Southern Fried Hymn
Poet Matt Layne preaches about "Green beans, butter beans, red beans and rice..." with music by Ned Mudd.
Southern Fried Hymn
Stewed tomatoes and okra and blackeyed peas.
Boiled down turnip greens and macaroni cheese.
Green beans, butter beans, red beans and rice,
field peas, crowder peas, sweet potato pie.
Fat back, heart attack, Southern till I die.
Cook ‘em down in boiling water or throw ‘em in deep fry.
Collard greens, kidney beans, gravied mash potatoes,
ham hocks, pork chops, fried green tomatoes,
fried chicken, fried catfish, country fried steak,
fried corn, fried okra, apple cobbler bake.
Buttermilk, smooth as silk, slide into my belly.
Corn pones or rolls or biscuits with Bama jelly.
Southern food, Southern soul, raised up Southern hard.
I ain't gonna touch it if it ain't been cooked with lard.
Matt Layne writes…
I am ready to sleep, but it is only mid-afternoon. I just spent an hour plus with two amazing people, my son, Isaac, and his partner, Genelle, at Niki's West in Birmingham, Alabama engulfing way too much food. It's what we call a meat n' three in the southern United States. Y'all might call it a steam table restaurant or something; I don't know, but what I do know is they serve up the very best in southern cooking in a sprawling building that seems to twist and turn into infinity. Stained glass ceiling tiles and fireplaces and sweet tea until the angels call you home. Fried green tomatoes, and black-eyed peas... wish you were here!
“Southern Fried Hymn” appears in Miracle Strip, released August 24, 2022. The music is “Bison Banjo” by Ned Mudd.
Miracle Strip, a poetry collection by Matt Layne, is a unique hybrid of the written and spoken word. Each piece of the collection has an end-stop embellishment QR code which, when scanned, transforms the reader into a listener. Layne has recorded each poem, often with the accompaniment of musician and poet, Ned Mudd. The first line of the book invites the reader to “tell me your story, and I will tell you mine,” in the campfire tradition. In Miracle Strip, the reader and poet embark on an experiential journey of memories and the ghosts who haunt us.
Miracle Strip by Matt Layne is officially in print! Get your copy today!
Poet, librarian, raconteur; Matt Layne has been poking hornet's nests and looking under rocks for lizards and snakes since he was knee-high to a peanut peg. A founding member of the 1990s improvisational poetry collective, The Kevorkian Skull poets, Layne believes in the radical transformative power found in the intersection of poetry and art, and he wants you to write your truth and share it out loud. A multiple Hackney Award winning writer, he has also been recognized by the National Society of Arts and Letters and been featured in Peek Magazine, Birmingham Arts Journal, Steel Toe Review, B-Metro, and elsewhere. Look for him at your local library.
Ned Mudd resides in Alabama where he engages in interspecies communication, rock collecting, and frequent cloud watching. He is the author of The Adventures of Dink and DVD (a space age comedy). Some of Ned’s best friends are raccoons.
Juke is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support our work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Great listen. I only know Southern American cuisine from movies, I’ve never been there in real life. But through your descriptions I could almost taste the dishes, and it was a great experience. You really transported me to the South with this piece!