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NauenThen

A poem

I wrote this quite a few years ago, revised it more recently.

Esto Perpetua
            for Linda, Ron & Jessi

Ida, my Ida, my Idaho

Ida—ho
famous for her taters
& Alene’s French heart
& golden thighs
grab rollicking hills

the golden wheatfields of Moscow
the wheatfields’ soothing monochrome

Idaho:
where we find the good bookstore
good Mexican restaurant
good Nez Perce museum
good friends
good barbecue & good ol’ baseball

the hissing wheat is fluffy & reedy
combines rally on fields laid thick as pennies
pop a grain from its husk & chew
flavorless, it smells of growth

Ida, my Ida, my Idaho

Linda is making moussaka
it’s not discipline that sends me to my typewriter
but curiosity. What will happen?
Ron is studying Baseball Weekly
or working out a problem of memory—
ca you name 6 lefthanded black major league pitchers?
Jessi goes to daycare.

we have much to say
& plenty of time to get it said
to nap sip iced tea check thermometer (100°)
to climb into the hayloft & wish for a boy
to dig me in the sweet hay
& wish for a pond at the end of the field
& that I never had to leave
& could drive the gravel roads like I know where I’m going

Poets of Idaho, do not despair!
you are smart, lively & sensitive!
your character has developed!
you are no clod
of topsoil from the richest land in the world.
your neighbor to the west is the “evergreen” state
your neighbor to the east is “big sky” country
you are Famous Potatoes.
You are so weird! I love you, Idaho! Where did you get your name?
You wait for Santa Claus in your name!
You laugh in your name!
You are a flapper, Idaho!
You have a banana belt, Idaho!
Idaho, I will always remember your eternal wind!
meadowlark in the swale! reviled, beloved pigweed!

Ida, my Ida, my Idaho

Idaho:
Your name is faux Indian, invented by a bureaucrat.
You almost called yourself Colorado. Did you happen
to notice there already was a Colorado?
And anyway, what is red here?
Are the works of Idaho native Ezra Pound read here?

Idaho, are you proud of your mountains?
your Sawtooth, Bitterroot, Clearwater, Yellowjacket,
Bighorn Crags & Lost River Range?
Do you flaunt your mineral rights,
your white potatoes & white supremacists,
your state bird the syringe.
Are you proud, Idaho, of your bloody labor history,
Big Bill Haywood & Maxim Gorky both approving
the dynamiting of Governor Steunenberg in 1899?
Idaho! O Idaho! You are so weird!
Idaho, o to come back & crash around in your wheat!
Idaho, the New York poets long for your enduring heat!
Idaho, bird dogs stalk your magpies!
Fill high the bowl with wine.

It is perpetuated.
Idaho Idaho Idaho
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