• Kate Clarke

The Tennessee Two

For two people with no religion we seem to count a lot of things as holy.

Dogs, kissing, sex. Clyde McPhatter and Arthur Alexander.

George C Scott and Joanne Woodward tilting at windmills. Those angels in Berlin.

Chip Taylor, Dan Penn, Chaplin. Handclaps and finger-pops - that goes without saying.


A big old chunk of builder’s glass - the tip of an iceberg, sheared off by a wrecking ball.

Tiny pebbles that look like jade and emeralds (they are mostly agate), because “who decides what’s treasure and what’s trash?”

The colour green, Malachite.

Laughter, of course. (I stole that one from Lottie.) Maybe even an eight ball with the wrong answers. Certainly a little room

with ‘Do Not Feed Alligators’ pinned above the pool.

Outsiders don’t need confirmation that "we’re right and they’re wrong", of course.

But isn’t it something to find Tennessee Williams used a cheap, busted rosary, minus the downcast Jesus, to count off the names of the useful women in his life when he was taunted by a blank page?

That’s some kind of holy blasphemy, for sure.


To say I have never been a joiner is a laughable understatement.

There were hermits in caves in 11th Century France (it seems to have been popular in 11th Century France) who spent more time with humans than I do.

But maybe I do like a club. A very small one.


"He bought me a rosary. I was a Baptist, so when he handed it to me it was like he'd handed me an iguana. "The woman said: 'I can't sell this to you. The Christ is missing.' "Tennessee said: 'Perfect. I don't want no desultory Jesus hanging around.'" - James Grissom.

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