Wednesday, March 29, 2006


I'm pleased to report that entries have started to roll in for the first Gravity & Light April Poetry Contest. Eminent local writers have agreed to read all poems in early May and announce the winner May 12.

Keep those poems coming! Good night and good luck.

Monday, March 27, 2006


Okay, here goes. Out of respect to April as National Poetry Month, this blog, known as Gravity and Light, will sponsor a month-long poetry contest. The expectations are few: no rhyming, no poem over 50 lines, fresh and surprising, concentrated and imagistic. Deadline: April 30. So, there we are. Please send entries in the text of an email to: Good luck and good writing! May the Muse bless our Olympics of Poetry! Best, C Courington


Here's a piece written as a freewrite several years ago.

Let Darkness Come

The route to darkness meanders down through nightmares that entangle and cloud the light. Buried emotions attack the jugular vein, scream deadly slogans, tackle us when we least expect it. I had a friend who spent the last ten years of living, looking for outs to his clinically depressed existence. He tried suicide almost as many times as I tried new lovers from overdosing to carbon monoxide to slamming his Harley into the side of Compass Bank. I talked him back into life almost every time. He’d grin like a devil sick of sin: “Yeah, I’m crazy. You’re crazy. We all are.” He pulled me down on him. Then he’d walk into a dark room and begin the descent over and over and over again. I look back at those early mornings when he’d take me on his Harley around Monte Sano, a winding mountain road. And I remember the last time he called me at 4 a.m. Sunday. He said he was walking alone into the darkness and asked if I would join him. I was scared, knew he spoke a language I didn’t understand, and immediately drove over to his place—near county highway 9. When I got there, about fifteen minutes from my apartment, everything was dark. The door was cracked; I walked in. The silence was deafening. Nobody was there. I knew in my bones Jimmy was gone forever and drove home to sit by the phone until I heard something. His cousin called at 10—Jimmy shot himself in the head at Lake Guntersville near the state lodge. His body was slumped against a picnic table. I felt cold, my jaw locked, and I slammed down the phone.

Saturday, March 11, 2006


The following are the blurbs on my first chapbook entitled, _Southern Girl Gone Wrong_, published by Foothills Publishing of New York in fall 2004. When I returned to writing poetry in 2003 after almost a 20-year hiatus in the world of academic writing, Perie Longo was my mentor and guide, giving me the needed advice and encouragement to keep writing. My dear friend and colleague, David Starkey, is my model for seeking creative challenges and pushing myself to grow as a poet. His productivity inspires.

"No one writes of sexuality more sweetly or bitterly, when taken by even the most holy, than Chella Courington. Her poems sizzle under southern sun and make you want to go take a cold shower. Her talk is tough, sensual, sparse yet laced with lyricism and love for the family, in the end, and all things southern that come from staring truth in the face. Startling images are there not for effect, but rise out of suffering, and like her, we are 'saved' by memory's exquisite touch."

--Perie Longo
Author of The Privacy of Wind

"In Chella Courington's 'Jesus Loves Me' the speaker fantasizes about making love to Jesus. The experience she describes is both sinful yet oddly innocent, and that atmosphere of naiveté and abandon pervades the poems in_ Southern Girl Gone Wrong_. Courington's world is lush, humid, sensual and inviting: once you enter it, you'll want to stay."

--David Starkey
Author of Open Mike Night at the Cabaret Voltaire
and Fear of Everything

BTW, my chapbook can be purchased online at Foothills Publishing, linked to the right. Thanks for supporting poetry!

Thursday, March 09, 2006


Jake tickles my cheek with his tongue, and I lean against
him. Sliding over my shoulder like the Virgin’s mantle,
he rolls his muscles to the drummer’s beat. A whore
mama calls me and says anybody in a strip joint sleeps
with the Devil. Her Jesus is about covered dish suppers
and long dresses. Mine’s not cooped up in the Boaz
Baptist Church drinking juice and eating saltines. He’s in
the clubs, witnessing to the night people. When the sax
man plays “Amazing Grace,” Jake curls around me. His
head sways from side to side, biting my lip before
the music fades, and everybody’s washed in light.

Chella Courington
Published in _Desert Voices_, (volume 4, issue 1) December 2005