in town

 peace rock

I wasn’t lying when I said I like it here

in this gritty pretty town.

Sure, many people around

float dangerously close to despair,

flatten all expression from their eyes-

I’ve stood behind them at the grocery store

as they counted out cash

for cigarettes and dog food.

I smiled at the cashier when it came my turn,

paid for my rubber toilet plunger

with my own exhausted,

wrinkled one dollar bills.

There are hardships in any town,

the beat-down of life, the plumbing,

the mud, the dry cough of the homeless man

sitting on a stone half-hidden

by weedy bushes, the graffiti slogans.

(Some lovely philosophies,

some spit and drips and anger.)

And sure, someone stole our birdfeeder.

Sure, I’m adrift and unemployed.

But the spring comes running into puddles

as I walk across the railroad tracks,

and my head is overflowing with poetry.



Weather.  It happens.  We talk about it.  Right now the weather is snow, and I am rather enjoying that.  I always get happy when I see snowflakes falling from the sky, especially when there are a lot of them, even though I know that a snowstorm means danger on the roads for some people, and a lot of work moving snow out of the way for everyone, especially my dad.  But the weather is a community event.  We all experience this snow.  For the past week, everyone around here has been anticipating a big, big storm, and talking about it, fearing it, bracing for it, eager for it.  Basically, I wanted to write this blog just to share one little story about that anticipation.  It’s not even my own story, but I liked it so much I decided to pass it on anyway.  So, yesterday, S went to the library.  There was a longer line there than usual, she said, and everyone seemed to have armloads of books and movies.  According to the librarian, this happens all the time when bad weather is predicted.  Some people go to the grocery store when a storm is coming, she said, and some people go to the library.

That makes me happy.


Yesterday some dude in Rutland stabbed another dude in the Walmart parking lot, in broad daylight.  They were fighting about $40 one guy apparently owed the other guy.  Forty dollars!  Doesn’t seem worth it.  But I guess anger (and possibly drugs) can make you do crazy things, things you wouldn’t do in a calm, rational state-of-mind.  And I would theorize that the one with the knife didn’t mean to actually kill the other guy.  Still, this is like a two minute walk from where I live, and it happened in a place I walk through all the time to get downtown, right by the Amtrak station.  I think, technically, that we live on the “wrong” side of the tracks, although Rutland is a working-class town all over.  And I do like that about it here, that it’s not all touristy and pretentious.  Let’s just say that if some guy says I owe him forty bucks, I’m probably not going to get aggressive back at him, especially if I happen to be in the vicinity of Walmart at the time.  I’m going to run!