i learned that Grandad Bluff is a true mesa
that scans the westerly horizon
and surveils the haunted currents
of the Mississippi. learned it
wasn’t a giant looming under the soil,
ready to outstretch and become massive.
though it spired peaks appears
as some monkey ossature, missing abdomen,
fore shoots it’s broken visage grimace.
heard of people falling off after
being chased by fourwheelers. used to
drink draught at Witches and Jesus
and imagine the things that happened between trees.
old times they wanted to turn
it to dust and money but Hixon stopped it.
thank you Hixon. i learned about Grandad Bluff
and missed my history because
one was already made before me long ago,
i suppose that is how it is with most things though.
feel a part, not really, aren’t,
then you read what it is all about.
still i love La Crosse for what it is:
a port city ready for a cold one
waiting for the weekend
always has your back even
if it’s a total dick sometimes.
and they talk about the water and health.
i learned that Grandad Bluff is a true mesa
The rounded mesas
were verdant sheen in predawn hue
and to the east
steam plumes were standing tall
and the sun
when it rose caught river currents
in the fore
so that they came
entwined to one another
on the earth,
the sun all aglow, sharp,
and the river a ghost mirror reflecting,
they were lovers
of common grounds
beyond whose husks melted worlds away
past all understanding.
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.
depths to rise
at border waters
up and down
I wish so much that I could change it,
just as much as everyone else.
The way you want something
and you really can’t have it.
Like to be independently wealthy,
or have the perfect dream job.
Only because in impossible ways
these entities don’t exist.
That sort of fading obsession
eventually becomes you—you are it.
In the morning from a deep sleep
the thought travels lifetimes
between two eyes, bounds up over
synapse, carries to perspire.
It is in you. And although it is there,
the momentary chill of outside air
seeing a banded local paper folded,
resting, stirs shivers, takes you away.
Some aspects are unavoidable,
some are just there to be taken.
Here is the La Crosse Tribune and
its pointed, objective, new words.
Picking up the rag, I head back inside.
I pull the band loose with fingers
and go at the emboldened headlines.
Thinking: how useless is a wish?
Thinking: it doesn’t really matter.
You lost your leather coat
At a bachelor party last weekend.
It wasn’t at the strip club,
Nudes danced wet on poles.
It wasn’t at the forgotten bar,
La Crosse lines them in rows.
It wasn’t inside of the party bus,
The one with open windows,
The one with a cracking radio…
It was lost, elsewhere between—
For reasons of altruistic motives,
To keep your brother warm.
It was lost in ways unknown.
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.