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Robert C Howard Aug 2020
The lure of gold brought Fifty-Niner’s in droves
     to the Kansas-Nebraska territory
laden with packs, picks, pans and shovels -
      hell-bound for adventure and facile wealth.

Placer miners squatted beside frigid streams,
    dipping their pans and filling their sacks
with nuggets bound for the assayer's verdict.

Mine towns sprang up where the veins were strong.
    In ******* Creek, Leadville, Independence and Central City,
the valleys rang with the strident cacaphony of
     drills and explosives - burrowing shafts deep
into the ore-rich valleys and mountain slopes.

Headlamps lit and shadowed mazes of timbered tunnels
     where men piled rock high into mine cars
headed for the mammoth crushers at Idaho Springs.

Whiskey freely flowed in saloons and hotels
     where raucous miners let off steam with
every mode and cast of ***** talk pleasures

In time, the veins were spent and profits dwindled.
     When the drama ended and the curtain fell,
the miners vanished - leaving only ghost towns behind
      and a new state named for its reddish river – Colorado.
This is the second poem in a cycle called Echoes from Colorado
Tom Atkins Feb 2020
You cannot find it
on the most recent maps.
Once you could.
A tiny dot in small print.
But not any longer.
It is too small.
In the middle of nowhere,
a confluence of four farms,
two roads,
an ancient Methodist church
and a country store turned museum.
If you happen to be there,
there is a sign.
Just one,
To announce your arrival and departure,
all in a blink. The sort of place
we make fun of,
or worse,
miss altogether.

And yet, people live here.
No fewer than they did in the day
when they rated a dot on the map in four-point type.
They are born here,
Grow up and age here.
Die here.
There is drama. Love is discovered
and lost.
Faith is found and lost.
They suffer, no fewer and no more
than a generation ago.

Your grandfather lived
on one of the four corner farms.
Your father was born here
and lay in the small oak crib
that now lives in your upstairs bedroom.
Your house, in fact, is a museum of sorts,
artifacts of generations scattered about,
proof that this place exists
not just in geography
but in soul.
About this poem.

I live in a little village called West Pawlet, Vermont. When I first moved here. It’s small. Including the farmers on the fringes, maybe 300 people according to the last census. When I first moved here, I used to think of it lovingly as “Nowhere, Vermont.” I often thought you could write a series of sketches, Lake Woebegon-like, about the area and the people.

Even though I worked most of my career in big cities, places like this have alway sung to me. I suspect it is because of the time I spent on my grandfather’s farm in Carsley, Virginia. I loved that time. I love that place. My great aunt, my father’s sister, still lives in my Grandfather’s house.

We forget such places. They get lost in headlines and the business of life. But they too are part of life. A place like Carsley, or here in West Pawlet, only looks bucolic. In reality, every challenge and vice and struggle of the big cities lives here as well, just without the resources to help them, because they are, after all, invisible.

Except to those of us who live here.
Merry Jul 2018
I want to live in a big house
In the middle of a big town
And in my big house
In the middle of a big town
I want to bake biscuits in my big kitchen
And feed them to my friends
Who come to visit my big house
In the middle of a big town
Brianna Duffin Mar 2018
These people are small town stereotypes
Their great-grandparents were in nursery school together
They can recount who went to prom together for generations back
And divulge every intimate detail about every individual for miles around.
I’m an eighteen-year-old whose biggest accomplishment is “server of the month”
And no family except for a four year old son no one knows about
With no history save for backup vocals in a garage band from the Bronx.
I have to turn this town into my home; do I ever get to swear off the word “impossible”?
I turned it into a swear word the day after my son was born- the one his mamma died.
Oh, god, don’t ask about his mamma. Lorraine. My angel. Born, raised, buried in the Bronx.
There’s a reason she kept the baby. Me. The rough hand I was dealt as a kid. My desire for kids.
But, as every bump on the road will reassure you, every gift comes with a cost.
And that kid- my new whole world- cost me everything. Lorraine, for one.
But now I live in a small town. I have two names: “waiter” and “daddy”.
I don’t do drugs but I do drink; once a month I get wasted. I don’t smoke, steal, cheat, or lie.
But, lord almighty, do I drink sometimes. Like I said, once a month.
I don’t know if it comes from self-loathing or mental state, but there’s no escaping it.
It’s like a rumor whispered in the window of a small town church.
Like this? Poem appears in full here:
https://medium.com/@briannarduffin/the-invisible-cost-7828ed7754b6
Sharon Talbot Sep 2017
Vast the landscape I watch that rolls out, ragged,
Before my eyes, hurt words describing, haggard.
Moby soothes me but a little as I watch still fractured sights
Of what was and is in Chernobyl.
Marshlands filled with death and mutation,
Homely houses putrid with abandonment and radiation.

Broken tokens of people’s former lives and loves –
Where are they now?
Their hairless dolls, sitting in the middle of rooms,
Bathtubs, broken and oblique, empty.
Soap washes memory and nothing else away.
The sky has spoken; it is broken.

Push the poison out to sea. To see
They hadn’t time to leave a memory,
But ran, already dead while living,
Not allowed to gather souvenirs.
There’s nothing left for them here.
But did they die?
Nobody told us where they went,
Or why
This happened.

They are gone now, dispersed in Eurasia I suppose,
Like ash in the wind, like their future or past ghosts.
They haunt the places, the buildings and the waters,
Engulfing fish, and drying fungus on the northern trees,
Watching wolves still move through winter freeze,
Still beautiful in the taiga sun.
Tainted yet rife with energy not destroyed,
Trying to paint its passion on the sides of walls,
To venerate the people here and their lives,
Their animals, their clothing only frozen.
This poem was inspired by a young woman, Elena Filatova whose Internet name was KidOfSpeed. She lived (lives?) in Russia and rode her motorbike into the forbidden zone around Chernobyl, taking videos of the various scenes:

houses, roads, forests, cities (Pripyat), all abandoned and overgrown. She has since posted more videos, though they are less "shattering"; she uses drones and was exposed by someone as just another tourist who happened to bring a motorbike and helmet on a tour. Not sure if it's true, but to me, anyone who goes into that area is brave!

http://www.angelfire.com/extreme4/kiddofspeed/
Sandoval Aug 2017
Sky
Thirty seven thousand feet,
in the air.

Scattered towns
look like tiny galaxies in the night sky.

I could write a thousand poems.

But all I can think of is
the magic in your eyes.

*Sandoval
Traveling is good for the soul, though you never forget what you left back home.
You failed to understand my feelings thru and thru
My sweetheart from the very beginning  I love you
On petals of love your beauty comes like drop of dew
You are new in love pursuit so let me take it to pursue

My beloved life is just full of so many ups and downs
Lovers at times are beggars and at another wear crowns
lovers at times like clowns at another heroes in towns
They are the ones who pave there way from shutdowns

My beloved please take me in arms I am totally broken
Rivals laugh at me and take all this as a pun and a fun
Only you are my beloved in this burning desert with Sun
There is none but only you are my real love my passion

Col Muhammad Khalid Khan
Copyright 2016 Golden Glow
Andrew T Jul 2016
True Reflection
I saw him walking down the uneven concrete
He had a beat to his step, every move on count
Avoided slanted ladders and black cats on corners
Steel noose hung from his neck that resembled a cross
It dangled like an unsteady decoration
He had a long stride and I was on par with pace
Walked close but there was a wide gap in our bridge
Chicago wind pushed through us with cold shoulders  
It carried harsh fumes of a forest cremation  
Evergreen trees torched, leaves fall to the ground mourning
He enjoyed the smoke’s company, didn’t wave her off  
But she left as he heard chords of American horns
He bobbed his head to the sermons preached by beggars
Ran from synchronized fireworks between gangs
Glared at visual art of red and blue strobe lights
Treaded his fingers on chipped pale skin of town houses
And tasted the sweet sourness of a girl’s rain-check
His expression was content like the heart of a book
His smile fell in sequenced with the collapse of eyelids
I became aware that something was weighing his walk
Opaque bottles barely stood straight in his coat pockets
Staggered after each other like rows of dominos
Bottles fractured causing the cement to catch ripples
He couldn’t brake over broken glass he drove into me
Nose to Nose we touched as we were about to crash
I carved into the core of his eye and saw myself
Lying on the pavement with a blanket of fragments
And I realized I couldn’t remove the stained glass
Because what was there belonged from the beginning
getting lost in towns
i regularly find
myself in.
looking.

for the way the earth stands still
when i am with the people i love.
looking.
for myself in old library books
about the government and God. "Americans... are forever searching for love in forms it never takes, in places it can never be. It must have something to do with the vanished frontier." I am forever searching.
I am forever looking.
i am the vanished frontier.

these are regular routines
of an irregular human
with ambitions
who can barely get on their tippie  toes
to touch them.
there is love in me
and it is in forms
you all can barely fathom.
another poem written at 1 a.m.
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