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.
The rounded mesas
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
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.
On such a late night sitting and full,
Contents of a stir-fry made of tofu;
She packs for Wisconsin: days away.
Still I sit & watch and wait & laze.
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.
Barefooted feet sounded aloud the carpeted hallway,
Where people passed in sunlight of a side window view;
Forms drew on, each bearing a different meaning—each,
New reason passed by, as all parts came meshed true.
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.