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Robert C Howard May 2014
The Rockies sing to us at sunrise

      when crystal snow-capped peaks
chant iridescent matins to the dawn,
      the dawn of a fresh new mountain day.

Luminous pastel clouds
     hover across the horizon
painting the hills and valleys below
     in mysterial shades of
lavendar, amber and rose.

The Rockies sing to us at daybreak
      when every crest and vale
unites in raising anthems to the dawn,
      The dawn of a bright new mountain morn.

Forests and fields awaken.
      A bull elk grazes by an alpine lake.
An eagle soars through the morning mist
      over rainbows of Indian paintbrush.
A hilltop lake spills over its rim
      and cascades down the *****
etching serpentine streams in the valley below.

We can hear the mountains singing.
      In every creature, ridge and flower
They bring to us their jublilant songs
      of wilderness, wildlife and wonder
.

We can hear the Rockies singing.

      The mountains sing forever!

*June, 2009
Included in Unity Tree - Collected poems
pub. CreateSpace - Amazon.com
FIRST DAY

1.
Who wanted me
to go to Chicago
on January 6th?
I did!

The night before,
20 below zero
Fahrenheit
with the wind chill;
as the blizzard of 99
lay in mountains
of blackening snow.

I packed two coats,
two suits,
three sweaters,
multiple sets of long johns
and heavy white socks
for a two-day stay.

I left from Newark.
**** the denseness,
it confounds!

The 2nd City to whom?
2nd ain’t bad.
It’s pretty good.
If you consider
Peking and Prague,
Tokyo and Togo,
Manchester and Moscow,
Port Au Prince and Paris,
Athens and Amsterdam,
Buenos Aries and Johannesburg;
that’s pretty good.

What’s going on here today?
It’s friggin frozen.
To the bone!

But Chi Town is still cool.
Buddy Guy’s is open.
Bartenders mixing drinks,
cabbies jamming on their breaks,
honey dew waitresses serving sugar,
buildings swerving,
fire tongued preachers are preaching
and the farmers are measuring the moon.

The lake,
unlike Ontario
is in the midst of freezing.
Bones of ice
threaten to gel
into a solid mass
over the expanse
of the Michigan Lake.
If this keeps up,
you can walk
clear to Toronto
on a silver carpet.

Along the shore
the ice is permanent.
It’s the first big frost
of winter
after a long
Indian Summer.

Thank God
I caught a cab.
Outside I hear
The Hawk
nippin hard.
It’ll get your ear,
finger or toe.
Bite you on the nose too
if you ain’t careful.

Thank God,
I’m not walking
the Wabash tonight;
but if you do cover up,
wear layers.

Chicago,
could this be
Sandburg’s City?

I’m overwhelmed
and this is my tenth time here.

It’s almost better,
sometimes it is better,
a lot of times it is better
and denser then New York.

Ask any Bull’s fan.
I’m a Knickerbocker.
Yes Nueva York,
a city that has placed last
in the standings
for many years.
Except the last two.
Yanks are # 1!

But Chicago
is a dynasty,
as big as
Sammy Sosa’s heart,
rich and wide
as Michael Jordan’s grin.

Middle of a country,
center of a continent,
smack dab in the mean
of a hemisphere,
vortex to a world,
Chicago!

Kansas City,
Nashville,
St. Louis,
Detroit,
Cleveland,
Pittsburgh,
Denver,
New Orleans,
Dallas,
Cairo,
Singapore,
Auckland,
Baghdad,
Mexico City
and Montreal
salute her.



2.
Cities,
A collection of vanities?
Engineered complex utilitarianism?
The need for community a social necessity?
Ego one with the mass?
Civilization’s latest *******?
Chicago is more then that.

Jefferson’s yeoman farmer
is long gone
but this capitol
of the Great Plains
is still democratic.

The citizen’s of this city
would vote daily,
if they could.

Chicago,
Sandburg’s Chicago,
Could it be?

The namesake river
segments the city,
canals of commerce,
all perpendicular,
is rife throughout,
still guiding barges
to the Mississippi
and St. Laurence.

Now also
tourist attractions
for a cafe society.

Chicago is really jazzy,
swanky clubs,
big steaks,
juices and drinks.

You get the best
coffee from Seattle
and the finest teas
from China.

Great restaurants
serve liquid jazz
al la carte.

Jazz Jazz Jazz
All they serve is Jazz
Rock me steady
Keep the beat
Keep it flowin
Feel the heat!

Jazz Jazz Jazz
All they is, is Jazz
Fast cars will take ya
To the show
Round bout midnight
Where’d the time go?

Flows into the Mississippi,
the mother of America’s rivers,
an empires aorta.

Great Lakes wonder of water.
Niagara Falls
still her heart gushes forth.

Buffalo connected to this holy heart.
Finger Lakes and Adirondacks
are part of this watershed,
all the way down to the
Delaware and Chesapeake.

Sandburg’s Chicago?
Oh my my,
the wonder of him.
Who captured the imagination
of the wonders of rivers.

Down stream other holy cities
from the Mississippi delta
all mapped by him.

Its mouth our Dixie Trumpet
guarded by righteous Cajun brethren.

Midwest?
Midwest from where?
It’s north of Caracas and Los Angeles,
east of Fairbanks,
west of Dublin
and south of not much.

Him,
who spoke of honest men
and loving women.
Working men and mothers
bearing citizens to build a nation.
The New World’s
precocious adolescent
caught in a stream
of endless and exciting change,
much pain and sacrifice,
dedication and loss,
pride and tribulations.

From him we know
all the people’s faces.
All their stories are told.
Never defeating the
idea of Chicago.

Sandburg had the courage to say
what was in the heart of the people, who:

Defeated the Indians,
Mapped the terrain,
Aided slavers,
Fought a terrible civil war,
Hoisted the barges,
Grew the food,
Whacked the wheat,
Sang the songs,
Fought many wars of conquest,
Cleared the land,
Erected the bridges,
Trapped the game,
Netted the fish,
Mined the coal,
Forged the steel,
Laid the tracks,
Fired the tenders,
Cut the stone,
Mixed the mortar,
Plumbed the line,
And laid the bricks
Of this nation of cities!

Pardon the Marlboro Man shtick.
It’s a poor expostulation of
crass commercial symbolism.

Like I said, I’m a
Devil Fan from Jersey
and Madison Avenue
has done its work on me.

It’s a strange alchemy
that changes
a proud Nation of Blackhawks
into a merchandising bonanza
of hometown hockey shirts,
making the native seem alien,
and the interloper at home chillin out,
warming his feet atop a block of ice,
guzzling Old Style
with clicker in hand.

Give him his beer
and other diversions.
If he bowls with his buddy’s
on Tuesday night
I hope he bowls
a perfect game.

He’s earned it.
He works hard.
Hard work and faith
built this city.

And it’s not just the faith
that fills the cities
thousand churches,
temples and
mosques on the Sabbath.

3.
There is faith in everything in Chicago!

An alcoholic broker named Bill
lives the Twelve Steps
to banish fear and loathing
for one more day.
Bill believes in sobriety.

A tug captain named Moe
waits for the spring thaw
so he can get the barges up to Duluth.
Moe believes in the seasons.

A farmer named Tom
hopes he has reaped the last
of many bitter harvests.
Tom believes in a new start.

A homeless man named Earl
wills himself a cot and a hot
at the local shelter.
Earl believes in deliverance.

A Pullman porter
named George
works overtime
to get his first born
through medical school.
George believes in opportunity.

A folk singer named Woody
sings about his
countrymen inheritance
and implores them to take it.
Woody believes in people.

A Wobbly named Joe
organizes fellow steelworkers
to fight for a workers paradise
here on earth.
Joe believes in ideals.

A bookkeeper named Edith
is certain she’ll see the Cubs
win the World Series
in her lifetime.
Edith believes in miracles.

An electrician named ****
saves money
to bring his family over from Gdansk.
**** believes in America.

A banker named Leah
knows Ditka will return
and lead the Bears
to another Super Bowl.
Leah believes in nostalgia.

A cantor named Samuel
prays for another 20 years
so he can properly train
his Temple’s replacement.

Samuel believes in tradition.
A high school girl named Sally
refuses to get an abortion.
She knows she carries
something special within her.
Sally believes in life.

A city worker named Mazie
ceaselessly prays
for her incarcerated son
doing 10 years at Cook.
Mazie believes in redemption.

A jazzer named Bix
helps to invent a new art form
out of the mist.
Bix believes in creativity.

An architect named Frank
restores the Rookery.
Frank believes in space.

A soldier named Ike
fights wars for democracy.
Ike believes in peace.

A Rabbi named Jesse
sermonizes on Moses.
Jesse believes in liberation.

Somewhere in Chicago
a kid still believes in Shoeless Joe.
The kid believes in
the integrity of the game.

An Imam named Louis
is busy building a nation
within a nation.
Louis believes in
self-determination.

A teacher named Heidi
gives all she has to her students.
She has great expectations for them all.
Heidi believes in the future.

4.
Does Chicago have a future?

This city,
full of cowboys
and wildcatters
is predicated
on a future!

Bang, bang
Shoot em up
Stake the claim
It’s your terrain
Drill the hole
Strike it rich
Top it off
You’re the boss
Take a chance
Watch it wane
Try again
Heavenly gains

Chicago
city of futures
is a Holy Mecca
to all day traders.

Their skin is gray,
hair disheveled,
loud ties and
funny coats,
thumb through
slips of paper
held by nail
chewed hands.
Selling promises
with no derivative value
for out of the money calls
and in the money puts.
Strike is not a labor action
in this city of unionists,
but a speculators mark,
a capitalist wish,
a hedgers bet,
a public debt
and a farmers
fair return.

Indexes for everything.
Quantitative models
that could burst a kazoo.

You know the measure
of everything in Chicago.
But is it truly objective?
Have mathematics banished
subjective intentions,
routing it in fair practice
of market efficiencies,
a kind of scientific absolution?

I heard that there
is a dispute brewing
over the amount of snowfall
that fell on the 1st.

The mayor’s office,
using the official city ruler
measured 22”
of snow on the ground.

The National Weather Service
says it cannot detect more
then 17” of snow.

The mayor thinks
he’ll catch less heat
for the trains that don’t run
the buses that don’t arrive
and the schools that stand empty
with the addition of 5”.

The analysts say
it’s all about capturing liquidity.

Liquidity,
can you place a great lake
into an eyedropper?

Its 20 below
and all liquid things
are solid masses
or a gooey viscosity at best.

Water is frozen everywhere.
But Chi town is still liquid,
flowing faster
then the digital blips
flashing on the walls
of the CBOT.

Dreams
are never frozen in Chicago.
The exchanges trade
without missing a beat.

Trading wet dreams,
the crystallized vapor
of an IPO
pledging a billion points
of Internet access
or raiding the public treasuries
of a central bank’s
huge stores of gold
with currency swaps.

Using the tools
of butterfly spreads
and candlesticks
to achieve the goal.

Short the Russell
or buy the Dow,
go long the
CAC and DAX.
Are you trading in euro’s?
You better be
or soon will.
I know
you’re Chicago,
you’ll trade anything.
WEBS,
Spiders,
and Leaps
are traded here,
along with sweet crude,
North Sea Brent,
plywood and T-Bill futures;
and most importantly
the commodities,
the loam
that formed this city
of broad shoulders.

What about our wheat?
Still whacking and
breadbasket to the world.

Oil,
an important fossil fuel
denominated in
good ole greenbacks.

Porkbellies,
not just hogwash
on the Wabash,
but bacon, eggs
and flapjacks
are on the menu
of every diner in Jersey
as the “All American.”

Cotton,
our contribution
to the Golden Triangle,
once the global currency
used to enrich a
gentlemen class
of cultured
southern slavers,
now Tommy Hilfiger’s
preferred fabric.

I think he sends it
to Bangkok where
child slaves
spin it into
gold lame'.

Sorghum,
I think its hardy.

Soybeans,
the new age substitute
for hamburger
goes great with tofu lasagna.

Corn,
ADM creates ethanol,
they want us to drive cleaner cars.

Cattle,
once driven into this city’s
bloodhouses for slaughter,
now ground into
a billion Big Macs
every year.

When does a seed
become a commodity?
When does a commodity
become a future?
When does a future expire?

You can find the answers
to these questions in Chicago
and find a fortune in a hole in the floor.

Look down into the pits.
Hear the screams of anguish
and profitable delights.

Frenzied men
swarming like a mass
of epileptic ants
atop the worlds largest sugar cube
auger the worlds free markets.

The scene is
more chaotic then
100 Haymarket Square Riots
multiplied by 100
1968 Democratic Conventions.

Amidst inverted anthills,
they scurry forth and to
in distinguished
black and red coats.

Fighting each other
as counterparties
to a life and death transaction.

This is an efficient market
that crosses the globe.

Oil from the Sultan of Brunei,
Yen from the land of Hitachi,
Long Bonds from the Fed,
nickel from Quebec,
platinum and palladium
from Siberia,
FTSE’s from London
and crewel cane from Havana
circle these pits.

Tijuana,
Shanghai
and Istanbul's
best traders
are only half as good
as the average trader in Chicago.

Chicago,
this hog butcher to the world,
specializes in packaging and distribution.

Men in blood soaked smocks,
still count the heads
entering the gates of the city.

Their handiwork
is sent out on barges
and rail lines as frozen packages
of futures
waiting for delivery
to an anonymous counterparty
half a world away.

This nation’s hub
has grown into the
premier purveyor
to the world;
along all the rivers,
highways,
railways
and estuaries
it’s tentacles reach.

5.
Sandburg’s Chicago,
is a city of the world’s people.

Many striver rows compose
its many neighborhoods.

Nordic stoicism,
Eastern European orthodoxy
and Afro-American
calypso vibrations
are three of many cords
strumming the strings
of Chicago.

Sandburg’s Chicago,
if you wrote forever
you would only scratch its surface.

People wait for trains
to enter the city from O’Hare.
Frozen tears
lock their eyes
onto distant skyscrapers,
solid chunks
of snot blocks their nose
and green icicles of slime
crust mustaches.
They fight to breathe.

Sandburg’s Chicago
is The Land of Lincoln,
Savior of the Union,
protector of the Republic.
Sent armies
of sons and daughters,
barges, boxcars,
gunboats, foodstuffs,
cannon and shot
to raze the south
and stamp out succession.

Old Abe’s biography
are still unknown volumes to me.
I must see and read the great words.
You can never learn enough;
but I’ve been to Washington
and seen the man’s memorial.
The Free World’s 8th wonder,
guarded by General Grant,
who still keeps an eye on Richmond
and a hand on his sword.

Through this American winter
Abe ponders.
The vista he surveys is dire and tragic.

Our sitting President
impeached
for lying about a *******.

Party partisans
in the senate are sworn and seated.
Our Chief Justice,
adorned with golden bars
will adjudicate the proceedings.
It is the perfect counterpoint
to an ageless Abe thinking
with malice toward none
and charity towards all,
will heal the wounds
of the nation.

Abe our granite angel,
Chicago goes on,
The Union is strong!


SECOND DAY

1.
Out my window
the sun has risen.

According to
the local forecast
its minus 9
going up to
6 today.

The lake,
a golden pillow of clouds
is frozen in time.

I marvel
at the ancients ones
resourcefulness
and how
they mastered
these extreme elements.

Past, present and future
has no meaning
in the Citadel
of the Prairie today.

I set my watch
to Central Standard Time.

Stepping into
the hotel lobby
the concierge
with oil smooth hair,
perfect tie
and English lilt
impeccably asks,
“Do you know where you are going Sir?
Can I give you a map?”

He hands me one of Chicago.
I see he recently had his nails done.
He paints a green line
along Whacker Drive and says,
“turn on Jackson, LaSalle, Wabash or Madison
and you’ll get to where you want to go.”
A walk of 14 or 15 blocks from Streeterville-
(I start at The Chicago White House.
They call it that because Hillary Rodham
stays here when she’s in town.
Its’ also alleged that Stedman
eats his breakfast here
but Opra
has never been seen
on the premises.
I wonder how I gained entry
into this place of elite’s?)
-down into the center of The Loop.

Stepping out of the hotel,
The Doorman
sporting the epaulets of a colonel
on his corporate winter coat
and furry Cossack hat
swaddling his round black face
accosts me.

The skin of his face
is flaking from
the subzero windburn.

He asks me
with a gapped toothy grin,
“Can I get you a cab?”
“No I think I’ll walk,” I answer.
“Good woolen hat,
thick gloves you should be alright.”
He winks and lets me pass.

I step outside.
The Windy City
flings stabbing cold spears
flying on wings of 30-mph gusts.
My outside hardens.
I can feel the freeze
deepen
into my internalness.
I can’t be sure
but inside
my heart still feels warm.
For how long
I cannot say.

I commence
my walk
among the spires
of this great city,
the vertical leaps
that anchor the great lake,
holding its place
against the historic
frigid assault.

The buildings’ sway,
modulating to the blows
of natures wicked blasts.

It’s a hard imposition
on a city and its people.

The gloves,
skullcap,
long underwear,
sweater,
jacket
and overcoat
not enough
to keep the cold
from penetrating
the person.

Like discerning
the layers of this city,
even many layers,
still not enough
to understand
the depth of meaning
of the heart
of this heartland city.

Sandburg knew the city well.
Set amidst groves of suburbs
that extend outward in every direction.
Concentric circles
surround the city.
After the burbs come farms,
Great Plains, and mountains.
Appalachians and Rockies
are but mere molehills
in the city’s back yard.
It’s terra firma
stops only at the sea.
Pt. Barrow to the Horn,
many capes extended.

On the periphery
its appendages,
its extremities,
its outward extremes.
All connected by the idea,
blown by the incessant wind
of this great nation.
The Windy City’s message
is sent to the world’s four corners.
It is a message of power.
English the worlds
common language
is spoken here,
along with Ebonics,
Espanol,
Mandarin,
Czech,
Russian,
Korean,
Arabic,
Hindi­,
German,
French,
electronics,
steel,
cars,
cartoons,
rap,
sports­,
movies,
capital,
wheat
and more.

Always more.
Much much more
in Chicago.

2.
Sandburg
spoke all the dialects.

He heard them all,
he understood
with great precision
to the finest tolerances
of a lathe workers micrometer.

Sandburg understood
what it meant to laugh
and be happy.

He understood
the working mans day,
the learned treatises
of university chairs,
the endless tomes
of the city’s
great libraries,
the lost languages
of the ancient ones,
the secret codes
of abstract art,
the impact of architecture,
the street dialects and idioms
of everymans expression of life.

All fighting for life,
trying to build a life,
a new life
in this modern world.

Walking across
the Michigan Avenue Bridge
I see the Wrigley Building
is neatly carved,
catty cornered on the plaza.

I wonder if Old Man Wrigley
watched his barges
loaded with spearmint
and double-mint
move out onto the lake
from one of those Gothic windows
perched high above the street.

Would he open a window
and shout to the men below
to quit slaking and work harder
or would he
between the snapping sound
he made with his mouth
full of his chewing gum
offer them tickets
to a ballgame at Wrigley Field
that afternoon?

Would the men below
be able to understand
the man communing
from such a great height?

I listen to a man
and woman conversing.
They are one step behind me
as we meander along Wacker Drive.

"You are in Chicago now.”
The man states with profundity.
“If I let you go
you will soon find your level
in this city.
Do you know what I mean?”

No I don’t.
I think to myself.
What level are you I wonder?
Are you perched atop
the transmission spire
of the Hancock Tower?

I wouldn’t think so
or your ears would melt
from the windburn.

I’m thinking.
Is she a kept woman?
She is majestically clothed
in fur hat and coat.
In animal pelts
not trapped like her,
but slaughtered
from farms
I’m sure.

What level
is he speaking of?

Many levels
are evident in this city;
many layers of cobbled stone,
Pennsylvania iron,
Hoosier Granite
and vertical drops.

I wonder
if I detect
condensation
in his voice?

What is
his intention?
Is it a warning
of a broken affair?
A pending pink slip?
Advise to an addict
refusing to adhere
to a recovery regimen?

What is his level anyway?
Is he so high and mighty,
Higher and mightier
then this great city
which we are all a part of,
which we all helped to build,
which we all need
in order to keep this nation
the thriving democratic
empire it is?

This seditious talk!

3.
The Loop’s El
still courses through
the main thoroughfares of the city.

People are transported
above the din of the street,
looking down
on the common pedestrians
like me.

Super CEO’s
populating the upper floors
of Romanesque,
Greek Revivalist,
New Bauhaus,
Art Deco
and Post Nouveau
Neo-Modern
Avant-Garde towers
are too far up
to see me
shivering on the street.

The cars, busses,
trains and trucks
are all covered
with the film
of rock salt.

Salt covers
my bootless feet
and smudges
my cloths as well.

The salt,
the primal element
of the earth
covers everything
in Chicago.

It is the true level
of this city.

The layer
beneath
all layers,
on which
everything
rests,
is built,
grows,
thrives
then dies.
To be
returned again
to the lower
layers
where it can
take root
again
and grow
out onto
the great plains.

Splashing
the nation,
anointing
its people
with its
blessing.

A blessing,
Chicago?

All rivers
come here.

All things
found its way here
through the canals
and back bays
of the world’s
greatest lakes.

All roads,
rails and
air routes
begin and
end here.

Mrs. O’Leary’s cow
got a *** rap.
It did not start the fire,
we did.

We lit the torch
that flamed
the city to cinders.
From a pile of ash
Chicago rose again.

Forever Chicago!
Forever the lamp
that burns bright
on a Great Lake’s
western shore!

Chicago
the beacon
sends the
message to the world
with its windy blasts,
on chugging barges,
clapping trains,
flying tandems,
T1 circuits
and roaring jets.

Sandburg knew
a Chicago
I will never know.

He knew
the rhythm of life
the people walked to.
The tools they used,
the dreams they dreamed
the songs they sang,
the things they built,
the things they loved,
the pains that hurt,
the motives that grew,
the actions that destroyed
the prayers they prayed,
the food they ate
their moments of death.

Sandburg knew
the layers of the city
to the depths
and windy heights
I cannot fathom.

The Blues
came to this city,
on the wing
of a chirping bird,
on the taps
of a rickety train,
on the blast
of an angry sax
rushing on the wind,
on the Westend blitz
of Pop's brash coronet,
on the tink of
a twinkling piano
on a paddle-wheel boat
and on the strings
of a lonely man’s guitar.

Walk into the clubs,
tenements,
row houses,
speakeasies
and you’ll hear the Blues
whispered like
a quiet prayer.

Tidewater Blues
from Virginia,
Delta Blues
from the lower
Mississippi,
Boogie Woogie
from Appalachia,
Texas Blues
from some Lone Star,
Big Band Blues
from Kansas City,
Blues from
Beal Street,
Jelly Roll’s Blues
from the Latin Quarter.

Hell even Chicago
got its own brand
of Blues.

Its all here.
It ended up here
and was sent away
on the winds of westerly blows
to the ear of an eager world
on strong jet streams
of simple melodies
and hard truths.

A broad
shouldered woman,
a single mother stands
on the street
with three crying babes.
Their cloths
are covered
in salt.
She pleads
for a break,
praying
for a new start.
Poor and
under-clothed
against the torrent
of frigid weather
she begs for help.
Her blond hair
and ****** features
suggests her
Scandinavian heritage.
I wonder if
she is related to Sandburg
as I walk past
her on the street.
Her feet
are bleeding
through her
canvass sneakers.
Her babes mouths
are zipped shut
with frozen drivel
and mucous.

The Blues live
on in Chicago.

The Blues
will forever live in her.
As I turn the corner
to walk the Miracle Mile
I see her engulfed
in a funnel cloud of salt,
snow and bits
of white paper,
swirling around her
and her children
in an angry
unforgiving
maelstrom.

The family
begins to
dissolve
like a snail
sprinkled with salt;
and a mother
and her children
just disappear
into the pavement
at the corner
of Dearborn,
in Chicago.

Music:

Robert Johnson
Sweet Home Chicago


jbm
Chicago
1/7/99
Added today to commemorate the birthday of Carl Sandburg
Jim Davis  Apr 2017
Touching
Jim Davis Apr 2017
In the last
three decades,
after we became one,
I touched
amazingly beautiful things,
horribly ugly things,  
unbelievably wondrous things

I touched nature's majesty;
hued walls of the Grand Canyon,              
crusty bark of the
Redwoods and Sequoias,
live corals of the
Great Barrier Reef,
dreamlike sandstone of the Wave

I touched magical and strange;
platypus, koalas and
kangaroos Down Under,
underwater alkali flies and
lacustrine tufa at Mono Lake,
astral glowing worms
in the Kawiti caves

I touched holy places;
Christianity's oldest churches,
the Pope's home in the Vatican,
Hindu and Sikh temples and
Moslem mosques in India,
Anasazi's kivas of Chaco canyon,
Aboriginal rocks of Uluru and Kata Tjuta

I touched glimmers of civilization;
uncovered roads of Pompeii,
fighting arenas of Rome,
terra cotta armies of Xian,
sharp stone points of the Apache,
pottery shards from the Navajo,
petroglyphs by the Jornada Mogollon

I touched fantastical things;
winds blowing on the
steppes of Patagonia,,
playas and craters of Death Valley,  
high peaks of the Continental Divide,
blazing white sands of the  
Land of Enchantment

I touched icons of liberty
and freedom;
the defended Alamo,
a fissured Liberty Bell,
an embracing Statue of Liberty,
the harbor of Checkpoints
Alpha, Bravo, and Charlie

I touched glorious things
made by man;
the monstrous Hoover Dam,
an exquisite Eiffel tower,
a soaring St Louis Arch,
an Art deco Empire State Building,
the sublime Golden Gate Bridge

I touched sparks from history;
the running path of an
Olympic flame just off Bourbon,
the last steps of Mohandas Ghandi
at Birla House before Godse,
******'s Eagle's nest and the
grounds over Der Führerbunker

I touched walls of power;
enclosed rings of the Pentagon,
steep steps of the
Great Wall of China,
untried bastions of
Peter and Paul's fortress,
fitted boulders of Machu Picchu

I touched strong hands;
of those conquering
Rommel's and ******'s hordes,
of cold warriors of
Chosin Reservoir,  
of forgotten soldiers of Vietnam,
of terrorist killers of today

I touched memories of war;
the somber Vietnam memorial,
the glorious Iwo Jima statue,
the cold slabs at Arlington,
the buried tomb of USS Arizonians,
Volgograd's Mother Russia  

I touched ugly things;
shreds of light in
Port Arthur's prison,
horrible smelly dust
in the streets from 9/11,
ash impregnated dirt
in the pits at Auschwitz

I touched oppressed freedom;
open ****** plazas
of Tiananmen Square,
smooth pipe and concrete
of the Berlin Wall,  
tall red brick walls
of the Moscow Kremlin

I touched constrained freedom;
heavy ankle and
wrist slave chains
in the South,
little windows
in Berlin's Stasi prison,
haunted cells in Alcatraz  

I touched remnants of madness;
wire and ovens of Auschwitz,
stacked chimneys and
wooden bunks of Birkenau,        
Ravensbruck, and Dachau,
the tomb of Lenin,
toppled Stalins

I touched hands of survivors;
of Leningrad's siege,
of German POWs and
of Russian fighters
of Stalingrad's battle,
of Cancer's scourges  

I touched grand things;
deep waters of the Pacific and Atlantic,
blue hills of Appalachia,
towering peaks of the Rockies,
high falls of Yosemite Valley,
bursting geysers of Yellowstone,
crashing glaciers of Antarctica and Alaska    

I touched times of adventure;
abseiling and zipping in Costa Rica,
packing Pecos wilds and Padre isles,
flying nap of earth Hueys to Meridian,
breaking arms in JRTC's box,
fighting Abu Sayyaf, and Jemaah
Islami in Zamboanga City

I touched through you;
wet sand beaches of  Mexico and Jamaica,
mysterious energy of the monoliths of Stonehenge,
rarefied air in front of the
Louvre's Mona Lisa,
ancient wonders of Giza,
Egypt's tombs and pyramids

We shared soft touches;
drifting in Bora Bora's
surreal waters,
joining hands camel trekking the
Outback's dry sands,
strolling along Tasmania's
eucalyptus forest trails

basking in swinging hammocks
under Fiji's bright sun,
scrambling in
Las Vegas' glittering and
red rock canyons,
kissing under the
Taj Mahal's symphony of arches

We shared touching deep waters;
propelled in gondolas
through the city of canals,
Drifting atop Uru cat boats on Lake Titticaca,
Swooping in jet boats
up a wild river in Talkeetna

Racing in speed boats
around Sydney's great harbour,
skimming in pangas in Puerto Ayora,
paddling the Kennebec for
East's best petroglyphs,
cruising Salzbergwerk's underwater lake

We touched scrumptious things;
Beignets and chicory coffee at DuMonde's in the Big Easy,
Hot *** with sesame sauce
in the walled city of Xian,
Peking duck, dimsum, scorpions,
snake and starfish on Wangfujing Snack Street

We touched delicious things
Crawfish heads and tails at JuJu's shack
and ten years at Jeanette's,
Langoustine at Poinciana's, Fjöruborðinus and Galapagos,
Cream cheese and loch bagels
at Ess-a' s in the Big Apple

I touched your hand riding;
hang loose waves of Waikiki,
a big green bus in Denali's awesomeness,
clip clopping carriages of Vienna, Paris,
Prague, New Orleans, Krakow,
Quebec City, and Zakopane,
the acapella sugar train of St Kitts

We shared touching on paths;
the highway 1 of Big Sur,
the Road of the Great Ocean,
the bahn to Buda and Pest,
the path to the North of Maine,
the trail of the Hoh rainforest,
and time after time, the way home

Yet,
I could spend
the next three decades,
in simple bliss,
having need for
touching nothing,
other than you!

©  2016 Jim Davis
A poem I wrote last year for my wife!  Posted now since it matches the HP' theme for today - "Places"
Kendall Mallon Dec 2013
‘Allowed Rockies, I understand the empyrean choice
for Olympus—why Jove barred all mortals from knowing the wondrous
high atop a peak—the clear air—thin crisp, ever present
breeze that cuts through the body.
                                                           ­   Heracles—transcender from human
to god; immortal fire setting his mortal flesh to ash
to scatter into the dirt so he may sit high upon
deathless Olympus—above man and woman. As the Rockies
stand above the new world—unlike Olympus, the Rockies stand
indiff’rent to the affairs of men and women.
                                                          ­                    Heracles—
who in wake of Asia’s venture to the cave where the protean
spawn of Jove’s lust upon Thetis befell to veil—unbinds
humanity’s one true immortal patron: Prometheus—
whose only want, and whose only single fault: bestow upon
humanity immortal fire—the spark to enlighten
mental parity with gods.
                                             Embers that burst to flame in the
heart and mind of such a fiery thinker as Zarathustra:
who taught to go over not under—over humanity,
transcend the status quo—climb! Rise above—where the
crisp clean air can whisk away the smog of congestion—congestion
of thought—congestion in all form. Zarathustra who showed
us the bellows to fuel our Promethean gift.
                                                           ­                  For the
Rockies are not ephemeral; they will stand tall long after
humans are gone; fire will raze their trees without human prevention;
like Heracles, the flames will only burn mortal evergreen
flesh to ash, and the mountains will endure immortal—from that
ash, that darkness life will arise as it always has for millennia.
A revision of Scarcely Does Humanity Understand the Beauty of Mountain Air and Fire
springtime in the rockies is filled with such delight
eagles fly round moutain tops such a lovely sight
mountains you can climb underneath the sun
climbing oh so high having lots of fun
lots of different things there for you to do
lots of lovely sights there for you to view
there are  grizzly bear and the elk and moose
coyote and the deer running free and loose
lots of different creatures the greenback toad and trout
lots of things in ponds swimming all about
such a lovely place with lots of things to see
springtime in the rockies is where i long to be
snow falls on the rockies in the mountains high
falling all so gently floating in the sky
trees are standing tall on the forest floor
its that time of year christmas time once more
children in the valley enjoying christmas day
building  lots of snowmen playing on there sleigh
people having fun with a snowball fight
having lots of fun filled up with  delight
looking at the picture that the rockies set
its a sight that you remember and one you  wont forget
Dead Rose One Mar 2015
In The Prison Of Winter, No Rise, No Set**

orbit nearly closed,
the radio announcer gleefully
chirruping, the twittering fool,
"only ** graves to X off till
                                               spring"

the weight of the prior
the wait of the more
no matter how little
yet to come
                    too much insufferable

having suffered
multiple life sentences
you snit ****, u don't know better,
ha, they don't even run
                                         concurrently


there are no sunsets
in the girding grays
of harsher enough and words that fail me,
are the winners in the
winter of the ****,
tests and hunts,
I have successfully
                                 failed

of course I'm wrong you
petulant hobgoblin wringing
nyet from me you'll get no concession,
**** science,
there are no sunsets in the winter
and the sunrises,
short unsweetened,
light-less, less of less,
frigid glaring revealers
of dead trees
and deader
                    men

maybe in the Rockies,
perhaps the Alps,
wonderlands photoshopped,
pretty lies on the Internet BS posted

where I live,
wear the wear the weary
neath the sweat stink of layers of
unbundled choking hands,
winter's damage
assessed and assessment is
never overdue, payable in
                                             immediacy

heating bills I can't pay,
a job that said no more of you,
unpretty please,
a woman who sorcerer-scarced herself
right freaking black magic quick,
trust me I have certified verified,
me and Nixon,
X's on the kitchen calendar,
there is daylight, there is mighty night,
almighty in long and colorless
and nothing in between,
but the smog stained slush of
                                                    smothered life

but definitely
no sunrises and no sunsets
watched all day from the
imprisoning kitchen window
which doubles
as a *******
                       mirror

there are no, not any,
you know what,
cannot even say them,
the pipe dreams of better yet,
pipes that have beaten down
me and my
disassociated senses,
signed sealed and now delivered,
from the formerly known as
The Summer Man
Tom McCubbin Apr 2015
In my little-boy town up north
rivers were not yet plugged.
Poled men came down and watched
for silvered flashes.

Pink would be inside and make
a mouth want to melt it down.
The river power we would sing
Guthrie-style in grade school,

how rolling power and darkness
were misaligned, how wild
river and light was such empty logic,
and little boys learn to forget.

In school, where poor men send
the next young nation, a new
nation conceived in hydrodamnation
and simple salmon ******.

Little boy rain from Rockies
going near my door, and whipped
whirlpools spinning funnels of
quick deadening swim traps,

so stay so far from bad river,
doing nothing more than
running off to sea. Stay near shore
and enjoy the new electricity.
Robert C Howard Mar 2015
On a stage too vast for frame or shutter
    an alabaster sphere trails the fading sun
        reflected on the waves and troughs of Estes Lake,
            and reigns supreme above the snow-capped Rockies.

Two white globes - one of gas the other rock
         softly dance around a bluish one.

*March, 2012
Included in Unity Tree - Collected poems
pub. CreateSpace - Amazon.com
It's a **** count down on Rockies ranch
Rock's got the list
and Clancy's got the **** counter
listen to Rock sing his favorite song
good old Cockity ****
to see how many heads pop up
time is a ticking
counting all those chickens
so cockity ****
get them heads up
my lovely *****


By Christos Andreas Kourtis aka NeonSolaris
RAJ NANDY Jul 2015
Dear Friends, I have simplified the true story of
the Grand Canyon of Arizona by leaving out the
plethora of scientific details, & the various theories
of scholars about its formation! Presenting here the
more popular version for your kind appreciation!
Therefore, I have used only a part of my Notes on
the subject. Kindly don’t forget to read Part Two
later, for the total story. No need to comment in
a hurry! Thanks, -Raj.

STORY OF THE GRAND CANYON IN
VERSE : PART ONE- BY RAJ NANDY

              BACKGROUND
Our unique planet earth on which we reside,
Remains restless and dynamic, which in its
bowels it hides!
Titanic forces have been at work since our planets
formation; (App. 4.5 billion years ago)
Tectonic plates collided shaping continents,
along with quakes and volcanic eruptions!
Mighty glaciers had formed and receded, while
forces of nature did shape,
When mighty Himalayas and the Rockies rose
up, as we see them on date!
Several species evolved and of multifarious kind,
Leaving a trail of geological mysteries behind!
Geologists have tried to figure out what caused
the rugged Rockies to rise,
From miles below the surface of the earth,
stretching across 3000 miles;
Across New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming and
Montana, all the way up into North Canada;
To become the longest mountain chain of
North America!
The Geologists speculate that the heavier
Pacific Oceanic Plate, had moved northwest
under the North American Plate;
And as a result of this geological seduction
and embrace,
A split had opened up in the American West!
Such mountain building activity or ‘Orogeny’,
Had occurred in several phases during Earth’s
evolving history!
But mostly it occurred during the ‘Age of the
Dinosaurs’ in the Mesozoic Age,
Around 100 to 200 million years hence!
Now cutting across million years of Geological
History,
I come to the Colorado Plateau to commence
my Grand Canyon Story!

THE COLORADO PLATEAU
The awesome forces which raised the Rocky
Mountain Chains, also raised the Colorado
Plateau at a later time once again!
But during the Plateau’s gradual rise there was
surprisingly no devastation,
As the well preserved sedimentary layers rose
up with the Plateau without deformation!
Like an elevator traveling upwards this Plateau
gradually rose,
Along with its several embedded rock layers,
with which it was composed!
The Plateau is scattered over an area of some
1300,000 square mile as we know;
Going clockwise it covers Arizona, Utah, Colorado,
and the State of New Mexico!
Within this rugged area are located the Grand
Canyon, Grand Staircase, Bryce and Zion Canyon,
Arches, National Bridges, Monument Valley,
Glen Canyon, and Lake Powell.
It was Major John Wesley Powell a Geologist,
a brave solder and an explorer,
Who during the 19th century had mapped the
entire Grand Canyon area;
By sailing down the treacherous rapid infested
and uncharted Colorado River!
During the American Civil War Powell’s right
hand was amputated,
God bless his soul for the work he had initiated!
(
The area from Bryce Canyon down to the Grand Canyon
is referred to as the ‘Grand Staircase’ due to the existing
land features!)

THE SOUTHERN RIM OF THE PLATEAU
Standing near the edge of more easily accessible
Southern Rim, one gets captivated by the sculptured
beauty and brilliant colors of sedimentary rock layers;
Which also captivated the imagination of tourists,
geologists, painters and explorers!
Geologists have opined, that till 80 million years, this
area was inundated by the Sea several times;
By dating the limestone and marine fossils on the
top Kaibab Limestone Layer they now find!
The lowest rock basement of this Plateau the
Vishnu Schist, dated as a third of our Earth’s
total age, still exists! (Dated as 1.5 billion years.)
Yet the dominant color of the layers of the
Canyon is of a reddish kind,
Due to iron deposits in the layers that we find!
Standing on the edge of the Southern Rim one
is struck by the grand panoramic view and its
macro immensity !
Gazing into a 1500 meter deep gorge carved into
nearby horizontal sedimentary rocks, - a stark
reality,
Where Man becomes aware of his own micro
fragility!
These layers were deposited 500 million years ago,
Prior to the elevation of the Colorado Plateau!
Viewing this testament to Nature’s magnificence,
Man loses himself for a while, to become transfixed
in space and time!
Though there are other deeper canyons in this
world we know, but none are more impressive
or grander;
So Major Powell named it the ‘Grand Canyon’,
which had also made him to wonder!

GRAND CANYON AND THE COLORADO RIVER
The Grand Canyon stretches from Lake Powell near
Utah-Arizona boarder right up to Lake Mead,
Is around 277 miles long with a max width of 18 miles,
and a max depth of around 6000 feet!
The Canyon proper is located in the northwestern
portion of Arizona, in the midst of the Grand Canyon
National Park,
Where the Colorado River bisects this Park into
Northern and Southern halves!
The Northern Rim is a 1000 feet higher and is ideal
for rafters, trekkers, and cliff climbers.
The better connected South Rim has around 5 million
visitors annually!
But the affluent few with lesser time, visit the glass-
bottom horseshoe shaped ‘Skywalk’ in the western
section, in Hualapai Indian Reservation territory!

             CONCLUDING PART ONE :
The question that intrigue Geologists and the visitors
alike, is how the Colorado River did shape,
The mighty Canyon through this great depth?
Before giving you the answer in Part Two
I must pause here to quote,
Lines from the poem “Grand Canyon” which
Lisa A Williams once wrote; -
“I look to the depths far, far below,
To crevices and caverns formed long ago.
To twisting trails, ledges steep,
Winding rivers with pools so deep! ..........
Cascades of color with each sunrise,
Golden walls with lavender hues,
Shades of pink and smoky blues.
Rainbows of stone, dance in fading light,
Lengthening shadows, with approaching
night . …………….
A brush in hand the painter can see,
The miracle of nature and all it can be.
Trying to capture the beauty of age,
Seems impossible with human gauge!
So much to take in, the eyes try to behold,
An ancient image of creation so bold.
Formed by ice and melting snow,
An artist’s canvas sketched long ago!”
-  by Lisa A Williams.

Dear readers, later in the second part of this
story,
I shall conclude by telling you how the
Colorado River in all its pristine glory,
Carved out this vast Canyon through million
years of our Earth’s History!
Part two will be posted later after a break
surely,
Thanks for reading patiently, from Raj Nandy
of New Delhi.
*ALL COPYRIGHTS ARE WITH THE AUTHOR ONLY
Robert C Howard Mar 2014
homage to Wallace Stevens

I - My Focus pistoned up the rise
      and all at once, the Rockies -
            silhouettes against the western skies.

II - On the road to Boulder
      a pleated ridge crawls north
            like a blue whale bound for the open sea.

III -  Appalachia's intoxicating verdure
      never fails to induce in us
            a certain mellowing of the spirit.

IV - You 'conquered' my North Face, did you?
      Why, I should skewer your arrogant ***
            like a holiday lamb culled for the sacrifice.

V - Lewis and Clark looked west
      surveying the Bitterroots' frigid expanse.
            Farewell Northwest Passage!  

VI - Pueblos stranded on Enchanted Mesa -
      their rock stairs crumbled to the valley floor.
            Should they dive to their death or starve?

VII –Touristas at Big Bend Park
      wonder at its pastel window -
            its romantic haze a toxic gift
      from stacks across the Rio Grande.

VIII – The once mighty Ozarks humbled by age,          
      dwarfed by the youthful Rockies.
            Listen up, youngsters, your time will come!

IX – We de-bussed to seize the dolomites
      with our hyper-kinetic shutters.
            Pausing for a draught of Italian air,
      I felt the whack of an Alpine snowball.

X - Before Oregon's crater had its lake,
      the mountain scorched the village below.
            Today its azure waters preach only serenity.

XI – Looking down from Shissler peak
      to the golden meadow below
            where the elk herd calmly grazes.

XII – Do mists veil the Blue Ridge Mountains
      or are there really no mountains at all -
            only clouds decked out in mountain attire?

XIII – They say that peaks more steep than Everest
      soar up from the ocean floor.
            Who will scale their sunken heights?

May 28,  2010 – Boulder Colorado
Included in Unity Tree - Collected poems
pub. CreateSpace - Amazon.com

— The End —