White Flour - A Terrific Poem by David LaMotte - Christine Kane

On Saturday night, my friend David LaMotte and I did a special performance at the Grey Eagle Music Hall in Asheville, NC. Though we’ve been friends since forever, we rarely perform together.

The show was totally sold out. And I’ll go ahead and let you know that you missed a riveting version of Extreme’s More Than Words. (We played it in honor of a wedding gig that we did at back in the mid-90’s.) Though I did my best Nuno Bettencourt on the guitar, we still managed to giggle our way through it.

I think there may have been lighters held high out in the crowd.

And yes – as some of you read in the comments on the last post – we did an acoustic on-demand version of Dancing Queen.

Anyway, the highlight of the evening was when David read a new poem he wrote. When he finished, the crowd applauded and woo-hooed wildly for a good three-minutes. It made tears come to my eyes. I asked David to let me reprint it here for my blog readers. It’s better to hear David read it himself – but you can read it aloud if that helps!

White Flour

by David LaMotte

(a true story about events that occurred on May 26, 2007. © 2007 Lower Dryad Music)

The day was bright and sunny as most May days tend to be
In the hills of Appalachia down in Knoxville, Tennessee
The men put on their uniforms and quickly took their places
In white robes and those tall and pointed hoods that hid their faces

Their feet all fell in rhythm as they started their parade
They raised their fists into the air, they bellowed and they brayed
They loved to stir the people up, they loved when they were taunted
They didn’t mind the anger, that’s precisely what they wanted

As they came around the corner, sure enough, the people roared
They couldn’t quite believe their ears, it seemed to be – support?
Had Knoxville finally seen the light, were people coming ‘round?
The men thought for a moment that they’d found their kind of town

But then they turned their eyes to where the cheering had its source
As one their faces soured as they saw the mighty force
The crowd had painted faces, and some had tacky clothes
Their hair and hats outrageous, each had a red foam nose

The clowns had come in numbers to enjoy the grand parade
They danced and laughed that other clowns had come to town that day
And then the marchers shouted, and the clowns all strained to hear
Each one tuned in intently with a gloved hand to an ear

“White power!” screamed the marchers, and they raised their fisted hands
The clowns leaned in and listened like they couldn’t understand
Then one held up his finger and helped all the others see
The point of all this yelling, and they joined right in with glee

“White flour!” they all shouted and they felt inside their clothes
They pulled out bags and tore them and huge clouds of powder rose
They poured it on each other and they threw it in the air
It got all over baggy clothes and multi-colored hair

All but just a few of them were joining in the jokes
You could almost see the marchers turning red beneath white cloaks
They wanted to look scary, they wanted to look tough
One rushed right at the clowns in rage, and was hauled away in cuffs

But the others chanted louder marching on around the bend
The clowns all marched along with them supporting their new friends
“White power!” came the marchers’ cry — they were not amused
The clowns grew still and thoughtful; perhaps they’d been confused?

They huddled and consulted, this bright and silly crowd
They listened quite intently, then one said “I’ve got it now!”
“White flowers!” screamed the happy clown and all the rest joined in
The air was filled with flowers, and they laughed and danced again

“Everyone loves flowers! And white’s a pretty sort!
I can’t think of a better cause for marchers to support!”
Green flower stems went flying like small arrows from bad archers
White petals covered everything, including the mad marchers

And then a very tall clown called the others to attention
He choked down all his chuckles, and said “Friends I have to mention
That what with all the mirth and fun it’s sort of hard to hear
But now I know the cause that these strange marchers hold so dear

“Tight showers!” the clown blurted out, and hit his head in wonder
He held up a camp shower and the others all got under
Or at least they tried to get beneath, they strained but couldn’t quite
There wasn’t room for all of them, they pushed, but it was tight

“White Power!” came their marchers’ cry, quite carefully pronounced
The clowns consulted once again, then a woman clown announced
“I’ve got it! I’m embarrassed that it took so long to see
But what these marchers march for is a cause quite dear to me!”

“Wife power!” she exclaimed and all the other clowns joined in
They shook their heads and laughed at how mistaken they had been
The women clowns were hoisted up on shoulders of the others
Some pulled on wedding dresses, “Here’s to wives and mothers!”

The men in robes were angry and they knew they’d been defeated
They yelled a few more times and then they finally retreated
And when they’d gone a black policeman turned to all the clowns
And offered them an escort to the center of the town

The day was bright and sunny as most May days tend to be
In the hills of Appalachia down in Knoxville, Tennessee
People joined the new parade, the crowd stretched out for miles
The clowns passed out more flowers and made everybody smile

And what would be the lesson of that shiny southern day?
Can we understand the message that the clowns sought to convey?
Seems that when you’re fighting hatred, hatred’s not the thing to use
So here’s to those who march on in their massive, silly shoes

  • David LaMotte

    Hi all!

    Thanks so much for the kind words and kudos. I’m deeply inspired by the story, and I’m glad I managed to get it across.

    If you’re interested, we just put up an MP3 of it for download – a live recording from the recent night at the Grey Eagle with Christine. If you want to check it out, it’s in the little song store at http://www.davidlamotte.com/audiovideo.html.

    I hope all of you will find what you need in the holiday season – rest or chaos or your own preferred mixture of the two.

    Peace & laughter,


  • Candace

    I did an interview with one of the organizers of the clown protest in Knoxville. Check out the podcast here:


  • wesley jeanne

    Wow, Amazing!

  • Alison

    Thanks, Christine:)

  • Tim


    An eye-opening poem in our PC times.

    A little insanity goes a long way in diffusing even the most difficult situations.

    Thank you for David’s generosity in sharing his handiwork.

  • Colleen

    Wow. I hadn’t heard about this when it happened but what a brilliant occassion and an equally brilliant telling of the story.

    Thanks so much for sharing this Christine. I’m going to find a way to work it into the youth program I’m doing.


  • Christine Kane

    oops, I missed this little loop. Allison – the best thing to do is to buy the Guitar Lesson DVD. I chose my most requested “how do you play this?” songs – and I spend about an hour talking about open tunings and performing with them – and showing you how to play about seven of my songs.

    chrissie – no need to feel dumb. it’s pretty scary to think that they actually COULD still exist. it’s kind of pathetic!

    christi – we’ll make sure it gets in the mail on monday morning. we have a big order going out already. thanks!

  • Christi

    Hi Christine –

    I am interested in ordering a t-shirt and CD for my stepmom for her Christmas present. (She fell in love with the saying ‘leap and the net will appear’ when I told her about your blog.) Anyway, we’re also juggling a few things financially – would you mind commenting or making a post on how long to expect for shipping at this time of year? I really have no idea what to expect, and I want to try to order it in time.


  • chrissie

    Wow. I feel so naive admitting this but I had no idea the KKK marched for white power in the south…still. My eyes widened as I read it. But I suppose if it isn’t the KKK, it’s something someplace else, even here in Philadelphia…and good for the clowns. I was proud of them for diffusing with humor what could have justifiably been a nasty hateful moment. It’s sad it even has to be like that.

  • Alison

    Huh. Did not even know that existed. (I’m a brand new fan, I swear!) Thanks, Kay!

  • Kay

    Why not buy Christine’s DVD and bonus DVD guitar lesson? That would be a good start.

  • Alison

    I love how there are people who are able to transcend their (justified) anger toward mindsets such as was depicted in the poem, so that they can come up with a way to both stand true to what is right and also provoke thought in the same people causing them that anger.

    On an arguably less important note, I was wondering if anyone knows if there are any links to what tunings are used in some of Christine’s songs. I’m relatively new to guitar (but have lots of piano training so I’ve caught on quick) and want to make my hott new Taylor ring with some of Christine’s songs:) Unfortunately, I don’t know enough guitar yet to figure it all out without a start from someone. Any hints?

  • Kathy

    What a powerful wonderful story, poem and message. If only there were enough clever clowns in the world to address all the hate that never seems to stop in the Middle East, Africa, right here in the USA and everywhere else. It’s truly inspirational to see how a different approach might change the world.

  • Christine Kane

    thanks everyone! no, david doesn’t have a blog. i think you can reach him at david@davidlamotte.com.

  • lisa

    Fabulous poem! I have cold chills – and tears!!!

    Thank you for sharing. Please extend my gratitude to David.

    Hooray for love, beauty, and laughter 🙂

  • Larissa

    This is a fantastic poem. I’m going to share it with friends and family!

  • ChickiePam

    I have to tell you that I sent a link to your website to about 30 people. I’ve gotten a bunch of emails back form people who say they were moved to tears. You go David! (Does he has a website/blog so we can tell him in person?)

  • Sue

    The hair on my arms is standing up, for real. This is amazing and important. I will send it on for sure. Thanks for sharing!!!

  • Clark Kent

    This work may well be the final nail in the coffin of hate and predjudice…against clowns! Maybe now we can all forget the names of John Wayne Gacy and Pennywise!

  • MK

    David’s poem is wonderful – I cried a little Saturday night too. I have to report that I’ve had More Than Words in my head for days now. damn it! Oh man, did I just complain? 🙂

  • Kim

    I’ve sent that poem onward to friends and family. May more people learn to use humor rather than hatred.

  • Elaine

    Beautiful poem made my eyes fill up with tears – really powerful.

    I’m jealous – I would of loved to have seen/heard Dancing Queen and More than Words! Sounds like you had a fantastic evening!

  • Mags


  • Caren

    I cried when I read that news story, and now I’m sittin’ here crying again. Thanks so much to David, and you, for sharing it!

    Gassho ~

  • ChickiePam

    Hi Christine,
    I loved this poem. Now I’ll have to forward it to friends! Thank you so much for sharing. Again, your concert was wonderful!

  • Joy

    what a powerful message. bob and i both cried as i finished reading it aloud.