Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Poetic States: KS, IA, LA

The August/September Fireweed is ready to read. See the link in the upper left.

Three more poetic states, though Kansas tried to do me in --

Kansas: The Bloody Center

In the middle of the nation,
astride the route buffalo roamed
between Canada and Spanish territories,
Bleeding Kansas from Lawrence to Dodge -
Quantrill, John Brown and Earp -
the center of American mythos.

Trails that left scars on the grasslands;
took us to Oregon, Utah, and Santa Fe,
to points in every direction south and west
for gold, freedom without neighbors
crowding against the back section,
to escape dust and starvation;
brought news, mail, rawboned cattle
and the men who drove them north.

Trails that led hard men to murder
that captured our attention in books
and film, and someday song and dance –
“In Cold Blood: The Musical.”


Iowa: Long Live the King: First Caucus

They descend like maggots scenting red meat,
a plague of politicians strive to render
their fellow travelers so impotent even drugs sold
on television could not help them rise again.

Through complications worthy of Byzantium,
farmers and fundamentalists will select
a party’s candidate for president of these States,
though mostly the weak starve
and the strong move on to even stranger
processes designed to prove Darwin.

They arrive like cancer to a smoke-filled lung,
an illness we cannot seem to correct,
and may not want to if indeed it is the best
of all the bad systems used to select a king.


Louisiana: Second City

The odor of the city is in the air
as if roadkill was left too long
on asphalt before being added to roux.
The resonance of the city fills
the air as if the helicopters became
lost on their way to home base.

The city is in the air to fill the dead
space before the anniversary
of a disaster that did not kill a city.

The heroic received everything a city
in need might desire, the swamped
receives nervous glances -
the third world brought to our shores
as if the city was at fault a storm blew.

The city permeates the air
and we wish its uncomfortable dirge
would float back across the Atlantic.


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