rainy days

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well at least it’s springtime in Montana. we wintered out again.

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truck stop frustration

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some lady cleaning behind the hot stuff pizza counter

calls her friend over to talk about the snow and the truckers

who walk through talking through their blue-tooth headsets

about the weather and the snow on the passes especially through

Butte

while somebody dropped a hot dog and the clean-up kid came by

grumbling with the mop bucket smearing mustard stains accross

the tile floor now wet shiny in the flourescent glare.

 

it could have been lack of sleep or too much jangled nerve coffee

tired from watching the mirrors as the frozen slush builds up on the

undercarriage causing a ticket for overweight and another fine

eating into low pay miles on a wal-mart diet

 

or maybe home life is no longer so desirable now that the economy

has soured and payments shared by two are now carried by one

with obama on the radio giving a press conference calling for patience

and the last rest stop was too short but if you are going to make the

mortgage you need to do 800 miles today and fudge the log book

hoping the drummond station is closed and you only have to deal with

whitehall before you reach billings going through your head as

the clerk takes your money and you lock eyes with another trucker

sitting at a table in front of arby’s sipping coffee and writing something in

a small notebook

beyond

rowboat

 

beside the vacant garage

an old row boat

its ship-lap boards silver and warped with age

lay among  weeds overgrown many years now

 

 yellow bushes beside the front walk

cascade and spill onto the empty mailbox

and newspaper tube

beneath the thorns a rusty pair of sheers

corrode rust red blending with the earth

 

they did their best

to raise a daughter who succeeds

at raising three daughters of her own

and now the yard is silent

the house empty and peaceful

and everything has succeeded

beyond their wildest dreams.

rolex and rolaids in montana

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in a few weeks it will be time to launch the drift boat

 into a back eddy of the bitteroot to float and glide

past the trails of deer and bear but today is spent indoors

with my friends

 

anton chekhov and mark twain got up a game of cards

with william faulkner, kathleen o’connor, JFK and golda meir

while silvia plath emptied the contents of emily dickinson’s purse

in a desperate search for rolaids.

 

hemingway showed off his new rolex while entertaining nabakov

with stories about hunting in wyoming.

norman mailer would not come out of the bathroom

because marilyn monroe could not keep her hands off of miles davis

who ignored everything that dosteyevski had told him about women.

 

the kitchen was taken over by jimi hendrix and stephan crane

telling lewd jokes to everyone who would listen

and janis joplin slipped out the back door

to smoke some good weed with jim crumley, truman capote

and charlie parker.

 

and me? i am content to watch the show and sip good whiskey

while listening to merle haggard, U2 and tom waits sing the real life

we all know.

the orange street food farm parking lot…

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sometimes it can take hours when the fishing guide

from the bitterroot stops to have a smoke with his elbows resting

on the truck door to talk to the house painter/poet

while the  playwright/electrician walks past with his grocery cart

and they wave him over to talk about Missoula stuff….which can be almost

anything

 

because the orange street food farm parking lot is the nexus

of the universe where a grizzled, bearded philosopy prof

secretly admires the shape of a comely coed walking

past his sensibly green and fuel efficient Prius

with she not even casting a glance at his lonely sad pathetic sunglared

windshield

in her go have fun tight jeans to get some of the cheapest beer in town

 

where neighbors grab each other laughing to catch up on

all things before they rush home to feed the kids after work

and an old cowboy from petty creek picks his way past

the gaggle of gals who surround some punk dressed hip hop teen

with a cute puppy

and he stops to talk to the mystery writer who just pulled in from L.A.

for some rolling papers and snacks on his way to charlie’s bar

 

and the political activist and his thin macro-diet enviro-zealot girlfriend

bump into an out of work logger at the door who says excuse me

and takes off his cap to smile a frank admiring smile at the young girlfriend

and the political activist turns angry but the mystery writer

and the cowboy notice the beginning of a mistake

and the mystery writer says take it easy son…

that is a real Montanan you are talking to there

and that is the wisest thing said that peaceful happy day

in the orange street food farm parking lot.