Posts Tagged ‘Mountaineers’

The Wheeling Year


02 Mar

Plunging into the proud once bold steel spokes of Wheeling
on a boast, leaving self-identified low-brow intellectuals
thick on their heels, disciples of mediaplex back home
to guzzle odd beers, to call forth warm meals,
shutter fashion clues and scatter candle wicks,
cascading ambitions, creeping years and shell-soaked
beltway snobberies if not outright fears
only the duty-stoked people of paper bountiful
& class swearing beautiful can celebrate or poke
without laughing out loud
(Must calibrate gross weight or reluctantly take a dive...),
to increase their distance from the nothingness crowd
lost to brutal calories and raw educations
that rarely matter. Sometimes freedom
of choice is just a cigar.

The boy scout giving good turn a bad name
squats two seats away from the shadow's flame. To this end
I am greeted by
icy gray broken asphalt gristle patched with frosted gray cloud cover,
stuff of gray twigged mountain peaks and frisky billboards, soaking up
mere strands the soot life left to the rights of man in sixty year exodus,
sealed in a book mapping tough cookie Norwegian painter Edvard Munch,
(recently purchased in Washington and also found in local library, with lime)
to his destiny of soul-watching inched in regional nee personal strife,
the contact spy, the imperfected feeling magus,
the mystic's eye bent to March Madness
and the gnat gusts of George Mason's run
smack past the heavily brokered UCONN largess
predicted here on this page at patriotic halftime
with the same breath as "Pop Mike, Pop Mike" fun
veers the seer from Connecticut Avenue to Main Street
invoking play by play off the curve, via broadband, the long hike,
the voice of God dead or alive voting one sorry syllable at a time
with these heavy feet, with these heavy heavy feet
chanting "Long live the Mountaineers!"

Early thoughts among leafless trees recall jobs lost on a dime,
mantles of black gold from ancient burial grounds that fed
the former veracity, stolen with a few strokes of ink and power
of law but that's sparing a crime, spoiling the climb (social)
more shame in responding to a coal miner's lament
however sublime. Ignorance is egregiously polled,
and tallied like a certain hour where uncertainty takes hold
but will never sop these wet K Street cement trucks
with an exchange value that will surpass the damage of
wasted years looking for evidence of American life elsewhere
among the stark solar systems and pigeonholes of our enemies.

This rambunctious exile with single wave of arms deal
might have dropped anchor in Cumberland, M-D
some many miles franker (with escalating gas prices) still to the east,
instead, in exit from the nation's capital in the land of Nod,
brave hardly but where art thou hididen in tattered cards,
revealing seven maybe eight convalescing spirits,
as thy wholesome West Virginia Left Bank energies
emerge among fading old mills and abandoned
century old cigar warehouses,
nail factories and one fairly new hockey arena
skimming along the once mighty Ohio River
banks and bards, shanks and shards
like some Indian giver (that old tale)
ignorant of industrial bed safeguards
perfectly, perfectly American...

and I too, have come to recapture Victorian Wheeling metaphor,
ripped from ancient headlines in the days of Zane and Fort Patrick Henry
speaking the spectacular language of oldest and largest...
magnificient suspension bridge still in use, American Legion Post #1
recalling the 1940s, the unvarnished glories of the Capitol Music Hall,
where thy current president "Bush II" delivered another Iraqi hoot
hosted by the Wheeling Chamber of Commerce such as it is,
(commerce by all indications is not the city's strong suit)
before whizzing past in the familiar ironclad motorcade
black to the gills, in tight with street throngs of mere dozens
confused but supportive of Orwellian nation-building doubletalk
(a mere handful of detractors showed up with predictable signs)
hurrying to greet proven Pittsburgh past any sad assassins
hiding in the vacant ruins of the stunted and the shade
just two short days after my own arrival,
recalling former feasts of this harsh Steeler Nation
now in fester.

Victory to explore this old house of Wheeling,
home of some thirty thousand souls nested in the airy hills
to examine the lost fortunes of free elections and free speech,
to score on the fading linebackers godwilling for minimum of one year,
axiom by axiom in a tutelege of the expatriate, I am after all, a city boy—
saith the tainted poet, painteth the awkward painter...
Drawing upon the strength of history wanting a chance,
success and sure loss of dead weight left in the District of Columbia
where special populations prove numbers are anything but...
(absence of voting rights, questioning the dance)

But just as the petty thief draws near,
there is visionary hope in new places, new perspectives, new choices.
Infrastructure—civic, civil, and yearning awaits.

[ 2006, Wheeling, WV }

S A M P L E X

"Ignorance and virtue suck on the same straw. Souls grow on bones, but die beneath bankers' hours.""


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