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Mountains,
roiling across,
just as sea tempests toss'd.
Frost'd froth on brackish peaks churn
the sky.
Mark Toney Nov 2019
When I was growing up in Wisconsin, dairy farms were everywhere.  It was always fun visiting my aunt and uncle's dairy farm, even though they put me to work.  For many years the only bathroom they had was away from the house!  I read an article today about people complaining about smells coming from dairy farms and pig farms.  It reminded me when our family would drive the 3 1/2 hours to visit Grandma and Grandpa.  Some farms hardly had any bad odor, but others reeked!  This was especially horrible to us city kids.  "Mom, what's that smell?" my sisters and I would ask every time.  We asked Mom because she'd answer us.  Dad would only laugh.  Good times!  

Midwest dairy farms
intermittent putrid stench-
fun childhood road trips
10/28/2019 - Poetry form: Haibun - Copyright © Mark Toney | Year Posted 2018
Em Glass Aug 2019
In a land without hills
there are as many bicycles
as people.
There is a synagogue
with a steeple.
For every boy on a swing
there swings a man
on a pendulum,
explaining Illinois to you
like he invented it.
Angel Friend
He is an Angel Friend.
Old, Wise, and Designed to have a huge heart


A hard working soul that never quits or did such weaken to bend.
Upon his birth..
Designed for brilliance - the bigger, brighter, and more
significant  of life purposes..

A legacy forged
At his birth
An energy made itself A great and bright start
Elderly ages equals wisdom and a fatherly care
Energy in a heart forged from gold - such strength shared and Naturally    grown
Such vines to sprout and bond
Connections created and they never detach
Away from the one's who have shared such energies, in return.
A beautiful artistic creation
Created through heart's truer matches..
Selfless gifts
Formed from the kindred spirits - like the silk worm's
Carefully generated stitches of silk
From their gratefulness and directed sharing of portions of their life's force

These fibers are  woven into  unmeasurable
Dime Worthy estimated or appraised "trinkets"
of breathtaking Tapestry Blankets or  "clothe windows.."
Joined forever as one, from one starting love's warmth to another,
train on "crazy rails in need of redirection.."
Such souls see and hand over irreplaceable rider tickets

Clothe pieces of spirits joined as one - as  tapestries .
Quilted  generations bonded by their loving and sharing connections in Golden Spirited   worth .
Heirlooms handed down between life's generations
New births of fresh spirits
Climbing the ladders of time
as cherished timeless gifts
Given to those whom he cares for
Bonded to even those outside a "family" pool
until the very last breath.
Spending not a dime.
He shall toil until his spirit leaves the Earth
Then such energies stay with those whom he cared for
All timeless and unmeasurable ticks of the clock
or sands of the hourglass
Light shines upon the extension of the cared one's family births

Therefor , he has always been earning a defined role
"The eternal force of caring.."
"The warrior's toll."
In edition to the medals of honor
Golden Wearable awards, given unto him, by the Creator.
Titled  as the "Creator's Golden Heart" and "Love's earned Crown."

As written in the Latin Life's Wisdom Scrolls" as:

per "Creator aurei cordis" et "coronam meruit amor est scriptor
per "Creator aurei cordis" et "coronam meruit amor est scriptor
Dedicated to a wonderful friend and supporter Mace Rubinstein. Your spirit is Immortal. To James Sutrina, a true friend and God-Brother. To all who support me, unbiased and unselfishly. Last, to all who have gone unnoticed and misunderstood in this life, who had the heart as detailed in this poetic illustration.
Amy E Apr 2019
She heads to the door
And tries to bid farewell once more
But the friend has more stories
Of many categories
That is the Midwest au revoir
nova Jan 2019
There are no trees.
Well, that's a lie. There are a few, but they're mostly planted by people in straight lines that run east to west, west to east.
There are few trees, and there's a lot of topsoil not being held down by root systems. When there's a drought, the soil blows around in dust storms that can last hours, days, weeks, all because of a lack o' rain.
A lack o' rain, for Christ's sake.
And because of the lack o' rain, windmills scatter across the landscape, pumping water up from the aquifer.
What for?
The freakin' cattle, of course. There's more cattle than people out here, but they're as trapped as we are; miles and miles of fences cut boundaries into the acres of rolling green hills.
Cut boundaries, cut boundaries, cut boundaries.
More boundaries are shaped by the railroad and the highway system (Thank you, President Eisenhower), but they also link the small towns dotting the landscape.
Towns. Not cities. Towns of five hundred people or less. More often less than not. (Villages?)
Everything here is old. Worn, not by use, but by being there, by being beat down on by the wind, and the sun, and years and decades of weather.
People included.
"Washed out" isn't the right wording. "Tired" is more like it.
And predominately white.
(Sorry, Native Americans. We kind of kicked you out and treated you like you were the invaders.)
Ruddy skin. Scarred arms. Calloused hands.
Tattered clothes covering hardened skin.
Even the kids are like that. Lookin' like they're ten years older than they really are.
There are two types of people here.
The first type is rooted here. The family's been there for decades, the farm-ground's been owned for longer. (Depression-era, you understand.)
(I was born in this house, I will die in this house.)
The second type is driven by the desire to get out, get out, get out. But get out of what?
(Fences, you understand, are not only physical, and all fences out here are made from barbed wire.)
(Barbed wire hurts. Wear leather gloves when you're fencing.)
The people technologically advanced, but in the ways that work best for working hard and earning money. Tractors. Combines. Medicine for the livestock.
Sure, you ain't got cell service half the time, but who needs that?
And who wants to listen to anything but the country radio station that plays ads half the time, the only station that comes in?
When it snows, nobody waits for the maintainer. (Snow plow on steroids, for the city folk.) They put the loader on the heaviest tractor they have and hope they don't get stuck.
There's a lot of hoping that happens here.
Hope that it rains. Hope that nobody gets sick, because most can't afford to be. Hope the gamble they took pays off. Hope they don't get stuck. Hope that the kids don't get in a wreck in a place with no cell service.
Football's a weirdly big thing here.
Every fall Friday night, if someone doesn't show up at the field to watch the game, they're either sick or drunk off their *** and banned from the school grounds.
(Sorry, there's swear words embedded in my blood. It's part of the dangers of living here.)
And if someone's not in sports, they're looked down upon.
Outcast.
The internet is a good escape. (If you've got it.)
So is television. (If you're into it.)
So is drugs and alcohol. (If you're legal or ballsy enough to do it.)
But.
But there's a certain sense of freedom that crashes through your veins when you're riding ******* across an empty pasture, the horse sweating and huffing and puffing below you like a train, your arms outstretched like your free, free, free.
But you're not and you've got chores to do and by the time you've put the horse away and fed them and checked cattle and told your boss (your grandpa or dad) that you've taken care of everything, it's dark.
So you drag your tired, sore self home and shower, letting the water wash away the sweat and the mud and the dirt (and sometimes the blood) from your aching body and change into a baggy shirt and pants and crash onto your bed.
(With two blankets - a jean blanket made by family and a quilt also made by family.)
And you sleep
and you do it all again tomorrow
with the tired people and the tired animals and the landscape that calls to you, no matter who you are.
Perks of living in the midwest. (Perks? Are there any?)
Stark Nov 2018
All but still
Wheat wavering in the distance, shivering in anticipation
Animals hide away, tucked in the safety of hideaways, holes, and orifices
Humans crouch underground, waiting
Hours pass
A lone alarm shouts across the land
"This is an emergency. I repeat, an emergency warning"
So loud that those below, closer to hell than ever before, clutch their ears
For they are ringing from the vibrant sound waves stretching across the fields
A slight change in wind directions
A little bit of motion
Begins the devastation

A lone inverted triangle appears
Seemingly hovering, inches above the ground
Circling its prey, before it gorges itself
Endless cyclic motions, vacuuming everything in its path
Houses, barns, plants fly
Tugged from the attraction to the ground to the sky
Engulfed by the tornado
That winds down a path of destruction

On a whirlwind high
Drunk off of its power
Invoking pain for no reason, except that it can
Land ripped to shreds
Houses taken and tossed miles and miles away
Barns slingshotted across the American countryside
And the deaths
Oh the deaths

Those who thought they could wait it out
Survive again once more
Those who tried to chase the twister
Mesmerized by its hypnotic dance
Those who were in the wrong place at the wrong time
Oblivious to their preventable fate

When the humans emerged
From their underground bunker
They found a land left ruined
Wiped blank of human development
With that they shed tears
Watering the fertile lands
As the tornado wrecked havoc
It brought a rebirth
A chance to start again fresh
tornadoes and their destructive power.
nabi 나비 Apr 2018
I have been born and raised in the midwest of the United States
And I have learned many things, some of which I have learned to hate
People here live the same **** lives as the people before them
People meet, they fall in love, they get married, they have kids
Their kids grow up and go to a tiny high school
They go to college, get a job, find someone and do what their parents did
But the thing is they never leave
They are never truly living
They live the same **** lives in a repetitive cycle and they never have a taste of unfamiliarity
And in my years of being alive, I have learned to hate this mentality
To live the same lives as everyone around me
I want something different
I want to have stories and scars from travels and years of being alive
I want something more than this town and this segment of a country could ever give me
With its familiarity and hatefulness towards difference
I strive to leave and to actually be alive
Tom Conley Jan 2018
After you spilled hot cider
on the opal-purple plastic

sequins of the dress our great-
grandma bought you, we ran

down a cigarette-smoke
saturated neon alley

that dripped red blues and greens
between ivy-wrapped cracks

in the antique-brick buildings
across the lopsided street.

Carnies barked over plywood
counters draped in tablecloths,

shouting, “Prize every time!”
at kids grabbing pink ducks

from a foodcolor-blue model
of the White River, while other kids

popped balloons with darts like
the syringes our town is famous for

stabbing like stakes into undead
methed-out arms, and we hid

behind a coffin-shaped green porta-
***** near the chain-linked swings.

You held your nose in a gloved hand
and tried to dry the steaming cider

with a napkin I found hanging
half-out a yellow trashbag

full of skunked beer and flies,
and you said, through mascara-

poisoned bubbling black streams
and sour-pink lips, “Mamaw’s probably

mad enough I only won
Miss Congeniality — just imagine

how mad she’s going to be when mom
goes to the hospital tomorrow

and tells her that the cocktail-
dress she worked to death to put

her spoiled great-granddaughter in
smells like rotten apple pie!”
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