Nebraska 37: ‘Sidewalk NYC, 1954’ by Michael Catherwood

You never do find out what makes you tick, and after a while it’s unimportant.
― Norman Mailer

Norman Mailer is shadow boxing at the curb.
The curb is cornered, no place to duck
and Norm’s going in for the knockout. He works
the inside, pounding the mortar. He tucks

his chin tight like an owl, squares his shoulders
where the tar and the cement meet.
The light is falling, both traffic and sky. The smolder
of taverns and cafes begins to sing

in neon. The blurs in storefront windows glow
like ribbons. The curb lays back. Shadows fail
and Norman boxes in the evening’s dark scene.
Suddenly there are no curbs or sidewalks. Now

the stars glide and arc in their contrails
and Norman concedes to the quiet breeze.

© Michael Catherwood

Nebraska 35*: ‘On the Last Day of School’ by J.J. McKenna

On the last day of school
four in a cherry red Ford
cruising topdown
long hair flying

wind lifting their laughter
their spirits rising now
this day this time

© J.J. McKenna

* A reminder that this series of ‘Nebraska’ poets, the State of my birth, includes poets/writers also born in Nebraska, or linked through residence, education and/or teaching there.

In all cases copyright remains with the authors. Having not sought permission to post, I trust writers are nonetheless happy to be represented in this celebration of their ‘roots’ and work, but I would obviously remove any such posts were I asked to do so by the authors.


(for K)

This morning was good for me,
but not you,

my walking in to our town,
November-crisp and a clear blue sky with sun shining,

passing by that one other thing
you wanted to see on this visit –

too late now with your boarding the long flight back home
as I write –

such an enormous new-build of older people’s apartments
to dwarf the thatched restaurant by its side and

those houses directly opposite the stream,
their years of a beautiful view you’ll once have seen

also completely destroyed,
walls of red brick never to be pretty like the

fallen autumn leaves on that footbridge
over the river as I returned home,

so many still fresh, if pastel, and the few
vibrant orange

or as I still see this
wonderful colour.