Photography by Stony River /AU

Photography by Stony River/AU


Smoky-shadow remembrances;
specters of touches, smiles, shapes

of almond eyes & dripping mouths.

Now, the frozen moon cries blue.
Her tears are dreadful, epic floods.

I stand under her looming shadow,
dripping in indigo-blue memories.

Luna is pregnant
with all my scorched-earth secrets.

Alice Parris


There comes a point in everyone’s life when they have to shift gears. For purposes of survival or sanity, a decision will be made to alter the speed of engagement or the direction of the course being taken. For some, boredom is just the norm. Low level depression has become a tolerable condition. Feeling alive doesn’t seem as important as staying alive. Those who have multiple talents and no longer find life to be enjoyable or even bearable, must make this shift. Some people are good at being in the present, while others languish in the past and view the future with uncertainty. We create our tomorrows by what we engage in today. Very simple. No matter how successful someone is, in any given field, if the juice is gone-then it’s gone. It is not anyone’s fault. It is just a universal demand for change in the lives of every living creature. Homosapiens (while more complex) also experience this primal need for change. 

We have become trapped by want. Our want of anything and everything. It keeps us locked in. What would happen if we just stopped wanting? If we simplified and in some cases downsized our lives. We have been told to “super-size” everything-except for our weight! We went along with this agenda because it fed our want. Having fed our want, we wanted even more. How disappointing when our want has consumed so much of our planet. But, I am mainly talking about being personally content. Stop wanting. I plan to. I did not give up wanting as a New Year’s Resolution. I did not give it up for Lent. I am giving it up because I find it to be anxiety producing and the source of great misery when the object of want does not lend itself to being wanted…by me.

I am involved with multiple creative endeavors and I hit a dry spell. I did not want to read. I did not want to write. I barely wanted to create lyrics. I did not want to sing. I lost the song in my heart. It was the end result of having wanted too damned much. Old story, but perhaps a salvation for me. Without want there are no “knobs to turn.”  There are no “carrots” to be successfully dangled. There won’t be the sucking sound as the takers take what they promised to give. Now, I plan to create a new tomorrow. I plan on slashing anything upon the ledger that will bring me back to the state of wanting. Creating a new tomorrow requires going deep within ones “spirit well.”  I am going and I will stay there until I have sorted out what it is that my eyes would like to see.

I have created many futures, already. I started as a fortune-teller, long ago. Then, I became a Registered Nurse. After a season, I went into Forensic Psychiatric Nursing. Rough stuff. I would find myself on night-shift writing poetry. I intended to get the poems published-but they just seemed too dark.  Simultaneously, I had been writing lyrics. I studied everything worth reading on the subject. I got the general idea of how to structure lyrics. Having been an abstract poet, lyric writing required discipline. I, then, hooked up with a talented musician(Bobby Parris) for a Spoken Word CD.  I wrote blues, Contemporary Christian and jazz lyrics that were published and became beautiful songs. I sang jazz songs from the 30’s & 40’s to Afro-Euro Groove. This was all while having had five consecutive  husbands and raising five children(ages thirty-five to thirteen)

There are so many things that we are told that we cannot do without. Well, the list is not as long as one would suppose. I wanted to make my mark in the earth and that I have done. I never wanted riches. My family has had prosperity for generations. By nineteen years old, I had discovered that money and status never made me happy. I spent my time giving away anything that I had and did not utilize. Now, that was fun! I have blogged my heartfelt opinions. Now, I am fairly well blogged-out. Cyberpace has been sucking up my future life. I have to make it stop. I have got to change these gears!


Alice Parris


One of the many people I have met online has been Anna Donovan. She is an extremely talented up and coming poet, as well as an amazing artist. She has been kind enough to make gifts for me from some of my photos.  I am going to show you what she gave. I am grateful for her friendship and I would like to share some of her “vision” with you.   Alice Parris

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Legacy: Fame or Infamy?

Plummer was a good man.  He was kind to all and was a friend to the sharecropper. He built a church out of his own pocket. They even named the town’s project development after him.  Laura was as mean as Plummer was kind.  As she grew older, she had the classic “witch look” replete with a  hooked nose, facial warts with hairs growing out of them and teeny-tiny, little black shoes. It left us all looking for the whereabouts of Dorothy and Toto.  

Plummer and Laura lived in a house upon a hill in Nashville, North Carolina. Also upon that hill was Richardson’s Funeral Home, the house that Aunt Irene lived in, and the house that my grandfather Plummer Benjamin lived in with his wife, Alice Cooper. My grandfather, P.B as he was affectionately known, owned the funeral home. Aunt Irene was its bookkeeper and Alice Cooper was a schoolteacher who gave birth to my mother, Norma and my uncle P.A.  It is said of my grandfather that he was a mathmatical genius. He chose to use his gift in the art of playing cards. 

My great-grandfather, Plummer Alston was deceased by the time of my birth, but how I remember Laura. We called her Mammy. At the ripe age of ninety-six, she asked my cousin and I to go “fetch” the switches that were to thrash our bottoms. The property that was accumulated by Plummer and Laura was divided among the thirteen children and many of them squandered their inheritances , with exception of my grandfather who passed his funeral home on to his son PA. My uncle P.A. owns a  funeral chain in North Carolina.

The ancestry of my mother’s mother is exciting. . I will tell her tale as it was told to me. She was a descendant of Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper, Earl of Shaftsbury, one of the eight Lord Proprietors of North Carolina, so deemed by King Charles II of England. It was his son who found a great love for a slave named Rebecca. By all reports, Rebecca claimed to be a princess captured from the other coast of Africa and she refused to work. She was about to throw herself off of  a cliff when Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper II rescued her and kept her for his mistress. They had thirteen children together and all were given the Cooper surname. There you have it: the white Cooper line, the mixed Cooper line, the white Battle line, the mixed Battle line, and the mixed Richardson line. I grew up always being told that I came from nobility.

 It seems as if the First Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper, Earl of  Shaftsbury, had found favor with Charles II, and just as easily lost it as he was exiled to the Netherlands when his liberal religious views could not be tolerated by emerging religious zealots. The Coopers held plantations in North Carolina as well as Barbados.

He was credited with bringing  the writ of Habeas Corpus  into the English Parliment which was adopted by England and then ratified by the  United States. His friend was the great philosopher John Locke who assisted him in the formulation of progressive legislation of those times. Sadly, the first Earl of Shaftsbury, died in exile in the Netherlands; a brilliant statesman, and architect of one of our countries most just pieces of legislation.

 Both the Ashley and Cooper Rivers in North Carolina and the Ashley Cooper Waterfalls in South Carolina and Australia were named after Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper. All of his descendants carry his surname. After that there was over three hundred years of lineage that was un-recorded. The last of the mixed Coopers seemed to die at an early age from stroke-related illnesses. Now, there is no one who knows what happened after this great age. I will tell you that my grandmother,  Alice Cooper, had a predilection for fortune-tellers, that she passed on to my mother. Could there have been European exiled gypsies within the gnarled branches  of  our family tree?