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C.M. Clark

 


Springtime in B-Town

 
        –for Anne & the Girls

After mornings of cloud cover and random rainy afternoons,
My last full day in Bloomington balanced spring
On the whirling seeds in sunlight,
A surprising cornucopia of clear sky.

College is a time and a place.
Collected comforts ask no more than each day’s meal ticket
And a bustling coffee bar with found furniture,
A lost-and-found for tentative credos
And gas stations that stay open late. 

At the corner of Hunter and Henderson,
Tall trees splay chiaroscuro designs on passing cars
Cruising to classes held early,
To lunch at the Greek place,
And local beer with orange garnish after six. 

It is my hidden utopia.
Just me and forty-thousand companions
Traveling in carpools of two or three,
Or walking uphill to the unforgettable view at the top,
The penthouse of town life lived by semester,
The caravan rolling out on the state roads every May,
Until next time. 

In the down time,
Wood frame houses hold meetings at midnight.
Dowager dormers with batik curtains
Close in on the scented candles burning,
The speculative conversations,
The incensed ashes forming mountains from molehills.
But here in Bloomington, conclusions hold valid in the morning –
No ghostly apparitions to trivialize surefooted dawn.
We come down for high tea at twilight.
Ceremonial offerings to departing day.
Until next time.

We transit the streets as the spirit moves us.
Four years of coming home to a local address,
Mailbox labels detachable.

Eventually we transfer, too --
Up and away to the zipcode of origin,
Eventually, to the next beginning.

We mostly are all transients in Bloomington,
Much as we are transients in this life.
The summer will flourish here at the crossroads.
Next winter it will snow again,
Dusting the rooftops with serious accumulations.
But for now,
I’ll make a wish on the white dandelion,
And blow the seeds like scattered prayers
To where the listening gods bend their ear toward humming spring
Gathering momentum in the waters of the Yellow-wood Spillway.

We will be back.
And Bloomington will wait.
After all, it is Bloomington.

 

The Idylls of Bloomington

I stream down the last hill with the night highway, dreaming
Down through the side aisles of full-fed forest
Down into the valley of the Ohio.
The summer soils rich with vines and ox-eyed daisies,
And silk fingers of plumping corn.
Coursing ghosts of fog, swimming
Low across the horizon
Leaping the median
And into the headlights
In milky ribbons of smoke
And intangible floss.
A dance of dervishes, caught and scattered
With each skipping mile.

To be inland like the river
Is a fulsome contentment.
Far from the sea and the sea birds flying
Far from the salt air and the salt-shocked water
Far from the shoreline limning the country
Miles and mileposts from the mutable boundaries
Dividing dry land from wet ocean,
Impossible me from impassable you.

In this generous valley, no answer is needed,
The questions irrelevant.
Just fertile field following hill-wound road
And full various green ignoring gravity
Heedless of limits
Pushing summer-ward toward cloud-streaming sky.

This could be my last premeditated visit, dreaming
A final defined reason to fly from unsettling uncertainty.
To wake with the tender morning bound by the crossroads,
But fully free to choose the next destination
The next town’s town limits,
Fully present and perfectly anonymous.

The next time I come, I will come to stay
Establish a life, choose an address,
Devise a new name to be known by,
And fed and bedded down safely
I will dream dreamless
Drink coffee at sunrise
Embroider fictions across a sunlit porch, unheeded,
The surprising quietude of Queen Anne’s lace along the railing,
A roseate mandala among weeds, unseen.

Next time I travel, I will leave my bags behind, unneeded,
Traveling light into light
Following the hills and the land’s contours
Streaming down through the trees, dreaming,
Steering focused and awake
All night, down into the valley of the wide rushing river.
 

 

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