lodge of choice might have at least one

working light bulb, one thin towel,

a plastic cup.


The harried manager, a newcomer  

with wife and kids cramped rent-free

in a franchised dump, scrambles

to please a paying customer.


Poor man, we meet in every city,

over his head in cracks and grunge,

busy, busy, striving.


2 Comments on “Peter Neil Carroll, 11/25/2013

  1. Workers in Paradise is the kind of poetry I enjoy. We need to shed light on the less fortunate among us. Let’s hope more poetry of this nature is forthcoming. Good stuff.

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