First alarms sounded of a white snowy morning. Heavy and wet, flakes covered the ground as those in the river were covered by water, never to come home again. Fast late last year turns to right now present; and years, and sorted experience before. It came out like a pocket knife to test, to screw, to cut once, deep. It was the kind sharpened to a fine edge. Dead bones rested below, and in the back of one’s mind. People came and went; flesh loosened, darkened, slackened, and dusted with age back to dirt. Blades of toy windmills caught the grey air, while leaves fell zigzag to the browned December ground. We just ran by. Air brakes of a semi sounded off far on a distant highway, for those who traveled about the countryside, between the bluffs, near the riverbed; all to hear, all to unite in this one thought, some time, some date, in one mind. Ubiquitous green trees once loomed watching over this tiny town, Apple Capital, providing breath, under thick blankets of sepia cloud; brisk and cool in winter light, it moved through valleys touching rock, touching sand, touching faces, creating must and dew, on bark, and Fall’s fodder, on all who caught a glimpse. Each little speck floated soundless, seeming endlessly to the darkened pavement, as eyes took to more than they could unpack.
Have I missed a step?
Am I still asleep?
Has the logic left?
Oh, to think again… Now I don’t “know”.
If I were
Made in the likeness
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.
On a boat close an expansive dam
A boy accompanied an Old Man
Fishing for hours cold hands
Only to have come up few clams
The river remained rough
Water spray wet brown splash
Bubbles in the water swirling
Bottom of boat held beer cans
Farther up the boy could see birds
Up close to the tumblers brightly red
Over white-caps exchanged few words
The Old Man palmed his rod in hand
Lock and Dam 7 lent no pension
Yet many prospered in its wake
The Old Man and the boy lay patient
They trolled up and down, but had to wait
Ice coated concrete walls
With rope or hook they fastened tight
Daylight lasted only so long in afternoons
The highway lights suggested night
Untying they came undone
River smell and worms in hand
The fish on the stringer were meager
Pushing off they went towards land
They passed others by and by
Anglers that were mastered
Coming closer to the landing point
Lights on avoiding disaster
Trailing wake in full gait
An out-board went ‘bout 20 knots
Blackness and bugs flew by about them
As they came closer to the docks
Lamplight held empty parking lot
Shown just below the river’s edge
The flat-bottom came parallel the wooden structure
The boy managed at his sea legs
With a hard bump from running in fast
A rope was fastened—quick, and down
The boat made way with the water
The boy made feet with wooden ground
Cold rushed from the river valley out
Nothing held the boy more in life
Than to be out near the Mighty Mississippi
In the dwindling hours of night
As children we are exposed to habits which prove a tradition
As adults we revisit those events to see what lessons were given.
Under bluffs of a river valley
Fixed in rich dirt of sediment
Sandstone foundation of long forgotten
Specters under the sky
Incarnation of this “American Dream”
Their progeny haunt
Past the dying brilliance
Of traditional affairs
–The audacity of Business
From the land
Of which they do not own
The conscious being
A vast distance between states
Two, as splendid
Establishment in the new frontier
Dust to flesh
Once whited maps
Growing with pride
Now what it stood for is merely a novelty
“Stupidity is a comical art.”
There was a mountain high,
Of which I climbed the side,
There was a lake deep below,
Of which I fell inside,
There was a parking lot where I stood, naked for all eyes,
Of which travelers laughed as they drove by- what a sight.