Creative Writing

Published on May 8th, 2016 | by Rafael Alvarez

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The Great Magnolia Vagabond No. 11: Mississippi Meat Man

I took some criticism for this bit of travelogue. Not for participating–after all, the Meat Man was giving away advice and pork chops in the front yard of a house that may or may not have been his–but apparently for the way in which I shared my host’s enthusiasm. At least one fellow champion of the blues and the 20th state in the Union thought I had unduly embarrassed an obviously drunk, addled–and to-this-day, anonymous–man.

But it didn’t feel that way as it happened and I reported the moment precisely as it happened.

It was spring of 2012–right about this time of year, the week Levon Helm died–and I was sleeping in the truck and cruising Clarksdale en-route to Tinseltown with the taste of pig meat on my mind. It was too early for the jukes to open so I just started taking lefts and rights through streets named Choctaw and Catalpa. Soon, I saw smoke rising and followed it to the corner of Denison & Edmondson, where a middle-aged man tended a rickety, heavily rusted grill.

Like a suburban punk chasing contraband at the strip mall, I asked: “You selling?”

Nope, he was sharing

“Come on,” he said, welcoming me into the yard with the best Southern hospitality, minus flatware and utensils. “What you want?”

And together we ate grilled pork chops with our hands, wiping them with old newspapers before shaking fare-thee-well. The Local Voice Ligature

Magnolia Vagabond No. 12: Mythical Mississippi
Marc Ribot, Part Three: When Irony Wears Thin

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About the Author

Rafael Alvarez is a reporter, short story writer & screenwriter based in Baltimore. He has been visiting & writing about Mississippi since 1984. A former staff writer for HBO's "The Wire," his new book is a collection of short fiction called "Tales From the Holy Land."



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