Steve Abbott

Two Poems

It's A Strange Day Alysia Says A Green

"It's a strange day," Alysia says, "A green
bug in my room & now this mushroom growing in the car."

She's right. Under damp newspapers & cigarette butts, from the floor, protrudes a slimy brown thing.

Maybe I should get a new car or at least clean it up, fix the windows like the kids say.

But how can I do this & still talk to angels?

Poets get absorbed in strange quests,
Question not the creative regiment of poverty.

I wanted to mediate on this but before I could a hitchhiker we pick up crushes the mushroom getting in.

Now the rain wants me I can tell by how
It licks & scratches at the window.

I get so tired of poems that look like this
But say absolutely nothing. Don't you?

There Is Something To Be Said for Making Love in Lincoln, Nebraska

     for Jeff Burling

After ten years running battle
I have sat down
to smoke peacepipe
with Nebraska.
A full silence floats
between us (here,
take another toke off the pipe.
Tell me again
of the buffalo you will bring down).

I grew up on this prairie too
like a weed.
The field where I played
cowboys after school
has become a swimming pool
cooling my restlessness.
I can go on walks now
and see where I am going.
I love that clump of girls
on the bridge
not needing to touch them
and I love
the eccentric maples that greet me
when I get off the bus
(even bus rides are more peaceful,
anger too having flattened out
in this spacious state).

At a party I meet you.
We smile.
Our conversation sails adventurously
like a football
between opposite goals.
We sit in the bleachers and cheer.
This is what some men
call love.
And maybe the dancing ghost of Sitting Bull
will bring us together.

Men have taken strange routes
to take root in the land.

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