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
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.
The only change they want
is the change they make,
even if it’s the same.
St. Anthony Main was taken
on a summer’s dusk
through an old camera lens,
near the Mississippi and giant cotton woods,
people in dress—exposed flesh,
on bike, on foot,
on patios seeming elegant.
The redbrick streets
below told them
to stay out and go;
worn down, and by ice cracked,
each square watched,
unable to properly stress:
for winter would come to take it all away,
their warmth in breath,
hot sun, breezy outside comfort
and laisse faire sentiment—
what they had missed at that time
would turn cold-fast to regret.
O’ the summer is spent.
O’ take what we can get.
Atonement for guilt
simply of being;
humans the way we are,
the unjust that we do.
Fixing all past, present, and future
with institutions, and enigmas—
what is there for neutral
wrong or right?
like switching drinks,
not from one hand to another,
but the beverage entirely.
Finding a new drink…
How could one come so set in their ways
that they don’t find the nerve to change?
Standing there, waiting,
watching the water boil,
face turned red,
ego on high alert—ready?
This sergeant don’t take no lip,
unless it’s yours,
and he will eat the entire thing…
And those herbs will turn to taste,
and you can bet your ass on it.
There is no need for filter or mug,
no need for a full pot or the caffeine shakes,
just one cup to get me by.
Life in moderation, and we fumble at the keys.
And it was pure fate,
the Irish black tea beckoned
as if to take me back—
far away, into distant lands,
as if I missed Dublin
and the 5th floor flat at Staycity.
I could see most of The Liberties
from the number 43 balcony—
on walks aside double-decker buses,
smooth euros in my pockets,
along the river Liffey.
And everyone watched as we drank whiskey
and fresh Guinness, and read books,
and they pronounced three as “tree”,
and we were slagged as “yanks”.
As we sat on cross-country excursions
thru endless rolling green hills
and stone walls and winding roads
and puffy sheep.
As we saw things some of us hadn’t seen before,
with a drink in hand and our feet on the ground.
And I sip.
And I recall.
It will be awhile before I get back around.
But it was good to try something new.
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.