Saturday, July 1, 2017

A Place In Summer

Image result for 4th of july lake mohawk 

A Place In Summer

Staring out a sullied summer window
amid the misty morning sun,
neighbors intimately gather
on the way to a lake in summer,
a day and night of  barbeque, beer,
horseshoes, fireworks, and stories—
funny, stirring, semi-apocryphal tales,
getting more confessional as darkness falls,
while I, washed ashore in a tempest
remain exiled, alone in a container,
caught unexpectedly by July 4th’s
bright expectant smile restlessly staring,
isolation’s burden too much to bare,
I venture out searching for a place in summer,
Ned Merrill, The Swimmer, on a bicycle
sojourning northwest from Ann Arbor,
planning to find home by nightfall,
pedaling on the steamy backroads
of Washtenaw and Livingston counties,
wandering through Dexter, Hudson Mills,
Pinkney, Webster, Half-Moon Lake and Hamburg,
passing fading seasonal ice cream shops,
unkempt orchards obscuring mills,
boarded-up, dreaming of Fall,
corn fields, row-upon-row, knee high by July,
cranking crested weather-vanes atop old Dutch barns,
 maple, birch, oak and elm, seasonally adorned,
showing-off summer’s finest green,
firethorn and potentilla scattered among hibiscus
blooming in feckless shades of sapphire and rose,
 odd vehicles, adorned in red, white, and blue
pulling ramshackle floats parading Lady Liberties’,
disputable beauty queens heading for Main Street, America
pleased they’ve finally been recognized
by the ragged small town entourages trailing merrily behind,
males secretly wondering if they’re doing the right thing,
 a proud Grandma beaming  at the world’s most beautiful princess.

When a weary westbound sun set its heart to dusk,
I came upon Whitmore Lake and hurriedly peddled
to quaint cottages hoping to find a place in summer—
sanctuaries handed down generation to generation,
with flowering gardens watched over by timeworn gnomes—
busy-bodies demanding to know your business,
sun-dials, wind-chimes and blazing grills
surrounded by artic colored folk blushing pink,
partaking in the three-month Michigan ritual,
reading Cheever and Twain, waiting for night—
fireworks, more beer, then a midnight slow-dance
near a lake shimmering white under a giant rising moon,
a cherished phonograph spinning,  A Summer Place
crackling softly through lace curtains fluttering,
spellbound lovers swirl, one amongst the stars.

When gentle remnants of light,
consumed by insistent moments of darkness
overtake Main Street, a clear-felled night
exposes a stranger, alone,
among other fragile creatures more sheltered then he—
wanting to belong, pretending delight
amidst America’s greatest summer show,
lost in the exploding rainbow colored mess,
when mercifully, from clearing smoke rising,
an angel, a hospitable summer lake legacy,
gifted, able to feel longing, knowing emptiness—
giving comfort before sending me with on my way
with a beer, slap-on-the-back and a prayer for the road,
on the long journey home.

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