Abandoned train bridges make for the best retreats,
Under empty blue skies which remain always there.
Cotton wood branches waved leaves as a busy fleet,
Fading summer months made all those about aware.
Abandoned train bridges make for the best retreats,
In varied ways
The city’s buildings stand;
Tall as they are, up with birds
Holding those lives
Seething, going, and watching
Mazes put up for institutions,
Humans go about with same minds.
Bridge, cut from sandstone
standing hard in the distance,
below thick electrical wires
& quick ascending planes,
where guts of our city’s downtown,
with its sharp-edged contrast
at one end, lie exposed,
under smoking black chimneys
four as die, & pink light skies
falling slowly to a cool dusk
in shadows of pillars, of rocks,
of trees, & of bridges north,
where people had ran, walked,
& captured photos, talking,
had so frequently happened.
The deep vein of a country
swept brown & debris below,
where near a dam you await.
Your heavy arch did not bend,
your dusty blocks did not crumble,
your purpose outlived its creator,
& still you met the citizens first,
on each side to let them pass.
Without question birds flew to you,
clouds dotted heavens & your flank,
& sounds bounced off of your make
from other ancient past-lives.
The Stone Arch stood fixed,
even in the pitchest darkness,
or when the layered homeless sat,
in faded orange lamplight glow,
or the late street walker came
on a hot summer evening drunk.
Up late to watch the metro night,
to make sure people made it back
over a fast Mississippi, so wide.
Texts of love were left drawn
on post-it’s at the kitchen table—
outside Southeast was dark green
light blue and a soft cream, where cars played
musical chairs with endangered spaces.
A “truly real” JFK documentary flashed
on an antique dusted Macbook screen
as dead lions were tracked—bloody, slaughtered,
on airstreams of a dim kitchen scene;
talking heads were barking so loud,
along with representatives and agencies;
they described him as going out
like the late and tragic Francis Macomber,
like a stiff drink for Hemingway’s hands,
on a hot African Safari-esque day.
In the hot seat with cold feet, dew points
gone with yesterday’s sweltering heat.
Where, the frightened tenants overhead
were bumbling, dragging, moving,
as winds blew over the porch chimes, sharp,
an inordinate happy metallic song—
a cat jumped at the natural commotion.
Oblivious, like don’t you know?
What the fuck, and where’s my lunch?
A man oversaw over honey mixed coffee,
Hard eggs, and chicken-scratch lines.
Happy and broke, happy bloke,
and happy to be in a Midwest City, alive.
In a room with one warm thought:
I am not world infamous yet,
I am not like Dr. Walter Palmer.
Turning day to night as a light switch in a room
had shadows evaporating into themselves,
outlines seen were hot and sticky
for the summer humidity and sharp shine.
A black car sheen stood burning
in an open lot as a dead mouse
in grey fur swelled and swarmed with flies.
The sweet cloy of trash hit nostrils
like a left hook of some welterweight
sweating hard, pulling in the ring.
Plastic garbage bags expanded
in the sweltering heat of midday July
becoming tight as the skin of a drum.
Few cotton clouds cast no guard in
vast rich nitrogen blue skyscapes,
going on, what fast changed above.
Seems Sunday was properly labeled for
this weather; there was tan leather,
blue jeans, bright bandanas, and cold beer.
It was unlike any other beautiful day.
Entering new worlds to escape another
I woke up from a dream in a lonely bed.
Real life sat next to it on the nightstand,
in the early stretches, in “slept like a rock”
preparation for what’s to come. Today
was like any other, though different—shall
we double: it is shit and it is great. I would
cite Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, but
they are dead. I would cite Anton Chigurh,
but he is nowhere to be found. “They are.
It is.” Those statements defining the
day, the morning, the thrown pillows, drool
stained, and crumpled blankets with their cat
hair, are your shell, your cocoon exited.
They rest there, waiting for another moment
to bring adventure, where you fall into the
fold and escape this life to REM, to where
monsters and mistresses await, where gold
and garbage stay; past loved ones welcoming
you in boats, and in jest. That to this, this
to that. Don’t become unwrapped for awoken
reality hits full on hard. There fellow man
meets to never actually meet. We relate,
but never truly. Reaching for the water on
the dusty dresser top, cat at my feet, shades
drawn, another day to walk to the kitchen,
open the fridge, to make breakfast, marks
and tracks, to make me. I enter this world
from another. I wonder, do we ever actually
sleep? And then I wake from this dream.
Sure, they tell you to
join their literary groups
in order to get your words read,
in order to get your art noticed,
in order to make an impression on
the blossoming local scene.
Well, it’s just that: local,
and it still is, that’s it.
And a person can become
an organization alone.
Few think about a broad world
where 9 billion people might enjoy
everything or nothing that the creative
text you wrote has to offer…
Yeah, I think, gatherings are good for some—
those who need crutches for strong legs,
or those who need stitches for band aids.
Those who need editors
to change their ideas
so they will sell
and morph into comfortable writers.
I need approval
from institutions to feel good
That would have to be
my anti-motto, something I truly avoid.
Ha! Such jokes…
Years back no one would read
new cognitive prose,
my free work, no one would talk
zero recognition—I certainly wasn’t overseas then,
and I still am as called before
a “failed writer”.
Everyone was doing their own thing;
others were not as important,
it was about self—well, selfishness,
but on the side there was
a feigned pack mentality.
The only change they wanted
was the change they made.
Now poets go around
and pretend as though
everyone in the Cities
should get involved,
because what they were doing
back then, individually didn’t work,
so lets band together.
It didn’t pan out for them.
Their dreams came only at REM.
So, now they organize cliques,
they establish large groups into
bad plays on high society hierarchy,
the kind of thing that real
artists have vehemently loathed.
They set their own rules, now,
and their own guidelines—
if you can’t beat them join them—
yeah, good idea.
What a theory,
such lack of heart.
I think in this case
to become a part of it,
to get to the epicenter,
to get to the whole,
to be welcomed into this special circle,
the imaginary self-actualized poet,
famous, you-know-me sort of thing,
you would have to admit defeat,
you would have to admit you lost,
and that your initial passions
were complete shit.
You would probably have to change your ways,
attempt to be more like them—
assimilate, like the rest,
figure hip dress, obscure verse,
employ ten-dollar words,
cloned topics—of course gendered,
racial, anthropological, progressive,
and leftist political,
try for universal acceptance, right here.
Yawn, I say,
describe a situation,
an actual event:
CC was on 4th street SE at the bus stop,
she had forgotten my name,
her lips were red,
she said she had a new job.
I rode away on a bike
while passing out flyers.
I mean, you might as well kill progress,
just so your road is less rocky.
Leave change by the wayside,
never go against the grain.
A conformist mentality
will help you fit in better,
don’t ya know?
Your personality, your ideology discussed
only in past-tense phraseology and terms,
it all must go.
More of the same than Minnesota lakes.
But then you think about
how you were once a unique person,
an artist, that no one read,
no one cared about,
and how it was fun doing what you loved.
People read, they were baffled, confused,
or were turned off—or became aroused.
Now you do it to please others,
while not pleasing yourself,
while pandering to their ways.
They stare, they clap, they record,
they namedrop, to charm the masses, for a club,
to be accepted, to be loved for being
something that they are entirely not.
See, I imagine that.
I fancy fickle easy artists,
they travel in bands
with big words and little action.
One would have to sell off
their creative soul
to even try to get involved.
I imagine fellatio costs less,
either way they get ahead.
Am I in Hollywood?
It’s so confusing.
Milky veiled were silhouettes of downtown buildings from 280 at rush hour,
Wildfire smoke of Canada had pushed thru blanketing the humid heartland.