Field of Dreams

Field of Dreams

…………….. In Memoriam: Steven Urchek Death is the mother of beauty The mother of us all Birthing us on to new journeys Into new identities Melding us with the Holy Spirit The All-One Over-Soul. And on January Twentieth 2021 A day of hope for our country Your soul merged with the universe And became one with the Great Mystery. You gave your life over wholly to Others: your caring wife, your two fine children All the students you mentored over the years Teaching them the history of our nation The ideals of our democracy. All the boys and girls, young men And women who called you Coach Pitching and catching and all the while Learning how to be fair and decent human beings. You bravely fought the uphill fight Against an awful disease, hanging on Refusing to give up in the bottom of the ninth Until the final swing of the bat. Rest in peace old friend, my son – in law and in love – Now you play and coach in baseball heaven Sitting in cloud dugouts Swapping home run strike out triple play tales With Babe Ruth and Bob Feller; Hank Aaron And Herb Score – taking your rightful place In All-Star-Paradise All watched over with loving care By the precious and holy grace of God.   Urchek remembered for impact he had on so many lives  – by Mike Shaffer...
Celluloid Elegy

Celluloid Elegy

Jack Ramey reads Celluoid Elegy. http://www.springwoodpress.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Celluloid-Elegy-3.mp3 ————————-   – for Judy The pigtailed killer of the wicked witch led daddy’s kids thru Emerald City before she made it there herself while Round John Virgin smothered the child (holy infant so tender and mild) ——————————–in the Silent Night of catholic childbirth I was a starver a server a saint but she was Dorothy of yellow brick road living her movie each Halloween each aging easter in Oz ——————————–queen of Kansas of Hollywood oiling her tinman thirst the frightened cat of her heart screaming for years a burning scarecrow and no bucket wet enough in all of Oz until the Wizard showed his sideshow hand and you touched it Dorothy —————————all polka-dot and hunger you rode his cure-all car —————————thru cheering munchkins cheering long live Dorothy and long live our john wayne sham & hambone saviour our dodge city gambler and now I am scared out of my baby fat at this point at this scene my altar bells ring ————————my ghost mask falls my shopping bag full I cry as I cry each year at this time: —————————–Dorothy be careful —————————–look out his fingers are needles are lightning his floodlights are thrilling but he’s Halloween’s bad candy man ————————dealing the cards like Tombstone Tarot like Lash Larue who holds no bluff for tincan hearts who beats out your song ————————on his Halloween porch a Broadway magus with musical bones ——————————– (Oh Dorothy) your straw wanted real ones made in Oz yes but not by this wizard of nightclub bubbles this junkman wizard of trick or treat ——————————-who stole the heels from...
Prologue: The River

Prologue: The River

. The Iroquois called you O-he-O, the Wyandot the Oheezo, which some took to mean “sparkling,” others “white,” while the French took it to mean “beautiful” :– La Belle Rivière, the beautiful river they called you and they were right, at times you are white, at times you sparkle like diamonds in the sun, and you are always beautiful in all your moods – muddy brown from spring rains, or placidly green, silver flowing water, bringing life and death to all who live and grow beside your thousand mile length three centuries ago or today cascading down from Allegheny and Monongahela confluence sliding by stone age huts and Adena conical burial mounds high up on hills and always bloody, bloody throughout your mythic history of discovery, war, and conquest. Twenty-first century versions of those same huts still on the same hills, or perilously hugging your banks which sometimes you overflow north and south flooding their dirty basements just to show them they might be a bit too close: back off, you say, give me some elbow room, some space to change my course as you wend your way down to meet the stuttering Mississippi, and so on down to dark and broken New Orleans where you spread yourself out upon the vastness of the deep. <br> As a poet, I am fascinated by the metaphysical, mystical, and metaphorical nature of rivers in general and the Ohio River at Madison in particular.  From my home, high on a hill overlooking the Ohio River and downtown Madison, I am able to experience the daily changes in the relationships and moods of...
The River

The River

. 1. A great bronze god This morning Swollen and muddy, Slowly silting down, Muscles rippling like some Giant water stallion, Moving past Broadway, past Elm Past the geese at the floating marina Past the stacks of the monolithic power plant Past all the bare and sunken trees To list round the bend at Hanover, Moving his way on down to Louisville, New Albany, Evansville, Memphis, Cairo, Mississippi! Carrying the weight of thousands of lives. The dead are with him as well as the living: Dead logs and dead bones, The ghosts of those who perished in his flood In their perilous leap toward freedom, Ferried long ago from Milton’s shore Or Indian Kentuck by reckless boatmen, Indiana Charons rowing their dark breathing freight to Elysium. 2. The beginnings and endings Of all things tucked Within your liquid furrows, Your deep rollings, As church bells toll you On your cyclic way to a shared oblivion: Hart Crane’s great wink of eternity, Whitman’s mighty I-am-Thou Shine with the sun On your burnished surface Issuing forth vague promise Of some hidden covenant to come, Some secret bargain With forces unknown; And one day all will be revealed As the prophet saith When the weight of all this water Unseen and teeming With life and death Comes at last to rest In the dropless one-time silent sea. . As a poet, I am fascinated by the metaphysical, mystical, and metaphorical nature of rivers in general and the Ohio River at Madison in particular.  From my home, high on a hill overlooking the Ohio River and downtown Madison, I am able to experience...
Onondaga Lake

Onondaga Lake

………………..- .– for the corporate heads of Honeywell Hiawatha combed the snakes From the mind, preparing the way. Preparing the way for Tadadaho, Keeper of the fire of the One United Longhouse of the Haudenosaunee, The people of the longhouse, who Keep the flames burning By the shores of Onondaga Lake Where the Tree of Peace was planted Long ago and the weapons of war Were cast into the abyss To be washed away forever. But forever is much too long a time, And the weapons of war Have changed. And the snakes have returned In factories. War clubs and tomahawks Replaced now by sodium chloride And ash byproduct and god knows what Other chemicals dumped Into the holy lake by corporate enemies Of the earth: Raping our mother with No regard for the future generations: The unborn faces in the ground, The ground now filled with filth. The pure silver lake is now a cesspool Of mercury and feces: one of the most polluted Lakes in America, where effluent From a waste plant flows unimpeded into it. No swimming allowed. But poor blacks And hungry immigrants still fish Her fouled waters and sicken from the catch. The place chosen for the continuity Of rational existence, of how to be a true Human being walking the ways of the Creator In the days before colonial greed Is now the most polluted place in Iroquoia, Now called Syracuse New York Where once crystal waters brimmed with fish, Place for deer and beaver to drink, Place for the people to drink, now unfit for creation Making a mockery of the Great...
Ohio River Sutra

Ohio River Sutra

Something white floats on the water Close to the opposite shore: White like floating paint or a ghost Made flesh, hanging there, unmoved by the current. A white plastic bag hangs high in a tree, A vacant soul blown by a swirling wind: Breathing in and breathing out Like a broken balloon on a naked limb. Whose life is this, anyway? The loudest towboat on the Ohio Owned by American Electric Power — (AEP) emblazoned on the oval smoke stack Now the fourth largest barge operator With 1,800 barges and 45 tow boats (Are they all as loud as this one?) Pushes a load of rip-rap rock and gravel Sending a loud steady groan That echoes through the town And up and down the long-hilled valley. Her stern engines churn the brown water white As she makes time, makes fast time, boys, Past Madison to ports north and east: Sunrise Indiana, Cin City, ship that Appalachia Coal to Pittsburgh Pennsylvane-I-eh: “Our barge line will move roughly 50 million Tons of bulk commodities including cement, Fertilizer, salt, construction materials, Forestry products and ores along the Ohio, Mississippi and Illinois rivers to generate Additional revenue,” said Dwayne Hart, Senior vice president of business Development and strategy for AEP. Hart would not disclose revenue or earnings, But AEP’s recent acquisitions have been Profitable, he said: “Wholesale investments Including the Houston Pipe Line, the MEMCO Barge line, the AEP coal mines, push us “Goll-durned through the roof,” he said. Five fires burning on the opposite shore. Whose life is this anyway? Down in eastern Kentucky And western West Virginia Descendants of the Hatfields...