George T. Mormann

barfly


Being a trucker, you take a small piece of someplace whenever you leave. In Detroit, a stray brick from the wall of a derelict factory where you used to deliver. In Sioux Falls, the plucked feather of a grouse that adorned your mesh cap and gave rise to your CB radio handle, Chief. In Reno, you caught the elusive barfly, whose life cycle had spanned the sweated rings of innumerable beer mugs, whose glazed eyes projected a million glints from the shade of stained glass windows, and who wandered into traffic, buzzed, to play chicken with you, the weary traveler.

One of Several Million People Driving to O’Hare

Sometimes I cannot handle the abruptness of contrast. There needs to be a larger gray area between my rooster cock-a-doodle-dooing at 5:30am and being honked at by a WASP in a Mercedes 4matic on I-294 at 6:35

…although I know this was good timing considering the construction delays.

I need at least a day’s notice before I have to immerse myself in everyone else’s fray. You can’t drag me out of the boondocks so easily anymore.

My chronic lower back pain disappeared in the therapeutic air of dried husks and manure; it stung me as soon as I craned my neck to read the tall signs and billboards.

Oh hell, Butch, even Joliet is too big anymore.

Too many lights on at night.

Bus Depot

Discarded tickets littering the lobby’s surface, lacquered below urine and soda, litanize a day’s worth of departures, cast unto the ground like lottery tickets devoid of escape or even a lousy refund. Blessed be the soul who takes to his hands and knees to scrape off the remnants of they who hold tight a sliver of hopefulness against the innumerable odds they accepted. They who paid for a chance. They who wished for streets where snow did not settle only to inhibit their feet. He scours the floor with his bare hands, hoping to discover an unused transfer towards paradise.

Youth, it is

a sandcastle
admired for a day,
abandoned to the
inevitable tide.
Photographs, like
grains of sand,
rouse the shallows
where memory wades.

a dollop chased out
of a jar of promises,
an arthritic swivel
of a fingertip
twisting counter-
clockwise against
the hands of time.

reclaimed in somber
remembrances
over a box of ash
filled before the age
of seventy.

The Crow’s Elegy

We hid in the sticks of a dying willow long stripped of her luster, gripping the ice left from an untimely winter carried across a pond we’d never seen. Here, we watched a white man shoot the last white buffalo we’d ever know. She limped towards the plain before the red, setting sun. Blades of tall grass caught her blood and tears, and the man trailed them wielding a long knife. When she fell, we sang for her and promised to carry her forever. From our wings we danced over her like crows. Not as a murder. As a tribe.