Sunday, October 23, 2005



prairie's tall grass, pond,

sound of trucks - this new eighty

cut through th'heart 'f iowa

ladybug climbs map -
up thirty, uphill, upwind
beneath, cyclist sleeps

des moines ramp traffic
spares grasshopper - patiently,
northwest to southeast

outside dyersville,
fields of ripe corn and baseball -
fantasy's bullpen

neck deep in wapsi -
she's miles from retribution,
five feet from nettles

town’s policeman doesn’t hear

its deafening noise

near dubuque, th'trappists

farm 'n silence - but th'hiker hears

locusts, ev'ry step

highway one onramp -
truckers' fumes, and the shrill cry
of redwinged blackbirds

english river bridge
to yonder amish window -
a banjo carries

dog hits tire at night,
when towns like ware are asleep -
but crickets hear it

ames farm's barbed wire fence -
monarch catches morning sun,
dance 'v monday's freedom

lincoln highway bridge
shelter from thunder, lightning
summer storm moment

these small town churches,

best thing ‘bout ‘em, says th’britt sage,
th’meetings in th’basement

iowa falls feed caps –

tale ‘f th’corn silo accident,

‘n’ th’time he couldn’t breathe

reads plates on 80
commutes through midsummer night
coralville- hey, maine!

quarter in wapsi,
wish floating downstream, through corn
ready for harvest

football saturday
cars backed up past hawkeye drive
beat minnesota!

crisp fall morn, cold look -
don't walk on the don't walk sign
in cedar rapids

born in bluffs - one fall,
in town, couldn' get off eighty,
and never came back

read through dead leaves on bumper,
frames this license plate

stone city gravel
roads sneak up on its buildings -
orion watches

leaving for padre,
champagne, map on small table
in winnebago

thirty five 'n' eighty =
warm tea, numb fingers, a choice:
texas or west coast?

burg poet's topic
as blizzard pushes through door -
ash and omelet grease

on one, near annie
drunken rider, car in drifts
argues which way's north

offer 'f place to stay -

in ames blizzard, th'pastor shows

a genuine faith

amana tourists
pick up mill workers' german -
outside, a blizzard

worst cold spell 'n twenty

years - jeff county farmer blames

the maharishi

amana woolens-
outside the mill, icy glaze
covers corn and brick

icy solon road,
eternal damnation sign
frames empty cabin

orange triangle -
buggy blocks kalona road,
wood wheels on packed snow

named this town lisbon
railroad, dreams, cities, people
but dreams don't till weeds

shiloh road farmhouse –

pink porch means she’s marryin’ age,

he says – nice flowers!

kalona dairy –

she hides behind engorged cows,

th’men talk ‘f barn raising

her buggy, mud road

near one – always ‘n outsider,

but she’d have it worse


fresh rhubarb, cups of
sugar, sharp pie - black coffee,
ready for wellman

place called ivanhoe,

where one hits th’cedar – he’ll fish

n’ pick th’ripe mulberries

flood of ninety-three
june rains push skunk river - can't
leave town fast enough

Friday, October 21, 2005



longhorn by old fence,
plains rising, weeds grow up sign -
wichita, 50

way up the flint ridge,
spits back at steamy lowlands -
drier on high plains

no soul on high plains,
sun beats on barren rock - hawk
finds "toronto" sign

lawrence exit blues
busker, played in town through fourth -
last place 'til denver

walking the u.s. -
wind drags him back t'salina
sun pulls at his shoe

longhorn guards weed patch
on road west to wichita
sign of things to come!

wyandotte county
backroads cricket song lyrics
lost in translation

circle water tow'r
find kansas town name in sun
class of sixty two!

field of sunflowers
following sun to the west
over the flint ridge

parents harvesting,

but she's back'n this cafe booth, off
massachusetts street

whole field 'f ripe milo,
clear crisp air t'the m'ssouri line -
train whistle pierces

pittsburg student's shocked -
roommate's thanksgiving dinner
had no spaghetti

on through emporia,

light snow dusts golden flint hills -

change drivers, make tea

kansans always know
which way is west, to lean in
to the bitter wind

flint ridge longhorn warns
westbound traffic: high plains drifts
leave no sign of road

they'd mined galena-
one new year, sixty six caved,
car fell twenty feet

marais des cygnes sky,
warm wind billows northbound geese,
road weighed down by cars

just one wall stood when

lent'n twister razed flint hills church -

that wall had th'picture

dust storm stirs mem'ry -

old man in hays tax office

remembers childhood

place like leavenworth,

common man's rage against feds -

post office, tax day

phone poles in a line -
with no roads, how did spring rains
find garden city?

flint ridge view - behind,
steamy east; below, monarch,
up from mexico

red and blue balloons,
drunken graduates still in robes -
parents load the van


Thursday, October 20, 2005



rock climbers, the red -
uncommon tongues, but common

certain hard spirit -
hates harlan's folk 'n' th'festivals -
'stead'f gas, 's got liquor

up main t’ward th’highway,

his fog ‘f doubt, school ‘r’work, lifted –


go back to l'u'ville,
locals drink 'n' shoot crackers, and
don't care f'r city folk

paducah street fair
elvis impersonator
even has jeweled belt!

just north of campbell,
a nap too restless, a field
'f roadside tobacco

absolutely lost,
paris streets, background colors,
the leaf hesitates

paint lick hooligans -
halloween mischief, saved for 
those who might be gay

holler fog, wood smoke,
fiddle, banjo, dulcimer -
pike county saints day

lou'v'lle traffic slows,
icy roads unusual
before thanksgiving

hazard county fog,
coal comp'nies, workers' accounts -
woodstove's acrid sting

cali to murray,
car dead, she reckons with gap,
frosted cables spark

glazed ice, knox entrance -
'lost it all,' he says, 'th'day they
went off the gold standard'

old scot in the boone:
name 'cumberland' chills our bones -
hot stick, winter fire

orion and friends,
mountain air on combs parkway -
utter lack of cars

across river bridge
to louisville - northern march
in rearview mirror

three years, lex waitress,

still not a fan of th'irish, 'r


came for th’quilt fest’val,

she knows paducah, ‘n’ she knows

bowties ‘n’ log cabins


lower town tourists –

he likes th’fest’val quilts, she likes
th’patches in his jeans

th’quilt festival shows off

th’home arts – but she’s far from hers,

‘n’ he doesn’t have one

came for the derby,
liked iced tea, local accents -
hers especially


Saturday, October 15, 2005



plantation's secrets -
humid night stops myrtles' clocks
for timeless complaint

shreveport diner grits,
butter and honey, sunrise
to fry an egg with

from th’garden district

window, th’days get more sultry

inside, th’fan slows down

tales ‘f old storyville,

august rains, red lights – she pours
‘nother hurricane 

th’guy can pay up front,

she says, ‘r in all th’other ways –


soft jazz on th’radio,

out ‘n basin street, th’edge ‘f th’hurr’cane-
she goes back to sleep

calls on voodoo, but too late,

betting on the saints

ma raised her cath'lic,
he worshipped n'orleans football -
they married saints' day

trucker's souls' day prayer

for those who're caught between worlds

rest stop, baton rouge

'laska to florida,
traffic thins, ten near m'tairie -
time f'r thanksgiving nap

just off basin street,

busker's night ends - frigid dawn,
old cemetery

stone's throw from n'orleans -
crawdad gumbo, zydeco,
'r own kind of christmas

playing the 'bon temps' -
fiddler gets a little french,
gumbo t'fight the cold

buskers hide bottles,
illicit french quarter port -
champagne soon enough

on this night, wolf moon’s stronger

than all th’clubs combined

vagrancy's a crime
'f'you'll get on out of n'o'l'ans
save jail cells for gras

bourbon street fiddler's
yankee accent fades away -
parade approaches

tourists in n'orleans
gave mardi gras to the world -
we flee t'lafayette

morganza spillway:
give the river what it wants -

waiting to give blood,
on a seedy n'orleans stoop -
magnolias blooming

parish bingo hall -
she bristles at the comment:
'skimpy' easter dress

wisteria blooming -

cajun voice reaches quarter's

parisian tourists

kudzu envelops
spirit, blocks april sunshine -
far from ponchartrain

cam’ron parish beach –

wide ‘n’ sparkling, but th’joy ‘f spring, gone,

guess she knows too much

ten west t'ward texas -
"wisht i'd traveled when i's young" -
wildflowers beckon