Thursday, May 3, 2012

Iowa where Everyone is

'nobody goes to Iowa' he said - grinning a charm to stay put
while great plains and fields mid-west opened even more to draw me
spring trees flourished pretty danced and greened
masses of corn already cut or in places scorched were absent
pale yellow stalks short and as scratchy as the itch to travel

reminded of someone who rubbed his five o'clock shadow across my softness
as if trying to sand me down a few layers or determine difference
the landscape of our nakedness and Iowa's rolling fields could blend 
I rode a plane from Seattle then Atlanta, (yes Ma'am) peered out a curved window
could imagine we'd rolled those grasses and hedges with laughter

many the this and that messages we back and forthed deeply coloured with years
each various and then Julie and I wore the same frilly cardigans
an accident of sameness to prove we'd met in cyberspace as well as water
our conversations quenched doubt - then turned into dinners and earings
shandies with fried fish on a Friday in a Bettendorf tavern (and TV basketball)

in the Buffalo Bill Museum Julie explained she copied out the Gettysburg Address
(over and over we've lined and lined how schools can programme ennui)
while the man behind the counter put his hands behind his head and smiled
'this place was started by a group of local women, it's all donated....'
cases of guns and quilts beside life-size portraits of indians and sharpshooters

a postcard of Annie Oakley who Julie and I decided we would've been then
not women pounding laundry on rocks (they had a display about washing machines)
then a video showing the 200 plus cowboys and indians who re-enacted bang bang
Buffalo Bill organised and befriended his old enemies and pals to revive glories
we sat on a heavy wooden seat to watch as if in a church of entrepeneurship

Davenport as sweet as a greeting card or confectionery box with trees of squirrels
a woodpecker knock knocked one day while I walked uphill from a deli sandwich
stayed in a green Victorian bed and breakfast - walked into a work of art
electronic love arrived with more than letters and a weight of historic purpose
by a clock this family of bluebirds on the vintage wardrobe guarded my responses

then we parked in the driveway by Bert's black American muscle car - door open
he revved it later like an overture behind the sleek red 70s with white upholstery 
'so you'll have something to remember' but I recall him hammering a geode for me
piece of Iowa rock like a brain in my Cherokee medicine pouch I wear daily
taonga (treasure) south pacific - I carry part of their land, they own Aotearoa pounamu

we've shared the inside of our knowing and wishes as if swapping gloves or kisses
this strewn community of scribblers who pulled me closer with ropes of sentences
I could've sat there any day watching the sunset arrive or admiring plans in their ceiling
the wood-panel garage with pool table and beer a classic setting (echoed my dad)
stepped out of the obvious into a fairy tale with a furious blonde child to tell us off

and Dana held her finger steady on the line in my notebook about giving up drinking
while in a bar the most handsome stetson man with songs about roads, love and whisky
beside him a woman sang her curtains off til everyone's windows looked as clear as now
while I texted capitals to become someone's guidance counsellor since they're kidnapped
(such a liar) and the band played louder than the evening was dark so we rode the light home

Jo put a spider beside me and showed every twirly-gig of beaded lovely she'd made
on her porch later with two rare trees towering above - trunks like a giant elephant's legs
we agreed her magic would make my charm bracelet more a set of keys or music
and at the gas station on the way someone had placed a message to someone leaving town
so large black letters on the sign above the logo looked like the truth had been played

in the gingerbread house then where Miguel and Veronica care for a swirl of children
wished I'd brought flowers for respect to sprites who filled the rooms with shine
offered a book about bees and love - then we floated down to the cherry tree in blossom
ate Mexican food and drank tequila with grapefruit soda while laughing and Spanish
a solution discovered to the clues to a test to pass and our talk I turned into pictures

but almost first of all they drove me to the Miss - who rolled on by like an old aunty reclining
I grew so small it was like going back to be a toenail appearing oddly (born head-first)
my blessed mother I had to think then traipsed about pale rocks to touch the river water
three fingers into the drink and lots of shouting about insurance companies - smiles
Mississippi rolling books I've read through your shimmer and pull - o lovely finder and deep

we couldn't put everything into words since we've got our arms here other full of each
talk and sight and listen of us heaped higher into the countryside skies for a drive
'you have t'watch for the anvil-shaped cloud, it's just like that' Julie explained on one journey
when a tornado appears you have to leave the car - I asked to be sure and remember
she'd been in two and you need to get out and then underneath something like a bridge

at her brother's (all the 'things' she wanted to show me were people) we discussed cedar
on his lawn which cleansed waste from his house a recently felled ill tree left a large dirt circle
(creosote in cedar makes it hard to grown anything there when they're gone)
and he had on the wall of his man-cave Jim Morrison printed on silk with a black dog framed
then we searched the files of music to discover what Hendrix could tell us about chaos

gathered many hints about better give and take from these wise presenters - a flurry
as if warm snow fell to cover me in softness and mystery from words they'd clouded
forgive me my sentimentality but I've seen the glory of small town America and it is sweet
heaps of goodness placed outside doors to give away to charity each day are splendid
and a circling eagle by Galesburg railway station upon leaving sent me a vision of you

the artist said to me, 'good-bye an'you go and sing your song' so here I am with my voice back
no one may take things from me like they once did as if I were an abandoned shop store dummy
this is where my strength reappeared and gave me the electricity of a real woman with a wall
fine places we are going have placed upon them protective signs and good food supplied
here now let us plant the trees then dance amongst them singing of love and our beautiful

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