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Author Name: PremiumMLAllen 26 Comments
Date Added: August 06, 2006 17:08:36 Average Score: (Needs 2)
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Category: Short Stories Add To Favorites | Text Only
Returning to her work space, she discovered four strangers sitting around her table, eating.  Her work was piled under the table.  What was she to do now?  In a few days, when she was used to the way things were done here, she'd know what to do.  Right now, she was stymied.  She couldn't ask them to leave.  They might own the place for all she knew.
She looked around.  Everybody was busy.  No one seemed to notice her.  If someone would just look up, she might ask them what she was to do, but no one did.
She looked at the opening in the wall where the supervisor had disappeared.  She approached the wall.  She was surprised to find bars across the opening.  Looking through the bars, she saw someone sitting at a table at the far end of a long room bending over papers.  "Hey!" she called out.  The woman didn't look up.  "Hey!" she called louder.  No response.
With both hands on the bars, she pushed.  The bars wouldn't give.  She looked around the room she was in; a large rectangle, stark white, with windows too high to see through.  Many people were sitting at tables, poring over something, papers, she thought.  Some were sitting on the floor.  No one was talking. The four at her table were the only ones eating.
Looking back through the bars, she called out again.  No one seemed to hear her.  She tried to think how she got here, what she was doing here.  But, her mind seemed numb.  She couldn't recall coming here.  What kind of place was this anyway?
Just minutes ago, the supervisor had taken her to her work space and told her what to do.  Funny.  Now she couldn't remember what she was told to do.  She didn't know where she'd been before coming back to her table.  Now, she wasn't sure which table was hers.  Oh, yes.  The one where people were eating.
Humming softly, she sang the words in her mind, "I wish I was in the land a cotton; old times there are not forgotten.  Look away!  Look away!"  On the third repeat of "Look away!" she thought she heard another voice.
She stood still, listening, for a minute.  Nothing.  She called out again.  No response.
"In Dixieland, where I was bornin' early on a..." Forgetting the word "frosty" she muttered, "Sunday mornin', look away!  Look away!"  She was sure this time.  There was another voice.
She looked around the room.  No one was looking at her.  All heads seemed bent over their work.
Looking back through the bars, she noted that no one had responded to her calls.  She called again, "Hey!"  No response this time either.  Was she speaking?  Did she just think she was speaking?
A male voice nearby sang, "I wish I was in Dixie.  Hurray!  Hurray!"  She looked quickly over her shoulder.  A young man in the first row was standing, looking directly at her.  She began to sing again, "In Dixie Land I'll make my stand,"  At this point, the others were standing.  All were singing,  "To live and die in Dixie.  Away, away, away down South in Dixie."
Feeling light headed and a bit off kilter, she leaned into the bars and sang, "Away, away, away down South in Dixie."
The young man came over to her, holding out his hand.  "C'mon, honey," he said gently, "come away."
She tried to back away from him, but the bars stopped her.  "No!" she said.  "Who are you?  What do you want?"
"It's Dan, honey.  You remember me, don't you?"
She tried to think, but the numbness seemed to have overtaken her brain.  Yes, she did remember.  He's the one who was singing.
"How do you know my song?" she asked warily.
"I learned it from you, honey," he said, smiling.  His eyes were filled with pity, though she didn't recognize that.  "You've been standing at these bars singing that song every day for six months."
Author's Notes:
Words and music to "Look Away, Dixie Land" by Ben Snowden, Lou Snowden and Dan Emmett
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'LOOK AWAY, DIXIE LAND' Copyright © Mary Lou Allen
Copyright is property of the above author or group. Reproduction in whole or in part is strictly prohibited.
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Comment By: FreeFilthy on September 4, 2014 04:23:12 PM Report
I know it's not really the done thing to comment too many times on the same poem. But there is a very good reason that this is in my faves this ML
Comment By: FreeFilthy on February 22, 2008 04:56:44 PM Report
I've been searching through your posts to find this one, i remember the hairs standing up on my neck the first time round, and sure enough they did again. Excellent piece ML, and more than worthy of that award.
Comment By: PremiumVizualEnsemble on November 29, 2007 10:44:15 PM Report
Oh dear lady, you have left me speechless......"In Dixie Land I'll

make my stand"....thats song always moves me to tears...I could

hear it in my mind.....This is just brilliant dear. I am here in

Dixie and I will die in touching....I love it!!!!

Congrats dear, again, this deserves so much more....



Comment By: FreeBruce A. Peaslee on September 17, 2006 10:47:17 PM Report
Mary Lou-  It has been a while since I've been around but this a fascinating piece. It seems as though it is a picture of someone coming out of a coma  or mental dysfunction.  Fascinating piece and congratulations on your award.



Comment By: FreeAmber P on August 27, 2006 10:41:19 PM Report
gosh.  you are really racking up these awards, lol.  congrats.  you deserve them. 



Comment By: FreeJoe Petro on August 21, 2006 06:23:50 PM Report
I'm so pleased to see this recognized. Congratulations ML. A Fan
Comment By: FreeAlison Storm Wolf on August 21, 2006 08:53:51 AM Report



I don't know if I have ever read something that has moved me more...a masterpiece which tears at my very guts.

Comment By: FreeAlison Storm Wolf on August 21, 2006 08:49:03 AM Report
Oh ML!! I am wrecked totally wrecked. I never for a moment saw it coming but my spirit did as I felt the hairs start to stand on end and then when I read to the last line the tears were just flowing like a river.

You have a true and wonderful talent.


This moved me beyond what I can give explain in words.
Into favs (again! ) lol

Ali xxx

Comment By: FreeThe Bag Lady on August 17, 2006 10:16:42 PM Report
I'ts stunning writes such as these, ML, that brings such a well-deserved award~!!!  Your work is always intricate, and makes the reader delve into your words with savor~!!  Awesome work....

Congratulating you...

Comment By: FreeRoger Bacon on August 16, 2006 10:56:45 AM Report
You are a writing force around here and I certainly enjoyed this one too.  Congrats on your award!
Comment By: PremiumGlata on August 16, 2006 08:08:16 AM Report
Fantastic write, ML...congrats!


Comment By: FreeTobi on August 14, 2006 10:16:41 PM Report
A truly gripping sage. It was built in such a way as to keep the reader unsure of the exact details, but vivid enough to give the impression of captivity and confusion, thus leaving it open to boundless possibilities. Well done, and a pleasure to read. Congrats on the well deserved award.

Comment By: FreeTracy Fletcher on August 14, 2006 06:10:13 PM Report
Congratulations on winning a very well deserved Featured Poem Award.

Comment By: FreeHeike on August 14, 2006 05:24:39 PM Report
You convey the feeling of someone held captive - be it in a building or in her own mind.
An engrossing story, Mary Lou, well worthy of an award.
Congrats from old Europe ;-)!

Comment By: FreeMary F. Charest on August 14, 2006 05:08:39 PM Report
Wow, ML.  Since I am down here in the land of cotton, I really appreciate your chosen music.


Great writing, as usual.  Congratulations on the award.  It is well deserved.


Comment By: FreeJeff on August 14, 2006 12:21:06 PM Report
Didn't you just win a few weeks ago?  wow...

You're on a roll.




Comment By: FreeCynthia Jones on August 14, 2006 11:40:47 AM Report

Congrats on your muchly deserved award. *S* Whispering Winds

Comment By: FreeThe Mystic Poet on August 14, 2006 10:43:09 AM Report
Omph, what a talent! Congrats on winning!
Comment By: PremiumJillian K. Alexis on August 13, 2006 08:38:52 PM Report
Congratulation MaryLou for winning a much deserved featured poem of the week award...Hugz...Jillian
Comment By: FreeKaren Marrah on August 13, 2006 08:29:20 PM Report
Well done ML, and so deserving of the featured poem award. Congrats!!.......Karen
Comment By: FreeLady Dragonwyck on August 13, 2006 07:15:01 PM Report
Beautiful Mary Lou:  so very deserving of the Feature Poem Award.  Your poetic style shines on and on..........



Lady D


Comment By: FreeJoe Petro on August 9, 2006 08:26:52 PM Report
I read Bell and this sory to my wife. We both enjoyed. Your characters come to life, but as a comment below stated, you leave just enough for the reader to fill in our own picture. Excellent story telling. jp
Comment By: FreePaul Peter McLean on August 8, 2006 06:37:47 PM Report
I love this story, Mary Lou. Your eye for detail, and your ability to set a scene are as good as ever. I agree with Dori that part of the pleasure of reading this story is the ability to make up part of it ourselves. Good work.
Comment By: FreeLeonard Wilson on August 7, 2006 12:54:22 AM Report
And  THAT's why I stay away from tequila...Shades of Twilight Zone, Mary Lou....This is GREAT....Where was I?.....Oh, yeah..Way down south in the land of cotton!!!..Nice to see ya posting your brilliance again, cuz..My pet rats are doing well..How about yours?....len
Comment By: AdminRichardM on August 7, 2006 12:45:34 AM Report
You really set the story so well for us and gave us a glimpse into the world she has come to know. Seems quite effective. The compasssionate caregiver was a comfort at the end! Well done! Rich

Comment By: FreeDori on August 6, 2006 11:39:52 PM Report
what i like about this one is that it allows me to fill in the blanks in my mind.  like, is she barefooted?  white-headed?  hollow-eyed?  why is she there?  what brought her there?  It begs the reader to create a sympathetic back-story to bring us to her today.


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