|Nebraska Center for Writers|
On the wall of the coffee shop is a map of the world|
with all the countries coffee comes from brightly colored,
and the names Tanzania, Malawi, Tongo, Jamaica
in white letters bobbing just offshore on the blue-green sea.
In the bread store there must be a map of the world
In the hospital, there's a map where plagues are pins
you should understand, in the divorce store.
In the chair store there's a map showing the location
In Orlando, Florida, someone is setting up chairs
a small surrealist object glowing all night.
In the sleeping store, there's a map of all the countries
NEBRASKA AL FRESCO
Every once in a while you look up
I was drinking a ten dollar glass of wine
at a white-painted metal table outdoors
going on behind a row of freshly painted
cars retired, primary colors of sky
beside a large white plastic fountain
gently recycling its burble and, near my foot,
duct-taped down to the historic pavement.
You know what I mean, depending on what
to see, your life a series of stage sets, some
pretty insubstantial, thin wobbly flats,
the sheet of thunder being flapped off-stage
by a kid who didn't get your part
and you were so impressed with yourself
you forgot to really learn any of the lines
with an empty phone, the auditorium breathless.
I love the words of the name red winged black bird|
though my philosopher daughter tells me descriptions
are not real names. And oh I know how the words fail,
turning bright blue prairie blossoms to Spiderwort
and grass, Indian grass or fig. Someone called it
"head with wings," in the round mouths of the Creek,
we wanted to be neutral as science and hence named
my 8th grade girlfriend's friends dared Jayne to say
Miss Hixon's joined Marcus Aurelius who joined,
"nothing is known" and who, anyway, wrote in Greek
In Mabel Hixon's Latin class, Gene sat heavily
wondering why he read, why he was even there.
planting food in Latin a union of onions,
the grains of corn gardeners first called maize,
that dies, Mabel and Marcus other people now.
te amo to the black bird with its red spot wing,