Iowa Writes

MICHAEL MEYERHOFER
THE INDIANA BLUES


Next stop, Walmart, says the bus driver
over the intercom as his steel-gray vehicle
cruises by my corner apartment
once every forty-five minutes, on the dot,
all day from sunrise to sunset.

I guess I could just shut the window.
But my cat likes to fold like half-hearted origami
in the breeze and stare at the law office
from whence spill blushing teenagers
still shaking off their Friday hangovers.

Today, the downtown church bells
are busy piping out their pre-recorded hymns
to drown out the Toby Keith songs
emanating from pick-up trucks with steel nuts
sparking beneath the license plates.

This is Muncie–home to a closed jar factory,
tattooed libertarians, and a university
of failed writers trying to inspire
the next crop of millennial farm boys
moonlighting as slam poets on weekends.

White River looks muddy this season,
bellying along between banks of tiger lilies.
Friends complain of property taxes,
the latest edition of The Norton Reader,
the openly gay barista at Starbuck's.

Then my lover stops by with news:
the Cancer Center might lose its funding,
already she's been asked to give up
her private office and stapler.
I tell her it's our memories that kill us.

Next stop, Walmart, says the bus driver
over the intercom as his steel-gray vehicle
cruises by my corner apartment
once every forty-five minutes, on the dot,
all day from sunrise to sunset.

I guess I could just shut the window.
But my cat likes to fold like half-hearted origami
in the breeze and stare at the law office
from whence spill blushing teenagers
still shaking off their Friday hangovers.

Today, the downtown church bells
are busy piping out their pre-recorded hymns
to drown out the Toby Keith songs
emanating from pick-up trucks with steel nuts
sparking beneath the license plates.

This is Muncie–home to a closed jar factory,
tattooed libertarians, and a university
of failed writers trying to inspire
the next crop of millennial farm boys
moonlighting as slam poets on weekends.

White River looks muddy this season,
bellying along between banks of tiger lilies.
Friends complain of property taxes,
the latest edition of The Norton Reader,
the openly gay barista at Starbuck's.

Then my lover stops by with news:
the Cancer Center might lose its funding,
already she's been asked to give up
her private office and stapler.
I tell her it's our memories that kill us.

Still, the fired bricks of Old National Bank
climb skyward like palms minus fingers,
still the whitetails stray onto Cardinal Greenway
and nibble on the roses of Minnetrista
where art majors hang construction paper.

Tonight, I will stop to smoke a joint
in an alley named after David Letterman.
I will pretend to like Garfield cartoons.
And if anyone asks me where I'm from,
I'll look them right in the eye and say: Iowa.

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About Iowa Writes

Since 2006, Iowa Writes has featured the work of Iowa-identified writers (whether they have Iowa roots or live here now) and work published by Iowa journals and publishers on The Daily Palette. Iowa Writes features poetry, fiction, or nonfiction twice a week on the Palette.

In November of 2008, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Iowa City, Iowa, the world's third City of Literature, making the community part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Iowa City has joined Edinburgh, Scotland and Melbourne, Australia as UNESCO Cities of Literature.

Find out more about submitting by contacting iowa-writes@uiowa.edu


MICHAEL MEYERHOFER

Michael Meyerhofer's second book, Blue Collar Eulogies, was published by Steel Toe Books. His first, Leaving Iowa, won the Liam Rector First Book Award. His work has appeared in Ploughshares, Hayden's Ferry, North American Review, Arts & Letters, River Styx and other journals, and can be read online at www.troublewithhammers.com

This page was first displayed
on February 14, 2011

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