poet, teacher, and dad from the Midwest


Seven Wonders + Ubiquitous

Publication: Anti-Heroin Chic [link]

Seven Wonders

Perambulating in the track one might’ve left on the side
of the road
If the road were not concrete but dirt and the shoes soft
moccasin, not
Horsehoof, un-animal, as if narrow deerpaths beside
                streets and sidewalks
Through incandescent neighborhoods alive with children
On bikes and sketchy motor scooter riders. I knew
I’d changed when a blonde mother with her young children
Saw me walking and said hello, some mask of illness lifted
Or manifestation of brokenness unseen, shed like a jacket
On a 70 degree day in February celebrating greatness
and folly

Two Saturdays ago at the morning meeting the Wise Man said
we are all
Of us Broken Toys, every one of us. As if God were a Child
Who loved us recklessly, who mangled us with love

I am confused about my place in all this and I don’t know
If I’m meant to be awed or upset, frightened or mystified

Or having an experience that once we called religious – is that
what this is?
It seems so self-congratulatory to suggest these things
Were here for us all along to experience if only we’d say
we wanted them

And mean it. When young we used to pluck dandelions gone
to seed
Fashioning the stems and heads into a kind of gun and pop it
Mama-had-a-baby-and-her-head-popped-off, right here
In this neighborhood, in this backyard I’ve never left but circled
And returned to, wide circles stretching to the coasts – I wasn’t
born here

But I have taken up residence like a Lion in a children’s book purported
to represent
The Way, The Truth, and The Light and don’t we know real lions
Would just as soon bite your head off as save your ass from a white

And so now I can really start asking questions: Is God
Like a dictator or benign like a tumor or malignant
Like the thoughts leading my thoughtless legs to the bar
on a Sunday afternoon? I am trying
To make sense of things, I am trying for an acceptance
That doesn’t feel like a submission

– this happened once before, the world
Felt as if it would surely go on beyond my puny self without asking
my permission
Or caring either way, unconcerned with reward or punishment
Simply sloughed off the walkway like an insect with broken legs
Is this the blessedly depressing gift Mind had in Mind?  Is this my
              piss-poor Enlightenment?
. . . we are Lightyears removed, we are Eons removed from the Center
              of the Universe.


In the 1990s in Indiana and probably across
The Midwest a neverending cavalcade of Jeremy’s
tromped the halls of high schools and middle schools,
newly-minted alternative schools and juvie halls,
they slung fast food in Arby’s and Wendy’s,
they went out wakeboarding on Winona Lake
with six Purple Passion beverages
for their sexually inexperienced teenaged admirers,
The Jeremy’s like an ooze, a blob, a Blob of Jeremy’s
oozing from the painted cinder blocks that led
from Math to Science to History to English,
the Jeremy’s oozing and creeping and
insinuating themselves into everything,
the scuttling Jeremy’s like cockroaches
gather and disperse, collect and scatter,
some of them hoisting up three pointers
under Friday Night Gymnasium Lights,
some of them pissed off beating cheap drum heads
in a rented parks department building playing a punk show,
the righteous Jeremy’s, the angry Jeremy’s,
the Jeremy’s of ubiquitous understated retort,
the ever present Jeremy’s, the Jeremy’s
of the kingdom the power and the glory
forever and ever amen, fumbling
with the bra strap of their Saturday dates
parked near the boat ramp at Carr Lake,
the Jeremy’s sitting at home staring at the wall
masturbating to full blast Danzig,
the horrible Jeremy’s, the terrible Jeremy’s,
the Jeremy’s like fascist soldiers goosestepping
their way door to door in Student Council community service
leaf raking, the Jeremy’s smoking marijuana seeds
from a jerry-rigged pipe of assembled miscellaneous hardware parts,
the Jeremy’s trying to stone themselves infertile
on a spacetrip into light,
the Jeremy’s escaping the basement via easement
to climb into the night, the Jeremy’s
walking the highway to Dad’s house high
on half a box of Dramamine with a Robitussin chaser,
the Jeremy’s with their never-stated questions,
the Jeremy’s with their quiet rage, their misunderstood
understanding, the Jeremy’s with their weary vows,
the Jeremy’s with the girlfriends they try hard
not to knock up, the useless Jeremy’s,
the ugly Jeremy’s, the Jeremy’s waiting
and waiting and waiting to get out.