Big Bridge #10

Export: Writing the Midwest


Alex Gildzen


"Elyria Poems" from Ohio Triangle

Straddling Third St.

in my imagination
I stand in the middle of the street
I point this way to the library
& that way to the Y

the roads I chose as a man
all startd here

the library was a stone mansion
with turret & balconies
& wraparound porch
I was as lost in its books
as in bodies
in the locker room
across the street

a church bought the library
& knockd it down
(so much for churches)
years later the Y
was torn down too

but because I'm walking
in my imagination
both buildings stand proud

I point this way to my head
& that way to my heart

for the rest of my life
I'm in the middle of Third St

Morning Cantata

train whistling past General Industries
wakes me in my boyhood bedroom

Dad's snore is base line
clock's metronome numbers my pulse

cars drone down Broad St
while I await twack of Plain Dealer on porch

I flail under sheets
hearing a morning long ago:

Mom hiding Disney figurines
around living room

& later telling her little boy
they were left by the Easter bunny

musics past & present
collide in my ears

till tears blotch wrinkles
under my eyes

time to get up gas the gridle
for Dad to flip flapjacks

Ely Park

from my bench
I see what I saw

Duke Ellington emerges
from the hotel no longer there

Lila Lee walks by
the history of film on her fragile shoulders

& right there by the courthouse steps
I stand & wave back at JFK as he speeds toward Dallas

on this gray september morning
I look past sprays of water in the central fountain

to the town hall that's stood there since 1867
(Sherwood Anderson walkd past it on the way to the paint factory)

Thomasson's Potato Chip truck glides down Broad
past law offices that used to be the Rivoli

in the other direction I see men in hardhats lay brick
for the 6th floor of a justice center rising from the rubble of the Y

I see young people at a picnic table
near the Civil War monument & wonder

if in 40 years any of them will return to this park
& see me sitting here today

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