Monday, May 18, 2015

North Dakota

tourists 'n' th'long peaceful
border – th’turtle mountain lass,
diff’rent perspective

turtle mountain lass –
lifetime ‘f hard winters, ‘n’ one day
‘t th’peace garden entrance

dad ‘n’ kid ‘n th’roosevelt
days’ve turned shorter, but th’nights are fresh,
millions ‘f stars t’be had

kid thinks th’roosevelt’s
about th’wildest place on earth –
dad helps him poke th’fire

fargo’s elms, ‘n’ th’secrets
‘f generations – she thought they’d
always protect her

th’elms knew your secrets,
they said – now he’s come t’fargo,
t’find th’only elms left

from white butte outward,
wide plain slopes for miles - nearby,
prairie smoke blooming

bismarck yard camper:
"burlington northern owner
was once one of us"

fargo yard boxcar
good f'r th'long ride - wait 'n th'weeds,
when th'train starts, jump on

soup from th’church basement,
crooked teeth, ‘n’ th’fargo lass’ smile –
gives her th’wild roses

dust on th’oil field roads –
jamestown riggers share their plans
t’keep up th’boat payments

train sets out ‘n fargo
this time, has water, bread ‘n’ cheese,
‘n’ all th’berries he picked

fargo back alley
wild rose, defiant beauty –
days’re getting shorter

dakota prairie
westbound from fargo, th’ir’n rails
‘re chased by th’rising sun

jumped th’train west ‘f fargo
sack ‘f berries, hunk ‘f cheese ‘n’ water
‘n’ th’colors ‘f prairie grass

he jumps th’burlington,
he says, ‘cause th’owner jumped’m too,
‘cross th’dakota fields

arb'retum camper,
shadow of th'state capitol,
found a patch of woods


sky ‘f stars ‘n th’roosevelt
he’s glad all his security’s
directed ‘t th’wildlife


nap in fargo’s elms
dreams take him t’ th’childhood world,
‘n’ all one canopy

camping ‘t th’arb’retum
sleeping bag, candle, cup ‘f tea,
glow ‘f th’state capitol

dickinson football
they play rough, but t’them, it’s th’way
t’get out of farm chores


fourth down, dickinson
unable t’score in this life,
might have t’join th’army

down from man’toba,
th’marsh geese settle ‘t devil’s lake
fish dinner’s tasty

just west ‘f west fargo,
begins t’get hungry f’r turkey
three more days to th’coast

just come through fargo,
first frost ‘n’ folks’re getting ready –
th’hiker longs for th’coast

after west fargo
no interstate junctions 'til
billings - frost on boots

bowen ave denny's -
they make the pumpkin pie last
'til salt trucks are done

stretches th’pumpkin pie
on bowen avenue, they’ll plow,
but it might get worse

pumpkin pie ‘t denny’s,
snow on bowen, bit more wind –
‘nother scoop ‘f whipped cream

wide lonesome prairie –
outside jamestown, he feels th’wind
turn toward th’bitter

fargo boxcar drunk
doesn't know which way is south -
frosted weeds witness

a town called minot,
nothing but prairie around -
one winter, i left

ice fishing, fort yates
beds ‘n th’trailer, nice fire, card game
like you’ve never seen

water protectors
came from so far, ‘n’ then found out
how hard it freezes

thirty b’low, bismarck
trav’ler’s shocked th’blizzard’s so big,
th’motel room so small

new year with folks in
zap - sounds a bit livelier
than it really is

lawrence welk, one ‘f ours
can’t ‘magine th’countdown, without
him in th’living room

th’plains, frozen solid
halfway lake lass’s changed her mind
three times ‘n ten minutes

stranded in bismarck -
roads keep drifting over, and
it's thirty below

plugged in to th’meter,
th’car is safe in bismarck, he says –
tongue might freeze, though


free parking ‘n bismarck
used th’squirt gun back at th’first freeze,
meter’s stuck ‘til may

you don't understand
how these devil's lake winters
make faith an issue

drift prairie marsh geese,
oblivious, cold - just in
from manitoba


likes t'catch his walleye
when th'weather breaks't devil's lake -
they jump right in th'boat

fresh april morning –
train stops ‘n minot, chance t’get off,
but can’t ‘magine why

red river valley
fin’lly turns green, ‘n’ th’grand forks lass
sings all th’cowboy songs


cross canada ‘n th’spring
after ninety one countries,
had t’stop ‘t th’peace garden

field ‘f prairie larkspur
back t'raub, f'r th’freedom t'ride through it
as fast as she wants

may day, halfway lake -
forgot where he started out,
or where he's going

peace garden roses,
so delicate and sensual –
she notices th’thorns

she knows th’floral clock,
th’beaver, loon, ‘n’ caribou – she sells
th’peace garden postcards

just past th’peace garden,
she says, acres ‘f wildflowers
on turtle mountain

fargo's flow'r gardens -
she likes th'wild prairie roses
in the back alley

hopping train f’r bismarck
watch th’language, please, upset th’ears
of th’prairie larkspur

fargo back alley –
they share th’port, little hunk ‘f cheese,
bouquet ‘f wild roses


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