I find myself
as a vehicle,
Free Local Midwestern Poetry, By Terry Scott Niebeling
I find myself
as a vehicle,
Fall comes just as our sneakers have worn in
Our bike seats touch familiar under buttocks
Dying grass and flowers thin; bend in the wind,
Tree’s leaves affect intensely displayed colors.
Pools close and drain, with new frost to blame.
Mothers count their wandering curious young.
A yellowing sun grows faint, shadowing its loss.
Fathers light expensive brown cigars for fun.
Dogs and cats play-excited, loud and rowdy,
Leaves and debris blow thru them in the yard.
Cold holidays come nearer, passing yet again,
Each year grows tired, cold, aloof, and hard.
On destiny we wait; fleeting speed of time,
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter yet again align.
Lightening danced across the sky in clouded seclusion; a million flash bulbs illuminated, ten thousand bowling ball strikes.
Cut uneven as broken glass still stuck together.
Gods must be gaming.
Cats run and hide.
Every silence a moment lapsed in hesitation for coming sound.
Alarm bells clamored loud, infrequently ringing.
This may pass before the commute.
Awoken by raindrop’s tapping,
as events plagued
pale-blue morning light
set in ruin.
There was a flood about us,
contrasted by the altitude.
St. Paul in the fall,
whilst leaves change and thin.
Whilst festivities and fairs
under tents, bearing food, creep in.
Whilst trees bend
with robust forceful wind.
A time to reflect the mess we’re within;
past and coming years, one which end and begin.
Peers and loved ones we’ve lost,
at grand experience’ cost.
Standing growing moving,
shedding one layer at a time
A tan peals and pales,
A secret is revealed.
Skin and bone become frail,
light years fast pass the snail.
A north shore lake-effect patience,
Months under sun we’ve waited.
Suffering rain snow and gale,
Minnesota weather: what it entails.
In and amongst everything;
though a singular unit, alone as one.
Walking fresh cold press coffee in hand,
scanning distant verdant lands.
On this walk towards autumn- new times and old friends,
alternatives we enact; to the ever changing plans.
Remember the voices we will never hear again.
Remember the times with loved ones we spend.
Perplexed by this simple yet inspiring life,
St. Paul in the fall feels cool, close, fast approaching, and right.
Everything I need is right beside me:
Honest intuition and heavy thought.
The ability to make others laugh and reflect on that;
Without those things there is nothing.
-We may be lost…
Are you digging a hole just to take you down a notch?
-Rather, one must bring a ladder.
Nothing is really that bad
there is no reason to cry,
-not to say it couldn’t be better-
you could make it a try.
Love the way it is.
Buying the Tribune
in the morning
in downtown La Crosse,
walk the redbrick sidewalk.
Past the Bodega,
and last night’s Cigarette Butts,
washing dishes in the back of some restaurant.
Talking a lot, stale-
actions and words; NOTICE: they talk a lot.
watching drunks, and pre-cancer patients and cars being parked—
Save the day.
Wearing shorts under blue skies.
Call clandestine spies, looking up at the corner apartment window-
wondering what’s inside__
… As she wakes,
long legs lie.
Moving, thinking, that fresh brewery smell, now new adult.
In summer heat- beating down,
The Mississippi River on the breeze—cesspool,
I walked back from where I had come
trying to not feel so numb.
Because I had to walk back.
Stand in a pale room funeral home.
Dim yellow dances striped walls.
Close fake ferns and fresh-cut flowers.
Not into gleamed opaque casket.
My father sits, near his stepfather lay.
A soda can rests on stained wooden edge.
Here bright reflections of unnatural dye.
We have to pick him up, so heavy- and out.
Grab hand on cold pallbearer’s hold.
Navy Cadillac hearse backs to still box.
Pull with strained arms, struggle to balance.
Measure more densely than expected, hot day.
Hung-over and dried out, stiff- filled chemicals.
We get in the van and head to the American Legion.
Family and a buffet line inside
We sit close and speak soft
A pastor comes up to talk
He says he is with god
I go and get seconds
My grandmother does not understand.
First thoughts of morning,
poor vision blues in a book.
Hung on each dark word as the guilty-
grabbing tired mind as it takes me inside.
Scanning each sentence, detecting its mention;
importance of just this, and just that,
I put my head back
on a pillow,
Thoughts of last night stir as my belly aches.
Reading inspired relaxation as I ready the day.
Time is of the essence
We have now and others don’t
The mail comes in
Heavy, in boxes
Full of books
People count on efficiency
This is now
Time never ends, but when it does
Patrons to service
Phone calls to make
Papers to print
The life, the day, the dollar, the request
Projects and process
Building this knowledge
No one regrets
Nothing to fret
Days and what we do
Define me and you
The only proof lies in a check
Electronic deposit, hardly noticed notion
Who does anyway?
This is incredibly easy to forget.