Selected poems from circle city satoris — D.A. Lockhart

King Oliver Rises above Georgia Street and Devours this not so Empty Night.

Need the day have begun
with a Revelations sermon
thrown down from atop
the Pan-Am Plaza. Something
of the unholy trinity of God,
politics, and Pro Football. All
of it as inevitable as a Bud Light
Hotel and the swell of people
after sundown at the biggest
corporate giveaway this side
of election season. Necessary

in the way that Georgia Street
burns blue into the darkness
before a five letter Super Bowl.
All that matters is the narration
and the wishful thinking
of crowd control. As that street
party before another post millennial
football game gives way to crushed
plastic cups, discarded wristbands,
and the hush of trash collections
and red-brick sweepers, this receding
day demands a sermon of its trinity.

And so it follows, a three-piece horn
section hanging out the second floor
window and Mule Face Blues peeling
past the stragglers, like us, crawling on
in the aftermath of the things we have been
instructed to consume. Foot stomping
melody and atavistic phrasing cry out
a sermon worthy a lifetime rising out
of poverty and every name to be saved
from a corporately branded lake of fire.

The belief with each improvised verse
that this night shall too burn off into another
sermon above the stragglers of a crowd
aware that every night is only as empty
as the words that directly preceded it.

 

Rain Comes to Indy

Utility posts throw crooked light
and turn rainfall into streaks
of comet tails as if all the Earth
spins in the aftermath
of the great seething calamity
of creation. With each minute
they fall harder, striking pavement
in a frantic rush.
Individual imperceptible impacts
bleeding into wide dark puddles
on uneven asphalt.

And you need a smoke
because it’s what you’ve seen
in black and white films about Chicago
in prohibition American.
And because that little red
heater stands out in the night air
like your own personal helios
made to revolve around you.

Alone this is easy to do.

Standing in that bus shelter
waiting for a light to change
or the rain to stop. Beyond you
the night is filled with a hundred
thousand particles of creation
falling and you don’t see
cars coming
or going either way
on Washington,
just headlights.

And while you wait
you recall that rain
washes the streets clean.
Or so the myth
of Noah’s flood ends.

 

From This Tilled Out Earth

Cigarette drops from mouth to hip
and the chinook of smoke
moves Indiana towards
night. All the while you know
that he talks jacked up
on MGD about the failures
of NASCAR and UFOs
outside of Hartford City,
smile like headlights off
a mile maker because a life
lived in the heartland
is worth seven anywhere else.

Beyond that fragrant ember
he admits Three Dog Night,
or least their bass work
on Golden Biscuits, helped
free us all from Motown
bubblegum pop. Everything
after that could be cool
but never great in the way
it could have been before
firing howitzers at Vietnamese
hillsides. Redemption is
about how the band moves
between the third verse
and chorus and of One
is the Loneliest Number
because man ain’t never evolved
past the moment they laid
that line down on vinyl.

Firing the dying light
into tall freshly watered
lawn, he preaches
that a man can’t ask
God for any more
from this tilled out earth
than three guys in key
and a steady granite-
thick bit of bass work.

 

Westward through Rivoli Park on Michigan Street

The curtains, they crack
like thunder muffled through
tree branches and thick leaves.
Second story windows thrown
wide open to early evening heat,
while the world spins by
in discarded shopping carts
orphaned fast food wrappers,
half-assed graffiti on burnt out houses,
and the slow pedal of an elderly man,
against traffic, bag of tall boys
swinging like a metronome.

He returns home in the heat
of the day. Sure and steady
as if muscle memory could
be awoken from antediluvian
roots and shown the desperate
cry of wide open window
and crack of long forgotten
curtains trying to find a way out.

 

Skyline from Arsenal Tech

Tonight
the skyline burned
yellow,
blue,
orange,
open against
the September sky.

A stray dog galloped
across the nearby soccer field,
an escapee from freight lines
and the city arsenal.

Beacons atop the Chase Tower
pulled red from that sunset,
clouds turned asphalt dark.
And there was restful peace
in the braying of freight trains
as they slid by,
beneath the shadows
cast by a dimly lit
cluster of things
we wanted to be.


D.A. Lockhart – Born in Chatham, ON and raised in Windsor, ON, D.A. Lockhart holds degrees from Trent University, Montana State University, and Indiana University. He is a graduate of the Indiana University – Bloomington MFA in Creative Writing program where he held a Neal-Marshall Graduate Fellowship in Creative Writing. His work has appeared in the Windsor Review, Sugar House Review, Hawk and Whipporwill, Straylight Literary Magazine, and Construction among others. He is a recipient of Canada Council for the Arts grant for Aboriginal People and Ontario Arts Council grants for his poetry. He is a research consultant and is editor-in-chief for Urban Farmhouse Press based out of Windsor, Ontario, Canada. He is a member of the Moravian of the Thames First Nation.

ImageLamp post in the rain., © Seth Thomas Rasmussen, Creative Commons