Wichita Lineman

In the raw New Mexican morning
“Wichita Lineman” on the Delco
eggs and coffee at the townie cafe
all stick-figure kitchen chairs
a flag and a snowy 12-inch

Cowboy hats and thick-framed glasses
stares at the hippie kids
“The West” foreign as Bagdad
to a Bronx boy
uneasy wonder, unleashed desire
every mile, every town
every magic mountain vista
every flat forever
California to be charmed finally
from its dreamscape

‘America, I’ll Have My Way With You’ — Book Release

My latest chapbook of poetry, America I’ll Have My Way With You (Casa del Pueblo Press, 2015) was released during a book signing party and reading last week in Pueblo, Colorado, home of Casa and the Pueblo Poetry Project. It was the seventh time over the past 30 years that I’ve been the featured reader at a project event. (Copies are $6 each, postage included, and can be purchased by sending a check made out to Allen Shadow to P.O. Box 268, Catskill, N.Y. 12414.)

Cover of poetry chapbook  "America, I'll Have My Way With You"

Cover of poetry chapbook “America, I’ll Have My Way With You”

I began the America series after returning from a trip to Mexico in the summer of 2001. I’ve come to love some of my subjects, some of which are places — like New York, America. Love them so much they become personages to me, even paramours of a kind. Let’s face it, writers can get very personal with their subjects. Returning to a beloved place can reinvigorate your feelings, like returning to your longtime lover after a journey. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, but it also opens the eyes wider.

The poems in the series are written in a style called “direct address.” Think of it as writing a heartfelt letter to a loved one. In this case, it’s this whole wide, mysterious country I’ve wanted so bad to know. To me, she is like a temptress who has hold of you, keeps you hungry, keeps you wanting more.

I offer one of the poems from the chapbook as a sample:

America, I’ll Have My Way With You #136
August 17, 2001

Thank you for waiting, America
for my return from Mexico
your Lucite furniture store letters
your neglected window displays
your sandstone and faux brick face
your stairways to nowhere
at ajar doorways
your Dutch pediments
your ants and cigarette butts
your warehouse alarm housings
your dense August afternoons
lunchroom turbines whirring
dishes clanking in the alleyways

Your semis abandoned in vacant lots
your hashed roofs
your bricked up factories
your sun cut warehouse walls
your sea birds one hundred miles
from the ocean on the Hudson

Oh America, I love you
I’ve always loved you
even with your one eye
your misshapen hips
your iron nipples