Monday, February 21, 2011

Nathan Ingham - One Poem

I Could Be a Wisconsin Poet

Mad Town, my dad always called it
and now still I love the gritty retreat
of snowbanks in April

after that one last surprise blizzard
sweeps the flat lands.

If you pluck my thoughts out of the
shoebox where I leave them
they are all Vermont, and frosted with mountain
winds, although I’m not a hiker
the voice in my head has a British accent
and there’s no anarchists in art school

but how many people come
from an isthmus?
where your city walks tightwire all year
between Mendota and Monona
and back again, there were mammoth bones
at the stone museum

wheels take you over places
if they are not snowbound, muckalucking through
the tinsel streets
sometimes it seems that greasy fingers come with age
never mind the slump of shoulders

never mind his lyrics, blink and they’re gone
but in streetlit moments
still, what can be said of residence?
judge it by the distance to a bakery, or
the ambient waves of touch to a kitchen
feeling the air as you wash dishes

it was just a block, then, to the bright, pleasant smell
of pastries
but we left that residence
now still I break oak leaves
so the stem is revealed as
the skeleton
but it’s harder now
with greased fingers

after leaving three kitchens behind
each one waiting
for a snowstorm.

Nathan Ingham studies writing at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. His poetry has appeared in Right Hand Pointing, The Legendary, and Eighty Percent Magazine.

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