Sunday, May 24, 2015


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


aurora lass’ tale –
twisters’d skirt th’burial mounds,
they’d use th’lawn chairs t’watch

across th’missouri
th’city sleeps – he’ll drive all night
t’avoid th’summer sun

pack on th’york exit sign –
redwinged blackbird’s not happy ‘bout
this development

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

fox ‘f ogallala
best dinner’s still on th’prairie,
might’ve come t’town f’r dessert

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

on th’loup, tells th’stories,
disregards th’contents ‘f th’herald,
nails th’catfish to th’tree

down below, th’south platte
swim, nap ‘n’ sandwich, then decide,
denver or th’redwoods

tales 'f driving th'old chev -
lincoln by dawn, trunk'f ice 'n' coors,
th'kind that had t'be fresh

farmer, beat up truck
‘n th’lincoln backroads – th’bluestem grass
bows ‘t his arrival

two-lane t’columbus,
hundreds ‘f crows pick ‘t her field corn
they give her bad dreams

calls it grama grass
live ‘n nebraska long enough,
start seeing th’colors

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

hates th’crows most of all –
columbus lass, tired ‘f th’midwest,
‘bout t’take off for th’coast

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

winner ‘t north platte
rodeo champ’s not famous, but
some folks care a lot

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

field ‘f bluestem, road t’york
th’redwinged blackbird seems t’take it
very pers’nally

dawn, columbus porch –
busy husband reads th’headline,
straw man smokes his pipe

dawn, columbus porch –
kids did th’fall decoration,
in th’herald, news ‘f th’fires

balloons ‘t th’huskersgame
th’whole stadium, a single cheer,
this year’s hopes’re afloat

to th’true huskers fans,
what’s eight hours on th’sandhill roads?
kind’f like th’chill in th’air

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


just my luck, he says,
six hours, nothing but grassland
now, th’huskers’ traffic

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


capitol ‘n lincoln
quotes ‘f wisdom engraved ‘n stone,
guards’re talking huskers

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

whiteclay liquor clerk
shuts th’door against th’bitter wind
‘nother sioux’s died in th’street

want t’make a living –
turned cold ‘n whiteclay, ‘n’ th’liquor man
knows how that man died

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


may your herd run strong,
nother good year for th’huskers,
‘n’ good luck t’ th’traveler!

outside alliance,
coat ‘f ice ‘n’ th’timeless monument
to cars and th’prairie

grew up ‘n kabul, but
now, ‘n th’blinding lincoln blizzard
he, too, has lost th’way

on th’road t'omaha -
tiny motel, icy walk,
th’world’s widest prairie

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

west ‘f lincoln, th’blizzard
plenty ‘f daylight, but can’t see much
‘cept th’silver mirrors

blues harp ‘n’ th’car radio
on th’train ‘cross th’frozen sand hills
they left th’keys in th’cars

lincoln-bound ‘n’ desp’rate,
th’driver, even ‘n th’ice, jumps out,
gives th’hitchhiker th’car

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


th’old man ‘n’ his mem’ries –
th’grandkids sled tornado hill,
‘n’ he knows what’s beneath

omaha’s buried –
his idea ‘f driving t’ th’coast
lost in th’late blizzard

eighty past hastings
th’whooping crane, too, has come far
t’cross this trav’ler’s path


months of studying –
th’campus forsythia shouts at
th’lincoln lass t’wake up


campus forsythia
pop too quick, ‘n’ th’lincoln weather
come back t’ruin you

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

after th’cold west wind,
th’sun shines on th’salem milkweed
monarch might want t’stay

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

grand island gard’ner –
not many twister nightmares,
calls in sick june third


seven twisters hit
grand island that year, june third
th’day he turned seven

kearney dorm showers –
preparing for finals, they
might take them for granted

kearney dorm showers –
cramming f’r exams, they don’t mind
guests’re kind’f rare, out here

near ogalalla
interstate forks, prairie blooms
in both directions


og’llala t’om’ha
tales ‘f th’june night they drove ninety
with th’trunk full ‘f ice ‘n’ coors


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