A Founding Father

March 13, 2012 § Leave a comment

By Tom Macarte

not West End for wine but i’ll have a
belgian beer at Milltown then we can
walk round the back of Carr Mill Mall
to get groceries. meet me at Silent Sam

to head back from campus, Silent Sam being
the Daughters of the Confederacy monument to
the Confederacy opened by the carr in Carrboro
general Jule who gave the address ‘Unveiling

of Confederate Monument at University’. you
can read choice extracts in the Carrboro
Centennial Commemorative which says unveiling
or horsewhipping blacks weren’t his legacy but

the town
the town named for electric power.

[after an essay by David Otto]

Youth Angst Society Reading (February 21, 2012)

February 24, 2012 § Leave a comment

The Youth Angst Society hosts monthly readings in the Bull’s Head Bookshop thanks in large part to their generous support
This reading features The Salad Days contributors Katherine Proctor, Tom Macarte, and Peter Szulc. The reading also features Greg Halloran, Emily Palmer, and Ben Miller.
For more information, check out the YAS Facebook page.

Dulcimer Maker

February 16, 2012 § Leave a comment

By Tom Macarte

For Edd Presnell

He hammers a wedge into the gap between the brace
and wood, then runs glue along the edge of the curves,
the plastic bottle loose in his grip. We’re in his workspace,

a cabin in western Watauga County that took me
three hours to drive to. He ignores my pristine shirt
and says that the wood he’s using is aged cherry

from an old log house. I watch his hands, follow
their deliberate trace as he tests the joins, gauges
the smoothness. I picture how, two weeks ago,

he boiled down those side pieces, made them bend
into shape like a Matisse torso, or a boat trying
to be Rita Hayworth. He carved the head at one end

of its three-foot neck, curved over itself like the arm
of a Georgian couch. Now he is whittling a tuning peg,
the horn handle of his knife tucked into his palm.

He shifts its incline, rounding the corners. He makes
three pegs before measuring out the frets, their precise
irregularity, and laying metal into the grooves. It takes

some hours to do all this. I sit down as he sketches
out the sound holes, and while he cuts them out I look on
like a foreman in a factory. He unwinds and stretches

the three strings, tunes them like a rhyme scheme. Finally,
laying it flat, he plays it, his fingers downward, sliding
and can-canning in time. He says the song’s ‘Aura Lee’

but it sounds more like Elvis. I stand, and he wraps it in fabric,
handing the bundle to me at the door. I wave at him as I put it
into the trunk of my car. Outside, the forest smells like Air Wick.


January 31, 2012 § Leave a comment

By Tom Macarte

Photo Courtesy of Liz Maney

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

January 19, 2012 § Leave a comment

By Tom Macarte

we walk counterclockwise as the leaflet suggests, I’m
lagging behind so i can read the placards by all the
agave and cacti that would be there anyway or maybe
more spread out. Alex says that only blue agave
makes tequila and to get gold not the ‘silver shit’
that comes with the top shaped like a sombrero

With the information board i can identify the tracks
by the coyote enclosure as a roadrunner’s. so now
I have to make sure that any doorways aren’t just
painted on Then just after the coyotes there’s some fenced
off scrubland with a sign that says something like “the
natural environment of this area will be restored soon”.

The name of this plant means hard green stick, there
are also sticks of other colours and there’s ‘jojoba’ which
I know from Body Shop products. i can’t stop myself
saying ‘jojoba’ in a Billy Connolly voice The trail ends by
the gift shop and from there we can see the actual desert
where the prairie dogs and ocelots ‘roam free’


January 13, 2012 § Leave a comment

By Tom Macarte

“Pigs are smarter than dogs and young children. They are
affectionate and like to play video games.”
– PETA booklet

If pushed, the pig says, he would have to say that the airport level
on Modern Warfare 2 is his favourite. Why? He pauses,
scratches himself, not looking away from the screen. He likes,
he says, the indiscriminate slaughter, the ultimate futility. If only
he could eat the bodies as well. One trotter on the analogue stick,
he squeals softly as he butchers opponents, bleeds them out.

Affectionate? He suppresses a snort. In adjacent sties, they are playing
Mario Kart, the mini-games on Pokemon Stadium. A killstreak later,
he says he misses the attack dogs you get on Black Ops. They’re so
vicious, he says, and they remind him how smart he is. You know
what would be even better, he says, even harder for players to kill?
A rabid pack of young children. He grins, reloads his shotgun.

An Evening In

December 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

By Tom Macarte

At ten thirty the tiger moths’ incessant thuds
against the bathroom window finally broke through,
smashing the lights, and in the fresh dark we found
the skittering of wings off-putting when we tried to piss.

We watched TV downstairs with the sound on full
while they ate our towels and laid eggs amongst the bristles
of our toothbrushes. After the news we took turns
at the basin, tasting nothing through the toothpaste.

By morning, our mouths had hatched a mass of wool,
baby worms tickling against the backs of our teeth,
pupating, opening their wings. We clenched our jaws
and swallowed them whole, like scratchy oysters.

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