Midwestern Poetry, By Terry Scott Niebeling
sick with the taste of
exhaustion, caught in throat
with cold wind, radio barking,
pizza sitting, how legs tire,
how body aches–so sore,
tender, cutting, sharpness;
stomach in knots; hours
of night, pushing pillows,
sweating, drooling, shake;
waking, wanting it to go,
tiresome day, morning lows;
semester’s triumphs & wows;
the hue is darker in autumn–
daily highs, found here
in bed dying; living, life,
nose bleed caught in tissue,
she asks, I tell; can’t talk,
doing nothing but packing,
leave on the next day–if i can,
feeling as my co-worker
with a pain in her side: wary;
will they remove it, or am
i just paranoid at a thought?
these remedies come fast,
vile seeds sewn and growing;
if only to fix my fretting mind.
At the enormous back windows of Hodson Hall, looking east towards Falcon Heights’ standing homes, over an expanse of grooved fields—carefully worked, a person can gleam breaking light caught on cement sidewalks, red bricked structures, and shined square glass low in the early day haze.
Outside seagulls float, calling, in caressing morning brilliance at you, asking “caw?”
What does that mean??? I wonder.
Their questions as ambivalent as a cloud’s shape and meaning to curious children…
I wondered, how did they get here, there is no sea in Minnesota (smh).
These worldly reflections begged, knocked, and retained sharp attention of waking eyes, pupils pulled tight at the warming occurrence, such nature for a sparking mind to ponder, as if synapse was crackling, as if creation was tore in two.
Supple ears held the bird’s sound in their netted web of up and down—their inquiry, as they danced, above, gliding, laughing high pitched at you.
Only to stand and watch, only inside what is inside.
The sun had begun its orbital voyage, those with white feathers and all life in tow, infinite unending, and all the connections of connections exposed.
It paint as an artist’s brush over lands, trees and grass, overhead, above polo shirts and homeless ragged men, showing.
Leaving for a moment its mark; then as fleeting as it appears it vanishes to dark.
The warmth was there to stay—so ephemeral, as a Mayfly’s life, in a moment’s hesitation lost; shadows draw long in the absence, as flowers quick bend their praise.
A day we have, then not.
It is here, then it is gone.
This colorful set constantly changing, to the chagrin of progress, to the luck of fickle nature, and to the impromptu dialogue of the local theatre company.
Another tomorrow awaits at the end of coming dusk, with quizzical seagulls, with fascist sunlight, with worldly reflections in tow, with fired synapse and buttoned polos and people begging for change, anything you could spare will do, until they take their bow.
And the light caught it all at the back of Hodson Hall.
a neglected mind
is a tragedy.
a neglected body
is a prison.
I would walk Central Avenue in soft
evening light, or go through Father
Hennepin Park around the same time.
A group of people to gather and become
pedestrians again on The Stone Arch’s
sandy beige bricks. To be seen smarted
by simple standing architecture, art,
and all of its cracked parts—the park too,
its sentiment with skyline shapes inset
in the distance, contrasted, outlined
in values: greys, whites, blues, golds,
and blacks. Shades reigning, measured
to a straight line and immensely looming,
cast down at those eyeing below. People
sit in fast passing cars, as those on
foot step. Thoughts to traverse, within
and without. It was another day to walk,
to watch, to wait, and to go, to move,
or to stay, on this dusk path through
downtown Minneapolis and straight back.
Similar to farm raised turkey
and Monsanto corn,
our immune systems have been compromised
by the monocultures we create;
our tendency for convenience and familiarity
has placed us at the precarious edge of catastrophe,
absolutely starved-fat and defensively naked.
it does save us money at the grocery,
and help those in control of the industry.
To the Workshop Gods, to the Weekend Artists, to the Loud Talkers, to the Local Name Droppers, and to those who say they do important things for the art without taking action. Good Job. TS_
The beauty of writing
is sharing your words,
spreading your ideas,
whether it is
unique or not.
It is touching keys
forgetting the edit,
and doing what you want
Writing is either part of your life fully,
or great distances far away,
or in between;
it can come back at any moment,
and it can sit there and stay.
Writing is expressing yourself
not for those around you to critique,
it is for you,
it is with you,
it is by you,
in all the experience that you’ve seen.
Your everyday trivial
is more poignant than
yesterday’s raved about
new modern messiah.
Writing can be a target,
with a big bright red mark on your back to attack,
it can show humor
and inspiration to act.
The beauty of writing
is it is actually you,
no matter how weird,
how the labels others choose to use,
or who it will prove to confuse.
Writing is religion, Allah, Christ, Academia, Professors, and God,
it is verses out of rhyme,
it is punctuation out of time,
and it is of topics trite,
and themes grotesquely odd.
The beauty of writing
can be called flawed by all,
but when it comes time to write,
the loudest have nothing at all.
A good day
a good morning,
starts with clear sight,
and an open mind,
starts with a coffee in hand,
starts with movement
a good day starts with starting,
a good day starts with you.
You, me; us we—forward or backward,
together we are the same.
Parts of a carnal body, whole—
built of dust, thoughts, and air;
no scar is without a measure,
no action still unmoved,
shell of human being outside,
ghost of us within.
We are compelling a kind,
eyes peer to see;
from Franklin and Nicollet to NE,
Middle America to Middle East.
Still, forward or backward, we are the same.