Friday, September 30, 2005


yazoo city law -
through crack in tinted window,
a sweltering heat

kudzu in mirror,
enough mint tea, y'all come back -
yazoo city still

desoto campfire -
stories of small-town picnics
and not fitting in

folks talk civil war -
old stouts steamboat captain talks
summers on th'river

watching perseids -
vicksburg girl can't imagine
marryin' a yankee

westbound on twenty -
barbecue on pack canvas,
old bridge souvenir

holed up in jackson
labor day hurricane blues
cot springs on off beat

ole miss linebacker
spits his aggression and scorn
on faulkner's sidewalks

woke in tombigbee,
red clay bed, pine for blanket,
campfire for coffee

home from th'war, killed here,
old cemetery road 'n' confed'rate -
ain't used t'ice 'n these parts

deserted crossroads,
limited fame, yours and mine -
we toast the new year

desoto campfire
smokes wood wet from march drizzle,
better'n any cologne

natchez trace roadside
aroma - unknown blossoms,
or maybe old ghosts?

laurel laundr'mat door -
dryer steam at back, he stops,
baptized by spring rain

girl scouts - tup'lo's finest,
most sincere of mall merchants
selling do-si-dos

too many days, waiting for work,

but hope is in th'air

Thursday, September 29, 2005


current rafters' fire
of brush from sandy bottoms
mem'ries of lost loves

clear skies up st. jo
way, but river keeps rising -
right over the road

trucks' rumble as bass,
locusts' melody, harsh glow
kingdom city sign

lake of the ozarks
water dirty - but still lets
a boy catch a fish

missouri cow game -
drive through green hills, count, lose all
at cemetery

live in the moment,
steady canoe, shoot rapids
on current river

st. gen exit ramp,
weeds aflower, locusts deaf'n -
roads drift into haze

a single two-lane
snakes through branson - takes all of
august to get through

y'all come back t'see us,
branson waitress says - august
traffic chokes the road

leg blown off in 'nam,
now i sit in bootheel house,
watch weeds go to seed

milkweed patch near troy -
monarch, your road seems less direct,
you, too, should go south

paw paw - she finds fruit

old mines' brogue is named after,

serves it with pancakes

white spires, bridge at cape
dove's wings perched on great river
november's sun falls

ozark pastor's prayer
for new highway echoes - first
snow dusts joplin road

king bridge's rumbling -
geese, following the river,
louder than people

mexico - missouri towns,
road sign winter dreams

quilt on truman's bed
for eighty lamar winters
too close to wood stove

epiphany feast -
pizza and bottled water
at lambert airport

thunder bay t’n’orleans,

crossing sev’nty, snow t’hard rain
time f’r cup of coffee

delmar diner cook –
scorn f’r th’poorly dressed ‘hoosiers’
come in from th’blizzard

scarred concrete pillar,
icy shoulder - mem'ry of
mcgwire highway sign

the arch soars, a steel
ribbon cuts, turns - but unlike
my kite, it comes back

plane veers over arch
westbound, a world opens up -
march ozark sunset

foot of the king bridge,
press waits for tournament teams -
sweet sixteen comes home

flooded bootheel plain
march sun, exit bridge doubt me -

lambert lot shuttle
suitcases press on child's doll
now safe from march rain

june rain pounds the bridge,
muddy missouri rises -
earth city sign's lost

Friday, September 23, 2005



bitteroot valley
elk stop for aspen breakfast -
tenuous balance

choteau fourth - one view

'f th'events of little bighorn

upsets th'local girl

trout bucket spills, fish

flail in pickup bed, locusts

screech - road to bozeman

small tent in glacier,
food hung in tree, sounds of woods -
she hears bears all night

glacier campsite bear –

they invited her t’dinner,

she had other plans

uphill, th'wide prairie -

cyclist on two says he's got

new view of 'big sky'


surprise creek baseball -
game with no fences, challenge
to contain oneself

by day, pedals th’mountain cliffs
by night, campfire tales

th’roads‘re narrow, th’cliffs‘re steep –
cycling th’sun highway, she says,
th’high point of her life

husband’s ‘n stocks ‘n’ bonds,
she says, ‘bout t’ride th’sun road cliffs,
he studies risk ‘t home


thunder, august squalls,
trucker grinding ev'ry gear-
coming out of butte

bear crosses road to
m'ssoula, back into sumac -
and not to college

rains in kalispell -
leaves blown down past camper where
hunters are huddled

cabin at foot of
elevation mountain - watch
orion stand tall

rancher eyes raven,
wolf tracks in snow - there's trouble
in the bitteroot

billings policeman
knows when blizzard's expected
and who'll be stranded

ranchers here'n cam'ron
have trouble getting calves through
winter without wolves

gears shift, trucks rumble,
orion pokes fire embers -
butte cloverleaf fades...

field of camas waves -
four dogs, three hikers, old truck,
winds through lolo pass

river ice breaks up,

fishin's good, but he dries out

in a bozeman jail

from th'top 'f th'boxcar, th'mountain springs,

watch out for th'tunnel!

eureka teller
smiles at loonies and toonies -
spring's come down th'rockies


Thursday, September 22, 2005



dew on a cobweb,
cobweb on a lincoln sign -
c'cadas' pitch rising

picnic on the platte -
entrails of catfish, wrapped in
yesterday's herald

grand island carney
knows twisters - wind hits trailer,
wakes in a cold sweat

sandwich at carhenge -
prairie stretches out for miles,
cool shade of old truck

tales 'f driving th'old chev -

lincoln by dawn, trunk'f ice 'n' coors,

th'kind that had t'be fresh

ogallala fox -
miles of open range, harvests -
still rather be 'n town

back roads near burwell

th’rodeo life’s all about horses,

cows’re just t’pay for it

she talks – rodeo food,

th’long drives, motels, roper’s life,

th’finals in north platte

it’s hard ‘n’ it’s phys’cal,

might feel like ropin’ th’stranger –
smiles, n’turns back t’lincoln

redwinged blackbird nests
in weeds by york exit sign -
hiker hides his face

watching huskers' game,
they didn't see th'hawk snatch th'puppy
out in th'parking lot

kept our son back in
lincoln schools - so he'd have a
shot at these huskers

lincoln capitol
guard - jingling keys, cold hands, hot
- talking huskers

streets of whiteclay -
turns cold fast here, and folks die,
liquor man won't budge

steakhouse champagne toast -
a fortune from union yards,
this cork pops for thee

ash on icy lot,
rust heaps balance on prairie -
place called alliance

this road goes on to
new york, but in this snowstorm
york would be enough

train hauling new trucks
straight across frozen sand hills -
in one, soft blues harp

welcome back, monarch!
salem roadside milkweeds know
you, too, are northbound

chadron yard breakfast
homemade bread, cheese, wine and field
of black-eyed susans

th’minute school lets out,
puts supplies ‘n’ h’s trunk f’r couple ‘f months
pulling trout from the loup

grand island, june third -
his calendar, stuck on th'day
he lost ev'rything

kearney dorm showers –

preparing for finals, they

might take them for granted

near ogalalla
interstate forks, prairie blooms
in both directions


Friday, September 16, 2005


looking down at sparks
desert summer loses grip -
eastbound train starts out

knows th'beatty speed trap,

lets caddy fly past, get caught -
small town, summer night


houses built angled
away from sun - 's why they call
it caliente

eastbound train from sparks
through cold desert summer night
chills us to the bone

th’mirror he took from
reflects th’blazing sun

outside enterprise
burning sun reddens the weak -
rock caves offer shade

he's brought the desert with him,

doesn't stop in vegas

unforgiving chill
desert summer night settles
miles still from elko

dusty old pickup -
campground host, in dunes sign's glow,
curses lost food stamps

august dust rises -
plane's wing turns toward vegas,
sun gets lost in haze

she’s ‘t th’neon boneyard

t’stop ‘t th’golden slipper

opp’site ‘f fame, she says –

desert camping, with th’soft glow


something ‘bout th’glitter ‘nth’sparkle

keeps her coming back

neon boneyard tale -
harvest moon stirs her mem'ries
of golden slipper

with a straight face, they tell us -
most ‘f th’strip’’s ‘n paradise

on cold desert train,
dawn brings empty fall stillness
somewhere near elko

watching guests throw coins

in strip fountain - alas, souls' day's

just like all the rest

vegas stopover
flight calls to snow belt towns fade
slots' whirrs take over

hits vegas for slots -
new years day he sees lake mead,
even quits drinking

delayed by new year
fog - vegas pilot's never seen
a ceiling this low

left his aging ma
't home on frigid plain - he rests
'neath th'old stardust sign

homestead dreams derailed-
toxic waste, never to thaw,
stay frozen, yucca

vegas pool tanner
tells of march cop convention -
he never went home

reno slots winner
cap full of quarters - stumbles
into march blizzard

came from basque country -
took a few blooming valleys
t'call nevada home

she eyes th'mountain man,
come down t'reno with th'snowmelt -
all life's a gamble