LaCross, vignoles and Edelweiss
make up this region's hardy fare,
their vines survive the cold and ice;
the green returns to branches bare
when warmth does reappear.
To taste Nebraska's tepid wine
reminds of semi-dry terrain,
for certain crops, the climate's fine,
but only grapes that stand the strain
are cultivated here.
When harvest in September comes
varieties are crushed and strained,
and most are stored in steel drums
while waiting for the vintner, trained
to know when peaking's near.
While Midwest wine is rarely dry,
and never rivals chardonnay,
it hints of fruit, of cherry pie,
and can be reveled every day
a cure for life austere.
When the brilliant burst lights the sky,
we count off the seconds aloud,
willing the delay longer before thunder
wields its booming voice, interrupting our
watch for the storm's next strike. Having
withdrawn, our attention now returns to the
window into Nature's electric choreography.
Directing is a dirty job
that's not for meek nor faint of heart-
an outdoor play, a rowdy mob,
rude prima donnas late to start,
the laughs are short, and tempers flair,
with players missing scripted cues;
the crowd is blissfully aware
of only what the stage hands choose.
Mudrumpus once again will prove
devout directors are the key;
to keep performance in a groove
takes talent and tenacity.
A great mudrumpus crew and cast
regales in muck while standing fast.
A chunk of matter roaming through the void,
without regard for altitude's declines,
was drawn away from orbits once enjoyed
and hurtled to the atmosphere's confines.
The smoldering began with glowing red,
the heat and temper separated flakes
of rock and rubble in a molten thread,
that followed on the path of nature's brakes.
The size of shrunken mass was mighty still,
though humans would not be in numbers yet,
its striking mountain range in winter's chill
incised a cliffside bowl without regret.
When first exploring canyon's rugged face
man stared in awe and praised this hallowed place.
While family ties unite its members,
and their kinship grows with age,
relationships between two brothers,
often difficult to gauge,
will always forge the great adventures
and encompass love and rage.
There is no greater bond or bearing
than two brothers, now adults,
whose had as youths their endless sharing
and enduring vast insults,
but also sworn to keep conspiring
and keep secret those results.
The fistfights would be long forgotten,
like the girls and comic books,
and pulling kites that wouldn't heighten
in the northern-bound Chinooks.
Those past events now seem rewritten,
in amidst those dirty looks.
That brothers change is not surprising,
when they've stood up, side by side,
two boys against the bullies, choosing
to defend each others' pride.
So when they talk about their bruising,
it's the front they must provide.
As wealthy Tennesseans go,
the elder Tibbs was fair and straight,
he'd spurned the grandiose chateau
for comfort in his old estate.
Though not a ragged tenement,
his father's home was handed down,
a robber baron having spent
a fortune on the local town.
So when Tibbs took his refuge here,
away from traffic and the noise,
they understood this marketeer,
and not begrudge what he enjoys-
this country ranch and wooden rails
that pacify the day's travails.
It's me alone against the world,
that's how it seems atop the crest
of wind-pushed wave; my upright wing
is punishing my arms and chest.
There's something thrilling just to know
it's me alone against the world,
as each gust lifts at breakneck speed,
and tempests keep the whitecaps swirled.
My aching fingers start to swell,
the hours linger through the day,
it's me alone against the world,
with nature's fury on display.
I've realized exotic dreams
of surfing with my sail unfurled,
The Great Lakes beg to take my bet,
it's me alone against the world.
He arrives every day to his spot
with his tackle and sunshading hat,
never mind that he can't tie a knot,
and no friends would be chewing the fat.
Before dawn he would wake yet again,
make his way to seclusion and calm,
his old jacket still shows where he's been-
Nicaragua and South Vietnam.
Recollections of battles still haunt,
but the lake seems to wash them away.
Being lonely is not what he'd want,
but it helps him keep nightmares at bay.
As he casts in his silent domain,
he finds angling a peaceful refrain.
The scenic beauty of the rolling hills,
of peaceful country, lulled by zephyr's touch,
draws those who manage time away from bills,
from urban clamor yuppies miss so much.
I often dreamed of living far away,
amid the pines and yellow aspen groves.
I'd build a home with nature on display,
a walk away from shaded lakeside coves.
The chirruping of innocence, of birds,
sing gentle serenades, massage my sense-
no longer would I need a choice of words,
a contrast from the hurried crowds' pretense.
I'd take my love out on the quaint lanai,
admiring landscapes and the country sky.
How will they use them?
the Potter asks, knowing,
as his earthen mass spins
and browns his hands.
Will they bring their port wine
to supper, or carry their grains,
employ the clay vessels
that befit his suffering?
No, he laments. Patrons
with his kiln-fired bowls
and the cisterns in glaze
will set upon mantles, on shelves,
soon hopeful for any glance
by those ambling by.
Perhaps they'll be handed
down through lifetimes of heirs,
only to be found
in crates of last effects.
Still, the Potter turns his wheel,
fights his sadness, and revels
in his artist's vision,
brethren around their table,
a bouquet so matching
its brilliant, hued vase, his,
the gathering now transfixed
Jack has published over 350 poems in his career, many with his own photography. He specializes in a view of the commonplace and Americana.