My collection, William Greenway’s Selected Poems is from FutureCycle Press. Both my tenth and eleventh collections won Ohio Poetry Book of the Year Awards. I have published in Poetry, American Poetry Review, Georgia Review, Southern Review, Poetry Northwest, Shenandoah, and Prairie Schooner. I'm Distinguished Professor of English at Youngstown State University.
The Never Summer Mountains
is what the Arapaho named them.
Where Dodge, my “gentle” plodder,
bolts at a whiff of bear we never see.
I choke the pommel as he tries to pick me
from the saddle with a leprous aspen tree.
At dinner, Monty the Mounted Mountain Lion,
starved by a busted paw, and stuffed high
on a shelf, looks wistfully down at the huge
nape of a tree-limb-antlered elk
emerging from the river-stone chimney
above the fireplace,
but both of their marble-y brown, melancholy eyes
also seem to follow us around the chinked-log-cabin lodge
of this “guest ranch” of pool tables,
ping-pong, Foosball, massage and exercise rooms,
a dude ranch run by dudes, the owners
a Nudie-booted couple from New York,
the youngster staff on summer holidays
from pricey southern and eastern schools,
and then taught so well: totally,
absolutely, wonderful, perfect, no problem.
My cowpoke guide wants to work
on Wall Street, already buys up
the foreclosed houses of Waco
and sells them at a profit.
Two faux teepees stand in the back meadow
where I fish in the dammed and pampered pond,
the rainbows expected to be accommodating
as the rest of the staff, who say, this morning,
a live cougar has been seen nearby,
and a black bear and cubs rumored to be roaming
the still-spring-snow above the timberline,
that we’ll take Sadie, the fat,
dude-ranch dog and a camera
and go hunting if I stay long enough,
long enough, that is, for summer
to come back.
My Courthouse Summer
The first was just jury duty, and while I
puzzled my crosswords, her lawyer pleaded
her out, pregnant crackhead
with a hundred-dollar-a-day habit.
Then the junkie who cuts my grass
and shovels my snow dangles bling at me
with barcodes and price tags still on.
Garbed in day-glo orange, he’s brought in
girdled and shackled by holstered fat men in gray,
Mounty-capped, black leather belts fangled
with pistols, bullets, nightsticks, the glint
of silver cuffs.
And then this afternoon, the judge, sour,
henna-haired old bag, banc nearly high
as the ceiling, “dissolved” my marriage
of thirty years, just more salt washing
back to the sea.
Sinners all, waiting rooms full
of those either going to jail
or sending someone there (Jesus
or Judas), each of us belonging
just where we should be (why else
would they call it justice?),
the guilty and the guiltier
wishing some advocate
would plead us out, innocent
by reason of inanity,
or advise that we confess
to ever being born.
©2016 William Greenway
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