Tuesday, May 26, 2015


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

at wentzville, th’road t’troy,
‘n’ th’lazy days on th’river – now,
th’saint louis traffic

crossing th’state line, says
he b’lieves ‘fireworks’ ‘s another
name for ‘missouri


‘neath th’mcarthur bridge
near th’barge mcdonalds, stands ‘t th’site
‘f th’largest ‘f th’hoovervilles


jeff city pastor –
angry ‘bout th’litter in th’park
‘n’ th’breastfeeding ‘n public

jeff city locusts
seems like th’whole righteous town scorns
th’mother’s breastfeeding

locusts ‘f jeff city
church lady tells th’lass, don’t feel
breastfeeding’s proper

long haul t’steamy cape
he likes th’river ‘n’ its sadness,
and th’zydeco beat

maud farmhouse, lots ‘f corn,
long lane, you c’n see vis’tors f’r miles –
no one ever comes

clear skies up saint 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


not sorry I tipped,
says th’current rafter – just that
tent ‘n’ wallet got soaked


joplin tornado –
wildflow’rs’re back, but she’s stuck on
things that’re gone f’rever

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

wistful view ‘f th’ozarks
from th’aisle seat he wonders if
th’fish’re still by that dock

down th’ramp, th’sea of red –
cards’ve lost, but they seem not t’mind
th’saxophone player

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

nashville performer –
came out t’get away from ‘t all,
stuck ‘n branson traffic

at th’walls ‘f cape th’bargemen
push ‘gainst th’last ‘f summer’s water –
they have t’know th’channels

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

blooming ‘f th’goldenrod
for th’holt mom, time f’r school – for him,
just looks like ragweed

th’arch, way ‘bove th’city –
autumn sun on its edges,
‘n’ now she’s gone for good

paw paw - she finds fruit
old mines' brogue is named after,
serves it with pancakes

made th’paw paw salad –
knows th’bootheel, ‘n’ knows where t’find ‘em,
‘n’ he plans t’marry her

four guys in camo,
deer head on th’truck – they, too, stopped
in johnson’s shut-ins 

flash th’lights, t’warn th’drivers –
th’cold holt road trucker says, course
it should be legal

likes mizzou football
talks it up on deliv’ries
‘long providence road

costumes on nichols
el’quent civil war beauty
calls herself belle starr

th’outlaw lass ‘n’ jesse,
laid upon by darth ‘n’ th’jedi
showdown on broadway

hall’ween performance –
th’lass draws crowds t’th’plaza – from th’hill,
warhol ‘n’ picasso

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


first frost, joplin road –
ozark pastor promises
god’ll bring th’new highway

‘lectric joy to th’world
lifts th’spirit – new road t’joplin
would certainly help

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

south side ‘f carthage, th’monks
make th’divine light show – slow down,
they need you t’notice

carthage monks’ light show
y’get th’entire old testament
at five miles an hour


under lindbergh’s plane
holidays, ‘n’ you tend t’trust more,
left th’kid ‘n th’terminal


little church ‘n th’bootheel
course obama’s muslim, ‘n’ have
a blessed christmas

under lindbergh’s plane,
they watch th’blizzard, and wonder
which flights’ve been cancelled

mexico - missouri towns,
road sign winter dreams

back t’th’hill for lasagna –
what he liked best ‘bout childhood,
th’passion f’r street hockey

weekends ‘f street hockey
saint louis bricks’re etched ‘n his soul,
‘n’th’cold don’t bother him

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

humble lamar home,
bed quilt so close to th’woodstove  -
you knew th’power ‘f fire

quilt by th’woodstove -
lamar tourists tend t’notice
th’close proximity

epiphany feast -
pizza and bottled water
at lambert airport

heart ‘f kansas city’s
sweet barb’cue – blessed relief
from th’harsh plains winter

won’t touch th’budweiser,
says th’blues fan – got th’bitter taste
‘f local brew sold out

lived ‘n texas ten years,
now it snows ‘t th’laclede steakhouse,
‘n’ he just wants th’real thing

u u road’s frozen,
th’woods near seventy glaze ‘n’ shine –
no sign of th’mo-dot


angry at th’mo-dot
ice storm’s paralyzed th’whole state,
‘n’ they’re nowhere t’be found

thunder bay t’n’orleans,
crossing sev’nty, snow t’hard rain
time f’r cup of coffee


th’roach ‘n th’saint louis flat –
midnight, snowplows outside, cares
only ‘f you’ve seen him

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


ice storm closing in –
truckers’re smart, t’get off th’highway
here ‘n kingdom city

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

cruisin’ th’lou ‘n th’blizzard,
he thinks th’hiker might just want
hom’sex’l experience


chunks ‘f ice through th’city,
th’river pushes at laclede
th’arch, tall ‘n’ impassive

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 -


tales ‘f th’new madrid quake –
this water’s washed out th’bootheel
sev’ral times since then

weather breaks ‘n springfield
remarkable enthusiasm
f’r thousands ‘f fishing lures

painted wall at cape
to th’bargeman pushing th’spring rains,
we’re th’civilized world

slow ‘n’ steady, th’bargeman
pushes th’spring floods – ‘t th’painted walls
‘f cape, he sees th’folks, ‘n’ waves

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


bright or’nge, ‘n’ not afraid –
th’butterfly weed greets th’monarch
on th’m’ssouri two-lane

city museum
from th’airplane’s walkway, th’schoolkids
look down ‘t paradise

iris ‘f saint peters –
th’perfect s’burban flag day, still,
she hopes for more rain

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


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