a tree removal company rolled up in two trucks in front of my mother’s house. one with a hydraulic lift to scale the tree, the other with a chipper to change its form. they both sat on ice; my mother talked of salting the drive. we watched from the window, Bella the doodle most concerned. earlier i had noted morning light orange of the highest limbs of trees and a bluff black and white back drop before anyone could be called awake, no stirring. and men jumped from their trucks–muffled steps resounded, figured the positioning, lifted, tied ropes, ran trailers into the snowy ground and began to saw, saw, saw. the owner, anal about his law, came out to discuss the future of each blade and which way trees fall in the city. and then it happened. the fall. no “timber” for timber. silence as a shock wave, through the centre, through the top of the tree sending it swaying in a sickening bow back and then forth. i imagined a whole life ruined for a moment; i imagined the rings of a tree and its age are only revealed after death. nextly. chips and dust and exhaust and noise and cutting and chopping and tossing happened in enough cool to make each exhale seen, almost tangible. some authoritative hollers. aside from that, i wonder, how they do it. i could cut down trees too. i wonder what they pay.
i guess well here’s
a christmas story,
the presents were piled
’round the tree,
in my heavy coffee mug
pumpkin spiced liqueur
for bailey’s irish creme.
and i say happy holiday!
cheers, cheers cheers!
Fog of deep valley
drifts away from verdant bluffs.
Small town soul revealed.
52 south past Greg’s Meats and a spired oil refinery,
if i were a plotting baddy it would be Mount Rushmore
for symbolism and confusion of the masses.
an open highway before us: droves on phones,
and couples on parade; the rich in their luxury sedans
and country in super duty small dick specials.
dashboard view of master photography, one that could
inspire a journey home, or west, or to new horizons,
something bold and powerful like in health magazines;
in old lands, which are new and no one could care less—
it means something on instagram or facebook or twitter
but beyond it’s malarkey. but really, i usually wonder about
the next rest stop; Gatorade makes me shit and coffee
makes me piss and light nagging hangovers do wonders
for my guilt and humbleness. kids on the way, us kids.
a dog barks in the morning minus its shock collar. this escapism
from a city to a town, needing to find something in nothing,
no more labels that matter, just gathering cut wood
from neighbors who are dead and the living ones
didn’t like their beautiful red and green maple trees,
still we did. logs season enough in a year to make
smoke, to make fuel, ash, what we rode in on. washed and
cleaned and we pulled our mirrors out and met meine Schwestern
am die Ecker squealing tires, snapchated that.
and then we were off to southern homes like ma’s pasta,
like baked goods revamped, like a road less traveled
what should be traveled more. sunday mornings
waiting for the paper, fixing engines to make money.
all is well, birds can tell, and i don’t get their songs.
in elementary school
i used to violently shake
chocolate milk cartons
until they were mixed
sweet as milk shakes.
i learned something
if you don’t like
what you get, stir things up
a bit to your liking.
i still do this activity
on occasion today,
shake, stir, twist–
just not with milk cartons,
tho i still muck with taste.
amidst trailing bluffs above oil-rainbowed waters
where a man at the bow shot arrows at gar with a bow
a boy floated into the mind of a new man dad,
focused on churning barge death dealt
coming in cool crossed wakes,
water’s spray, fish gut aroma & cracked beers,
wetting the hand and drying the mouth,
jet boat reprieve wading at Stoddard calm—
above a dam, pissing swimming pants at the back,
speaking of motorbiking to Iowa for a pack of smokes
and a gallon of water, going 110 mph: passing cars,
hiding weekend fun from a sheriff’s skiff
going so fast on by that we couldn’t tell,
back up to just below Cass Street bridge in peak heat,
the kind that grows on you in color
and only halfway through a no wake zone,
halfway wishing i was with my love,
halfway somewhere: growing old, staying awake,
sipping pina coladas, bumming cigarettes,
and spraying thick sticky suntan lotion clouds
not long after the occurrence of already changing red,
my crushed fedora & new frames sans transition lenses,
this real life escape. something like a
last-minute decision over a landline,
moments later he picked me up saying: we’re late.
On a hunch I sauntered slowly
into fresh borne south of
this driftless region driveway
thinking of a town so small
and so brilliant with newness
that dove’s coos came warmer,
more complex and calming
in cascaded light,
sparrows tangoed along eaves,
nests bulged with twigs above a door—
turning back, I’d see every bump
on simple alien surface streets,
no moving cars, no people, just…
the newspaper there, on time.
7 years as never seen before,
mixed emotions at the thought:
could the paper boy have forgot,
to the end of the cement I went,
where straight lines and nature’s debris,
where I saluted hand over
brow to shield from a blindingness,
so practiced and so readied
the veteran orb could retire happy,
here street signs and crab trees sighed,
and we’d all freeze to death just
below shouldered green hills advancing
with leathered leaves flapping
sans our wrapped Sunday Tribune,
or the will to go anywhere else.
a million people
a million excuses
only to find
in the first place
is for others
i am bad
and staying put
a pale storm cell of creamer in my cup
rolling from glass bottom straight up
a mind awakens this alarm clock blues
roused from slumber slightly amused
La Crescent, where a beautiful quaintness.
La Crescent, where a space to breathe.