Posts tagged ‘River Valley’

October 22, 2017

blanket dawn

layered orange crimson and green hue,
cut through rectangle windowframe view.
one sleepy town awakes in fogs and horns
to a night’s black fast escaping morn.

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February 22, 2015

No Frac, No Question

When our drinking waters have been set aflame,
and we’ve destroyed our pristine rolling bluffs;
the people of the Coulee Region will be ashamed,
while the mining corporations won’t have enough.

*

No frac,
No question.

December 25, 2014

Unpacking the Snow

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.

October 19, 2014

The Mississippi River in La Crosse

I recall the smell of fish from the brown water
And white caps rising high—
Brown, dirty… undulating—
Ducks stood in speckled sands,
Trash mixed rock…
And a cloud passes overhead
Casting a new shadow;
Ducks waddle under the dock,
Disappear
And below they quack.
And I see boats
Moving across the River,
And waves,
And I see that water
Has been moving past.

***
Inspired by Frank Herbert’s Dune: (source: Unbroken Thread): One of Gurney Halleck’s Tone Poems for Sad Times

June 17, 2014

Lock and Dam No. 7

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.

April 15, 2014

“The Apple Capital”

This town
Under bluffs of a river valley

Ancient trees
Fixed in rich dirt of sediment

Through the
Sandstone foundation of long forgotten
Specters under the sky
Incarnation of this “American Dream”

Their progeny haunt
Stalk
Past the dying brilliance
Of traditional affairs

–The audacity of Business
Gathering
From the land
Of which they do not own
–the view
That warns
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

November 19, 2013

Weekends in Bush Valley

Always flannel, mouthing big cigars, and coffee,

In the cold, smoke would rise from a few.

 

Sawdust and dirty dogs,

Not insulting, just talking, they were barking,

There was cussing at ideas, and the sky blue.

 

No need to ask why, things just happened.

 

An old Ford pickup,

We were loading the flatbed back.

 

Playing in dirt, waiting on something, or someone to make tracks-

What had occurred?

Occupied with running around, yet relaxed.

 

-Shooting a rusted BB gun at beer cans and stray cats.

(AND I ACTUALLY DID SHOOT MY EYE OUT.)

 

Hoses and a wood splitter,

An old horse named Drifter.

Hydraulics and the sounding of the oak wood’s crack-working toward a heart-attack.

 

Donuts and words,

We conquered a bit of the forest and this part of rich black earth; a necessity of warmth, and a peace that calms the nerves.

 

No cell.

No net.

No Beatnick hipster belief for the minimally absurd, chasing fame, and admiration of friends.

Just content with technology and life as of just yet,

 

And a few words we had learned:

Play,

Love,

And Respect.

 

In nature we couldn’t forget,

The smell brings back memories directly to the present tense.

 

Landlines and old relatives,

Hardened and happy, they prospered simple, and simply prospered.

Good life they lived.

 

Weekends in the valley as a child,

We were never so satisfied to work so hard.

Small towns remain so rich.

 

Of me it is much more than a part.

November 8, 2013

South, Prairie du Chien, Steamboat Travel

South, Prairie du Chien, Mississippi River Valley

Terry Scott Niebeling

 

Wake up in Prairie du Chien, Nähe Le Villa Louis.

 

Lay cold to the touch, on a rolled up sleeping bag.

You are not within.

You are without.

 

So early you feel like askin’.

-Time is it?

5:30 AM.

 

Surrounded by what you need:  Water.

Drank so much it made you so thirsty.

 

Noise from the generator wakes you-

A voice, Dave, a question-

He, a tall blond first mate, imagine rugged, stands above.

 

We refuel.

 

River smell rich, insects, and spider’s webs remain about you.

You ponder, your eyes shift, how many did you swallow?

 

Sit perched below the bar rail, a kicking spot.

-A useless lot.

-Where you squat.

You sad sit this shit.

Might as well sit out.

Close to go, avoid the hitch.

You have all the wherewithal to slouch.

 

Sleep eating, drinking-peeing, while hardly sleeping through the night.

Mop in hand, Dave asks again, cleaning a mess.

 

I pissed the deck, didn’t I?

 

He says, “Get Up!”  You say you haven’t slept.

Mums the word, I am told.

 

Sore throat sun in your eyes- weak dried out post drunk haze in your mind.

 

The smell of gasoline-or oil, or whatever powers this big bright red paddle.

 

Feels like a stiff neck, stiff legs, and a stiff arm, feels like it just hit me, my alarm.

Feels like a stretch.

 

Over the next few moments everyone showed.

There was an hour’s ride home-no service, no phone.

 

Took in whitecaps and tree tops along the drive.

Times like these along the river so full of insight.

 

Thank you for the ride, it’s good to be back in La Crosse.

Now Goodbye.