Listening to “Sandusky”

I must learn how
to describe each tiny movement
from solid green to a yellow brushed with red breaking 

into orange without  
these blocks of language. I turn up the volume
when this instrumental plays—sweet 

guitar sings vocal lines, the human voice
at rest. Seductively rich
baritone be still 

for these moments, while I work
on my lesson, a thing I am to practice
with my soul—
without a bridge.

Say the Word—Hotel

Hungover without
a drink, journals
are meant to be written— 

not read. Why does she
keep them? Why toss them
out? She could donate them 

to a sculptor
who might rehab their pages
into fiber and matter 

for a piece
of public art. Would the characters
she described, reconstituted, dreamed 

back then want
their say in the replacement 

of their sketchy heads,
insubstantial torsos, free
floating feet, even sketchier 

souls. Would they? Would 

the new artist listen,
understand, care?
Doubtful. He would be 

listening to his own
noise—not theirs, not hers.
She always relinquishes 

her power, struggles
with steps to the greater 

It’s been years since she visited
the bonfire behind the old hotel, 

since she was willing
to sacrifice a hero, or two,
for the sake 

of someone’s sanity. Plain
garden variety walks on
solid ground. She’d be lying 

if she denied
there were any new ones
to release into the communal 

burn. Then again,
they are never
really hers to offer. 

And she’s no hero, so no 

self-sacrifice will
do. She keeps walking 

down this steep hill
humming a tune
she thinks she made up. 

You and I know she didn’t.

Father of Minneapolis Parks

The first in the city
to have electric
lights. A hinge 

to flex downtown
lane over lane flung
onto outdoor sculpture 

with a cherry on
top. I’m at the bottom
of this brown hill 

imagining a summer
evening: Civil
twilight and a great blue 

heron—my current hero’s
plugging in
near the Dandelion 

Fountain. He wouldn’t get too close
to the water. Weeds are wild 

flowers with a bad reputation. 

The way I build up,
demolish, recreate
my heroes, mine could be worse.