Sunday, May 17, 2015


erie driftwood beach
pebbles, sand under bare feet
nuke plant fades from view

from her hotel, th’lake,
so calm ‘n’ warm ‘n th’day – at night,
she wants t’rock cleveland


chips ‘n’ drinks, fox news ‘n’ th’pool
hunting valley lass never heard
‘f th’birthplace of garfield

got th’atomic clock,
but th’serpent mound folks had this,
aligned with th’solstice

camping, shores ‘f erie –
sleeping bag ‘n th’sand, driftwood placed
t’block th’view of th’nuke plant

gordon square souv’nir,
grandpa finds th’fact’ry key ‘n th’bush -
hid it there himself

bowl ‘f graeter’s ice cream
come from th’west coast t’tell us ‘bout
th’best ‘f cincinnati

t'ledo streets were once
covered with elms - all summer,
they held our secrets

and th’elms were her childhood stage –
now it seems so bare

long ride through th’city –
tribe fan, she gives th’best tour
‘f th’place where he was born

th’old house in mansfield
paint it, refinish th’wood floors,
wonder ‘bout th’future

lost ‘n cincinnati
two diff’rent straight streets, they say,
‘fore y’get to th’train yards

high on th’ferris wheel,
suspended ‘bove lake erie –
mem’ries ‘f cedar point

hit ev'ry yard sale
in holmes county - we english
have t'go to walmart

th’amish crowd th’yard sales
an hour’s ride from holmes county
like t’buy th’pots and pans

‘nother victory
on east sixth street – this city
likes shirts ‘bout itself

th’green hills near zanesville,
th’place that called it ‘bisketi’ –
just can’t find it now

a ways down straight street,
some weeds out there, but you’ll find
th’cincinnati yard

t'ledo zoo panda
fresh bamboo flown in daily
held up in detroit

fremont kitchen tales –
wealth ‘f presidential hist’ry,
homegrown tomatoes

homegrown tomatoes
don’t travel well, says th’troy kid –
eats his like ‘n apple

turnpike rest stop dawn -
rock star spotted near bathroom;
august's lively beat


th’monarch ‘n oberlin
th’scholar’s spent august writing
‘n’ forgot how t’dance

rock star’s august tour –
hiker needs th’blue heron t’pee,
both ‘re up ‘t three a m

oberlin scholar –
teaching shakespeare again, spends
th’weekend wading ‘n th’lake


left westlake while back,
now, th’leaves ‘f cahoon creek, ‘n’ th’childhood
he tried so hard t’flee

steubenville kid’s dreams,
he says, used t’be th’mills ‘n’ football
now, they’re just football

steubenville tackle
that sense ‘f rage under pressure
kicks in by itself

sea of red 'n' silver,
pitcher spilled on hiker's pack -
must've beat michigan

red ‘n’ silver fill th’bar –
when they’re drunk they cuss ‘n’ use
bad words like “mich’gan

‘round cincinnati,
he finds ‘n his jacket pocket
th’well-worn buckeye

spiegel grove scholar –
pockets th’acorns, plans his book
on reconstruction

acorns ‘f spiegel grove
reconstruction scholar’s tale,
‘bout why he pockets‘m

sausage haus ‘t kossuth,
on th’brick streets ‘f german village –
here too, th’red ‘n’ silver

athens professor
lost pretense of refinement
too drunk for turkey

athens professor,
defender ‘f th’ancient classics
too drunk f’r pumpkin pie

black shiny carriage,
wooden wheel on cracking ice -
holmes county backroad

hoarse, thirsty blades fans
celebrating new year win -
champagne on lake floes

th’old truck, th’smoke, th’lake view –
th’plain dealers’re insulation
from th’frozen floorboards

maine t'california,
roadsigns blurry, roads icy
'round ashtabula

cleveland’s old houses –
keep you warm ‘n th’cold lake winters,
but all th’copper’s stripped


ice on th’bricks – even
augmented reality
won’t help steubenville


not clapping’s treason,
he says ‘t th’winter speech ‘n cincy
they watch th’crash ‘n th’telly

in akron th'road forks -
through icy falls to th'north,
or straight east t'new york

midnight decision
‘t akron – north ‘long th’lake, ‘r th’city –
icy either way

deliv’ring plain dealers
from th’icy cab ‘f th’ancient truck –
most ‘f th’news’s gone online

outside toledo
frozen slush falling from truck
makes glazed road deadly

hopin’ t’make t’ledo,
th’blizzard hides th’road – behind th’truck,
big chunks ‘f ice’re falling

c’lumbus t’toledo
watch th’trucker’s lights ‘n’ follow him,
hoping he’ll break th’ice

toledo-bound trucks –
slush makes th’roads seem passable,
bridges’re still so slick

cleveland bus station,
offered hard drugs t'beat th'cold - wait!
i was born 'n this town!

from catawba shores
truck tires cracking snow on ice -
some will sink in spring

"th'ice 'n th'middle'll hold you,"
he says, driving from c'tawba,
"'s when it pulls from th'shore"

fish’re hungry under th’ice,
from catawba he weighs th’risks –
might lose ‘nother truck

not god’s will, says th’lass
outside th’icy shreve clinic –
‘t’s amish genetics

blizzard hides white lines
truck lights dance t'ward troy exit
no such thing as brake

used t'manufacture
things, ‘n th’small ohio towns, now,
they cook drugs t’stay warm

elmyra trucker –
nine gears, ice ‘n’ gravel, slope,
wouldn’t pass him by

near cincinnati,
truck jackknifed in icy lot,
driver calls and quits

“rock’s th’savior ‘f th’common
man” – she gives th’hall’s tickets
t’one of cleveland’s own

north coast spring dawn –
fine ear f’r music, th’sharp insult
for th’cities on th’tour

cleveland hall ‘f famer –
inducted f’r th’raunchy music,
orders th’purest ‘f foods

zanesville parents’ tale –
by spring, few teachers are left,
‘n’ look what they’re teaching

spring squall ‘n ohio
white-haired clerk ‘n’ th’hiker agree,
tribe’s drought ‘bout over

her own rhubarb pie –
th’ashland lass cuts th’purple shoots,
pours in all th’sugar

good fishin' in may -
old man can tell you when that
river caught on fire

opioid crisis –
th’ohio sheriff’s june night,
tries t’save th’mother’s life

trilliums ‘t th’serpent mound
‘mongst th’lush green valleys, ‘n’ knowing
which day is th’longest

serpent mound story -
body lines up with solstice,
happens to be now

serpent mound solstice -
they tracked the sun precisely,
and then they vanished

serpent mound fest’val
new agers like th’place, he says,
‘cause th’natives ‘re long gone

outside toledo,
th’parents got th’sparklers – th’kids know,
th’fireflies give th’best show

lining up th’serpent –
folks that built these mounds, he says,
knew more than we do

your journey brought you
to th’serpent mounds, longest day
things’ll line up for you


fog on th’rolling green –
once th’pilot saw it, had t’come
t’th’serpent mound fest’val


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