Kendal Turner


Someone fought for this, do you remember?
Daddy tucking you in and night,
swirling your dreams with a touch on the forehead, as
mother rocked your fever into submission.
The kiss behind the swing set in elementary
school that lit your tiny heart on fire. The first
time you said “I love you” and meant it.
The first time you said “I’m leaving” and
didn’t look back.

Hold me like breath until my lungs burst and I
tell you the mystery behind family photographs.
Muses passed from parents seep into
cooking and the way we carry our fishing poles.
Tattoos of ghosts filling our skin with ancestral messages,
oujia board proclamations that Yes, we can hear you. We
follow your footsteps daily and are proud that you
learned from our mistakes and added your own twist.
Don’t let our memory haunt you. Use it as a guide to
direct though the mountains of life, a pathway
in the dark unknown.

The eyes carry the family bible, pages
formed from the family tree, a religion
of where we came from and where we are going.
Finality is fictional misdirection that makes us
live fast and hard. The truth, a slow river, which takes
pause in the body before pouring around the afterlife.
80 years is nothing in the timetable of forever.

When our spirits unwrap the
package of skin we’ll use heaven as a landing pad.
Stars stuck in teeth from driving around this universe like
we have no where to go and forever to get there.

Treadmill Trackstar is a Columbia-based band of four inordinately talented musicians who take the phrase art for art’s sake seriously. A not-for-profit organization, every penny the band raises goes directly toward the recording of a new album – once they accumulate enough cash, they cut another record. It’s as simple as that.

In an effort to keep the community aware of their on-going project, Treadmill Trackstar recently held a contest in which they sought out original poetry from the Southern gothic genre.   

Adjudicated by undefined magazine poetry editor, Ed Madden, the winner of the contest is Kendal Turner for her poem, Ghosts.

Raised on the shores of Lake Murray on property that her grandfather bought for fifty dollars an acre in the nineteen-fifties, Turner attended Wells College in Aurora, NY, back when it was an all-women’s school, graduating with a degree in English and minors in Theatre and Women’s Studies. The 28-year-old self-identified troublemaker began performing poetry in college and continued when she moved back to Columbia, often taking the floor at the now defunct Red Tub’s Open Mic Night. Her passions include cooking, swimming, napping, Verseworks every Tuesday night at the Art Bar, and performing with and writing for Columbia Alternacirque.

For more information, or to become a part of Treadmill Trackstar’s next album, visit their website at

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