Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

About Hidden Things

It's the way you could no longer
hear the train on its rails
in the far off of the night
and the rain, it's the way
the rain sounded on that roof,
cooling summer.
It's the book you'd start again
each time, 'til you'd sleep.
It's the way you could sleep.
It's the way rusted iron
and old boards hid things.
It's about hidden things,
I'm pretty sure, and the way
you wanted to show somebody
the bright thing you found,
the way you were sure you could
fix it up and make it work again
and the way you thought you might.
it may be about hearing another train
at first light.
- Ralph Murre

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A Day In July

A Day in July

Why do I think of you two, now?
This hot day and your bones in cool loam
so long, it seems.
You, twins and I, a third musketeer
as we careened
through hot summers before.
Working . . . drinking.
You taking me from white bread
to fry bread.
I hear the council drum.
Working . . . drinking.
It’s concrete work. Building a bridge.
Old man Bultman driving us like slaves
that summer hot as this.
Working . . . drinking. Week-end
pow wow at Shawano and I, dating your sister.
Your dad, old Esau, quiet.
Liking me O.K., ‘til then.
And my ma - looking pretty liberal, ‘til then.
And me, backing off.
Less work . . . less drink . . . less sister.
And she to Alaska and you
working . . . drinking –
earning so early your places to settle down
in the cool of the earth.
And I,
unable to hear the drum,
do not weep.

- Ralph Murre 2005

from Crude Red Boat, Cross + Roads Press 2007

Friday, July 11, 2008

of pick-ups and prostheses

It’s not like I know you or anything,
but right now, I’ll bet you’re hoping
this is going to be the kind of poem
that talks about riding in the back
of my daddy’s Ford pick-up,
or the kind of poem that’s
about the peculiar odor
of my maiden aunt’s bedroom.
I’ll bet you’re really hoping
this will be about the way
autumn leaves remind me
of love in the woods, or
the way lying in a hammock
with you would be perfect (but, as I said.
it’s not like I know you or anything).
And, ohmygod, I’ll bet
you’re really, really hoping
this is NOT a poem about
the horrors of war, because
where in the hell is the poem in that?
Perhaps you’re hoping
it won’t be a poem at all,
maybe it will be a church bulletin
or a discount store flyer and
maybe it won’t be the poem
that mentions wars
and death and bad presidents
and shining prostheses.

Maybe, sometime,
it won’t be that poem.

- Ralph Murre