Nebraska 28: ‘Nebraska’ by Michael Dumanis

I could play the accordion
so I was selected for the amateur propaganda team.
It was very cold. I had to stop up the hole in my shoe.
I used the lid of a tin can.

As far as I can tell, there’s nothing
trustworthy about my experience of reality.
I stand on one leg. I stand on the other leg.
I rotate my arms clockwise

and call this exercise. In the home movie
I recognize my coat. Taking my turn
with the mechanical bull at Uncle Ron’s
Wild West Saloon I hold on for as long as a minute.

So little happens on a given day,
which is why I play the accordion
until I am riddled with someone’s applause,
which is why I drive to Arthur County to see

the hay bale church and the world’s smallest courthouse.
If I was a blue jay or some kind of robin
I would fly figure-eights over the cottonwoods.
Despite the wind, I would not curse the wind.

The future is a rumor like the past.
The new anxiety supplants the old anxiety.
The continent I stand my ground on drifts,
which is why I have asked you to marry me.

I am solid gold, I say, and I am capable
of loving you until the final asteroid
hides Omaha under an ocean of ash,
but you’re unavailable.

They were on their way to the ocean
when they made their minds up to stay here.
The grass was so tall they picked wildflowers
without stepping down from their horses.

We are all so lucky. It is terrifying.
It is a blue sky day for all the freezingness.
I blink into the chasm of sunlight endlessly.
I forget my life, but then I remember my life.

Copyright © 2016 Michael Dumanis

Returning to my Nebraska theme having come across this poem – I love the lines until I am riddled with someone’s applause and loving you until the final asteroid / hides Omaha under an ocean of ash.

And learning: I have never been to Arthur – in my childhood of growing up in Omaha, Nebraska – so was unaware of the Pilgrim Holiness Church [constructed originally of hay bales, as, apparently, were around 70 properties in the Sandhills region between 1896-1945]

Arthur Pilgrim Holiness Churh - Copy

Nor was I aware of its other claim to architectural specialty, the First Arthur County Courthouse and Jail, built in 1914 and 1915, the world’s smallest, allegedly

Arthur, Nebraska - Copy

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s