Saturday, December 1, 2012

Chicken Livers

On my drive to work, as I sweep into the little town I actually work in, I drive past what was probably an old factory, or warehouse. It's red brick like so many things in this part of the country, a huge building maybe 2/3 the size of a Super Walmart. It's been empty for a long time, I'm guessing.

It has a smokestack with some kind of brush-like tree growing out of it. Kudzu and vines and things are growing up the brick sides, the green sort of startlingly bright against the faded red bricks. The big slide-up doors you might use to back a truck up, to be able to load the merchandise going out into the world, are not closed and haven't been at least since the first time I saw the building.

Inside is dark, and I don't know what's in there. I don't exactly make it a habit to find out.

I'd be kind of interested, though, if I wasn't absolutely certain the place is probably crawling with poison ivy, or oak, or whatever. Poison something.

There is rusting machinery out in the area around it, though; they've moved some right up against the road, so now there are back-hoes and a couple of big trucks like the ones my dad used to carry corn or soybeans during harvest. Everything is covered in rust.

Everything looks like if tetanus had its own heaven. When good tetanus dies, this abandoned building - these rusting trucks, the handle on a door pushed open some time ago, the grating over a vent or up in the smokestack - this abandoned building is where it finds its eternal reward.

I never see anyone there. I don't know if anyone does anything with it. It's next to where the train used to run through, but you don't see trains either anymore, not at that point. The town is debating putting up a walking/running/biking trail similar to the Swamp Rabbit Trail in Greenville over where the trains no longer run. For now, it's wild snaking takeover plants like ivy and kudzu, rusted ghosts of machinery, and the building itself, still completely solid.

Spray-painted on the side of the building are two words. The letters are mostly even, although spray-painting is not an exact science so there is a pronounced wobble here and there on a curve or straight line. It's not stylized. These are just words, for better or worse. Just two words that mean something to someone in the town I work in. Two words they felt were so important they needed everyone who drives past on the road to see them, take them in, consider the source.

Two words that someone in this grand old world felt were of utmost importance. Two words they decided could not be lost, but must be left for the sake of history.

The words are this:


Just that.

Make of it what you will.

The possibilities are endless.


  1. I think that's Poe Mill. There are some fascinating photos taken there.

  2. I love exploring abandoned buildings, yet haven't done so for a very long time. I'm more nervous about running into other people who may have taken up residence there, than wild vegetation and possible tetanus though. Chicken livers? It could be worse couldn't it? ;) Thank you for the lovely story Katie:) xo

  3. Lauren: My coworker says it's an old Singer sewing machine factory in Pickens. I didn't even know Singer did manufacturing in Pickens, so I suppose I have been educated today, heh. After looking at that picture, though, I kind of want to go climb around Poe Mill!

    Desiree: Trust me, it could be MUCH worse! At least "chicken livers" leaves something to ponder, right?


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