A TAPEWORM FOR ALL SEASONS
The creek beds loop back and forth
Seeming to knot themselves like intestines.
The bowels of the prairie,
Slowly digesting the countryside,
Gnawing at the banks, always getting a new angle;
A watery dog chewing on the land bone.
Agitating and tormenting the creek bottom,
Taking a sedimentary peace and making silt turmoil.
Creek innards, banking in a tapeworm for all seasons,
Feeding from, depleting the host, flushing cysts of this land to the Gulf.
COINS OF THE REALM
Perched up here at 30,000 feet,
The irrigated circles are spring gold-bronze
A Japanese 50 yen coin of ramen wheat there,
100 Icelandic kronas with fish on one side fed from here,
Finnish 5 Mark for the malting barley fermenting everywhere.
The farmed strips like multi-national bank notes
100 Rands of sorghum with a water buffalo on the front
1000 Thai bats of hay with two parents cowing to one another,
1,000, 000 Lira of soybeans Italian oil and vinegar to be.
What grows here goes to every destination in the world.
The proof is I see the notes and the coins of the realm.
Money grows not on trees;
It grows on Nebraska loam seas.
The coulee brush anchored in rushing spring blue ignites
Like a red fusee Roman candling to fanned flares of green.
The creek bottom in deep pink-blood rare red estrus,
The whole canyon like a stick person silent rock concert mob in heat.
Brush cane like red-hot pokers jab repeatedly, hissing and steaming
Into cascading, over and tumbled again, climaxing blue crevices.
The creek bed is a mass of 'right now becoming' pregnant brush,
A scarlet invitation to watch the gestation of the summer in Montana.
And I thought the sunset drive from Norris Junction to Bozeman
Was just a short cut I've driven now maybe thirty times in my mind.
I guess it's the voyeur in me.
Slide in the Direction of Make Believe*
Three Forks, an area, a town,
The Madison, Jefferson and Gallatin, tributaries,
Snake and slide and caucus together, stream delegates,
Eternal triangling, yet voted unanimously for the Missouri.
Havre, a straight town with only two directions--east and west.
Trains move in an out, hibernating briefly like grizzly bears.
Streets and avenues like a living pound sign hats the Bear Paws Mountains,
Like an upside down exclamation point at the end of a very good book.
Choteau and Duperior back nestle up against the Rockies,
Like lovers wary of size and strength, and
Fearful of the heat produced by an alcohol-ignited people
Trapped on the Browning reservation.
The facts and statistics of our lives like our Montana towns are boring.
To get to our hearts, we must
Slide in the direction of make believe.
*Inspired by a sentence in WOW, "Our stories slide in the direction of make believe"
High Desert Dance
The high desert is putting on today the first dance of spring.
The lights strobe slowly as the men cloud by.
The young women mountains ring the dance floor,
Their dresses hemmed with junipers hued with sage.
I am just a small boy today, admiring the men overhead
And looking up the varied skirts to glimpse things I have only imagined.
The birds starts directing the wind in the former dry lake bed,
Sections of land, an undulating dance floor pulse.
I keep beat with the left lane right lane highway shuffle,
My ears and heart have heard and been to this dance before.
It must be a top ten all-time hit
For souls that like High Desert Mountian Mind Rock.
Railroad Track Guitar
A single pair of steel strings wind up the Columbia Gorge,
Fanning out into a railroad track guitar.
I stand near the Stonehenge replica on the Washington side of the river,
Looking down, ready for the resonant concert in the Gorge.
A westbound like a long finger strums a hum with visual lyrics.
A song of moving steel beams, a building in wait for an erection,
Passengerless cars cruising the nights with phantom gas, and
Corn swelling like yellow clitorises in anticipation of being eaten in Shanghai.
An eastbound like a big base vibrates up river against gravity,
Timber raw with the pain of cut and coagulated drying,
Boxcars of Chardonnay, corks licking the slopping wine, and
Frozen fish where the dead become their own gravestones.
Some trains tuning sitting in the yard waiting their turn,
The boxcars, gondolas, flatcars like musical notes ready to be played,
Each train a new song, each stop a new band,
And I listen to the railroad track guitar- rock beds and rail roll.
Blue Forage in the Steens
A spring evening in the high desert
When storms clump and crush together.
Squalls erupt everywhere, white Brillo Pad sheep
Scrubbing and rubbing each other raw wet.
The huge sodden woollies shake themselves
As they forage over the Steens for spots of succulent blue.
The rain in shudders fall like skeins of Paynes-gray yarn
The rain slants, bunched, woven into a fabric colored calm-turmoil sky.
The wind shepherds the billowy sheep on and over
Eating all of the mountain peak and sky blue in sight.
I think of tomorrow when the sheep like sponges will be wrung out,
Their skeletons evaporated, nothing but blue forage left again in the