THE BAYFRONT BLUES FESTIVAL
Deaf to the singing day the Aerial Lift Bridge rings its bell.
A steel girder curtain of sky rises.
Upstage from Lake Superior
Great Lakes boats and oceangoing ships promenade
under the bridge and cymbal ride into the harbor.
Shy as guys who trip up to girls to ask them to dance,
green, red, and white tug boats plod the bay to meet their vessels.
Eyes lock and tighten like tow ropes.
Apart but together they navigate to where
all hands say they must go.
Seagulls solo and harmonize above a gyrating scene
that drinks in an inland sea.
Some birds hover and stare north at the hillside
where Dylan was born.
Nodding, toe-tapping concert-goers flock before a bayfront stage.
A tug or two throttles down by small crafts
anchored along the rocky shore behind the stage.
“Why do you want to go to the blues festival?
All you’re gonna do is drink beer and listen to the music,”
smiles the lighthouse that laughs like winds
only guitar necks know.
Deaf to the singing night the Aerial Lift Bridge rings its bell.
A steel girder curtain of sky falls.
BREAKING THE LAKE SUPERIOR TRAIL
Chippewa eyes listen to sun, moon, stars.
They . . . rainbow . . . rivers.
They camp and they dance!
Drums hear lake water
sail into the sky.
FREEZING winds blow off a great lake.
Its song breaks trail for them.
They move . . . move . . .
move for reasons like
or because of our own.
They canoe the lake
before it is mapped
Dream-hungry, the Gitchi Gummi
paddles through their visions.
They fish. They hunt.
They do not spear
by the fires
They left and they stayed
like the air in songs
of water, of stars,
Cicero said not in his In Catilinam, “The good life begins
after you’ve stopped working for a living but before
you’ve lost your head living the good life to its best.”
Thus and therefore and ergo and great Caesar’s ghost,
life is good when, after you’ve gotten the love
of your life off to work, because, Zeus knows,
somebody’s gotta work. Somebody’s gotta
pay for all the stuff that keeps arriving by
Federal Chariot Express from Roman Macy’s,
Costco’s of Sicily, and the Arpinum Golf Shop.
Gazing out over your gardens,
poisoning the traitorous weeds
with stuff toxic enough
to kill a Roman legionnaire,
its easy to be persuaded by milliarium
after milliarium of undeveloped land
beyond your walls, yet unconquered
by your Triumvirate Realty buddies,
that, in time, like Greek philosophy,
the value of your villa will rise.
Ergo, therefore, and thus the good life
can get better!
Some days living the good life sail by
until you hardly have enough time
to hit the links, buy more weed killer,
and deliver another neighbor’s eulogy.
Returning home from her chariot shop toils,
the love of your life asks, “How was the funeral?
Think there are aurei in writing eulogies?”
“You bet!” you answer. “What do you want me
to say about you?”
LIFE ON EARTH
Sunrise sweet talks its way through the top windows
of the grain elevator next door.
It yawns through rust holes in parked cars,
through green leaves blowing brown
in the grain dust air.
Down the street dawn portages
into breakfast grammar.
Isolated subjects dive into the day, get wet,
and bob and roll into each other before leaping
over the downtown, bank clock
into the afternoon.
Dry gears of routine smoke!
Seagulls with black ice eyes
circle the hot, elevator roof.
Sunset slingshots through every sandcastle
along Lake Superior’s south shore.
A fog horn sounds and anchors twin ports
dry docked in time.
Starlight whispers through
sky high windows.
Grain dust resettles
on my neighbors’ windshields.
I turn on the outside light
and wait for the night
to tremble with stars,
to shake warm
with your eyes.
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