I stand alone below the Gate to the West.
The clouds mounted below me grow too much
for my imagination. I duly feed the keystone
holding up my youth. Lincoln is in the White House
when dreams reside with the people.
The rough waters around the White House pond
stand in the back of the war. Abe places a willow
branch before the headstone where the future
will soon lie. Depending on which side wins,
depends which lie will be told. Abraham,
the manic-depressive, soon sides with the Gothic South,
then with the Industrial North.
His feelings are resentment for the conflict
between a great castle and a lesser clergy.
His books of law lay on the table near the kitchen,
yet his spectacles are lost in the castle.
His illustration of the front is waving in wheat
near the principle of this nobleman's sleep.
The language of Spanish waves through
the horse-drawn plough. It is connected
to an airstrip where Barack would speak of candles
lighting a country fighting for its boyhood.
St. Louis is upriver from the willow tree.
Her sleep sounds in the river.
Her message floats by a tugboat.
A raft crawls near the shore. Abe's defiance
wakes several congregations in Iowa.
Lincoln retrieves a painting.
It is a bloody ending to a story that now has no end.
Robert Frost knows about tramps.
He is lyric in mud time. Casey's song stops
at all the small towns. Wake her not last night
if it were only music seen through the fire.
Speak to Frost. He sends me apples by bushels
of extra innings.
My company may be melancholy,
yet you will find me in river traffic and on railways.
You will meet me at Fort Defiance State Park.
Here, at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers,
a willow tree stands. Here, in the age of social science,
I find the whole country. If you bring my message
to the fringes of society, then I will expect you to cast
a line back into the rough waters of the hierarchy.
If you bring me to a hypnotist, then I will reverse
the sleep of Cairo, Illinois.
We have no victory now, only a muse that marches
on through generation. If you give me a war
instead of a playground, then I will talk to Homer
in the corner on the beaches. If you build a sand castle
on this avenue, then I will anchor it above the arch
of your sleep. If you give me a private driveway
connected to an airstrip, then I will fly to work
instead of walk. If you bring me to a St. Louis baseball game,
then I will leave you in extra innings with the voice
of the Cardinals. I will leave you with the fountain of youth
and float into the West.