Midway Journal

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Notes on Schenectady and a Poem for a Teacher

Notes on Schenectady
*

Seated in back, designated handicap.  One toilet not functioning, sloshing.

Endless conversation with a Yankees fan back in Schenectady.  His eyes bugged and squinted, sizing everything up.

Schenectady
is where Thomas Edison hopped off the train and invented Lysol.  (He
earned 30 points for that answer in American History in 8th grade.)

There
are many important things about Schenectady, television being one of
them, say how in 1928 it was discovered happening on the shiny side of a
pie tin.

The first broadcast was that of the skeleton of William Howard Taft sleeping.

Schenectady has many opinions about itself.

**** **** **** ****
Poem for A Teacher
*

Rubicon sugar apples
were what women
were selling at long oak tables.

When I awoke, I still didn’t know
what Rubicon meant.

“A small river in N Italy
that formed the boundary
between Cisalpine Gaul
and the Roman Republic:

when Caesar crossed it
(49 B. C.) at the head
of his army to march
on Rome, he began the
civil war with Pompey.”

The one thing I learned
from you was the “cut
and shuffle”.

Rubric is just a word
for what we all do anyway.

The Rubicon flows
in my dreams.  I cross it
biting into the caramelized
sugar apple, the apples
of the Rubicon.

Everyone seems to be in a
better place.

You left sons behind
and a daughter.  You
crossed the Rubicon;

your mystery
was plain
enough for the ghosts.

I will put this all together
just the opposite of what
you taught, my arm
thrown over the shoulders
of the village.

My heart is a tray of moss.
My ears are loose stones in the road.
My tongue is the space between
branches.
Let in
the light of stars.
My eyes are rivers flowing
back to me

through the last fires.
***