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.
Bridge, cut from sandstone
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.
Loam, marrow, stone, and humus—
where open groves of pine bent in sway,
stained-wood new growth,
a green tent setup
and stretched between.
We went tearing, hard traipsing,
gutting fish at a low fire glow
near an old truck.
A sharp knife’s prick in
a valley’s deep expanse—
words far off and then gone;
neighbors chattered, birds chirped,
and the wind whistled
where we breathed in,
adjusted focus, stretched, and pulled.
It was merely coming through,
it was a mere passing chance.
It was an evening in a north forest.
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.
Milky veiled were silhouettes of downtown buildings from 280 at rush hour,
Wildfire smoke of Canada had pushed thru blanketing the humid heartland.
Where the metro rain comes from I do not know.
Maybe it comes from the Gulf of Mexico,
or across outer space deep, or maybe from the hard ground
under my feet. I really do not know where it comes from.
I know I am a percentage of it, but I also know that
I am so bad at math, trying to figure it, with exact percentage,
with an exact equation, would make me sweat good—
lose the water I am made of: essentially I would lose that part
of me, my hydration. I figure it sometimes comes from the sky
because it lands on my head while getting my shoulders wet,
and I can see it falling fast… So, from observation this is true.
I am not partial to its occurrence; sometimes it is to my chagrin,
sometimes it is to my disliking. If the sun were out I would watch it
slip along the rocky mud banks of a spinning Mississippi,
perhaps with a Nalgene bottle full—at a pavilion of wood,
its different forms; my hands would be pulling worms into the air
from a Styrofoam vessel, to pull fish from its filling flow;
we are all full of water, some of us are also full of shit.
Rain let’s shine life, as we sought a tap to fill clean glasses,
polished by it in other ways—endless purpose what it were.
Where the metro rain comes from I do not know,
but sitting inside, for hours on a dry cat-teased couch,
I watched it come down and present itself alive today.
It never really mattered where it came from, it was right here.
How interesting that fireworks now bring us together
when they represent devices that once tore us apart.
-Terry Scott Niebeling
here, 10pm, crowds on spread tarps and chairs,
thoughtfully placed earlier,
chatted along a spilt-over sidewalk path,
coming down to the Riverside fest grounds
with family and friends;
these goers were just stepping through, at a time.
taking air along the luminescence of the waters’ edge
waiting for fire, explosions, light and smoke,
waiting for a show of power
on the concussion boom’s holiday eve
of a hot summer day.
notice the faint ghost outline of the Cass st. bridge,
it went up tall toward the south on wet glow,
pale blue in orange light as navigational lights
sent from boats bounced to and fro below signaling.
where mayflies flew, stunk, buzzed;
their fate kept them at lamps
busy for their annual dance.
people in groups—no worse,
buttoned up, oohing and aaaahing,
taking such a spectacle.
for a time
the mass was all American,
for a time nothing else mattered.
viewing were homeless and rich
in the same theatre vantage;
spirits were aloft as this year’s sparkling
in gunpowder and smoke,
the thought that everything was all right,
illuminated on another shore—
in a time of celebration, in a nation
under a spangled flag.
Motion reflected between where you are and where you will be;
Void for a shadow where you were, ever lying in wait to reconvene.