into the slow current

discovery of enveloped card
tucked into foodbag as i pack it away
and hold myself to my self-written rule
of not opening farewell things
until i am on my way
small boats of bundled men
in neon and black
on the morning water just past the dam
casting their lines into the slow current
remembering the spell gifted to me
on my last birthday (something like saying:
are you fucking kidding me? i’m 40 years old!
in situations where i need to remind myself
to ground/let go/get real)
and wishing i had recalled this mantra
how the sun does that thing
on water where its light lands
in a line that stretches across the
mississippi’s surface and seems to
end directly at me (and then,
continues to stay with our
point of contact as the train
curves and hurtles this body south)
helmeted workers in neon at milwaukee train station
(where it appears that perhaps some light rail tracks/stops
are being installed)
cutting metal and caulking stairways and
rising up and back down again
in the accordian-like scissor-lifts
young lady the conductor calls me
and announces chicago union station
in twenty two minutes
and i like thinking
how perhaps i’m pulling one over on him
regarding this whole young/age thing
the blessing of neon-orange ear plugs
worn in the audio assualt that is the
south amtrak gate in chicago
(the assualt includes: the blaring-tv,
the shout of announcements coming donw out of
a PA that is only four feet from our heads
in this low ceilinged room,
the wailing of a tortured-sounding child
going on for at least ten minutes – maybe fifteen –
and the sea-of-voices sound all around me
[phone conversations, neighbor conversations)
the blue-chained necklace memento
that isa hands me in the grand hall
where we sit on a pew-like bench for one
of our many train-station rendezvous
i’m ready to get off the hotbox
loudly calls out one woman
making her way down the aisle
parting from the rest of her
raucous friday-night-with-the-ladies crew
every moment i nod my head yes
while reading ta-nehisi coates’s
between the world and me
as if he was in the seat across from me
watching me agree/be blown-over
by what he’s saying
bouncing around tyler says about
he and cynthia’s travels/visits just
before we make the requisite (and still funny
as hell) dingleberry jokes
while we roll down roadkill highway
approaching the galloping ghost-dog at a curve
not farm from home
a word for returning to the deepest of familiar places
but having been gone for so long, the re-seeing is in
sharp focus (the hand-drawn calendar pages,
the still-kittenness of moonstar when she
shadow-slinks in front of me,
the musty/foody smells and clutteredness
of these well-used spaces,
the sweet shock of quiet,
the pierce of multitudes of stars
through night sky,
the imaginig of what this place might look like
through truly new eyes, say, of a visitor
swinging by sometime this july)


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