Three Poems

Frank Juarez Gallery Tour

Sweeping midwestern
landscape of apricotted sky
abstracted fields of line and color
freeways harvest
cornfield topography
art emotes land with gifted brush
third ward galleries brush against smoked 
industrial valley
imagine charcoal

Frank Juarez our guide
from gallery to gallery
we cut through cream city alleys
patina-ed narrows where
windows squint through nailed-on boards
glance towards dumpster's 
tilted lurch
his mama once worked in a factory here

alleys orient our compass
every time we step out
from their shadows
dazzling sunshine window
glass offsets brick along its detail craft
could have been Portland, Toronto, or

at lunch there are exotic
urban flavor drinks
martini-ed Motown
melodies wonderful
Frank Juarez shares his fries


B-boys of Green Bay

Asian b-boys in Green Bay
breakdance in Boys and Girls clubs
in Madison gyms they session, too
Menasha, Minneapolis, and Milwaukee

story re-writes itself in those who move
cultures fuse to dream anew
right foot lifts and steps aside
followed by the left
yet the center always holds
mid-western cyphers ground this dance
gravity partners with defiance
they fly in the placid face of it

South Bronx lynched in '70s style
freeway strangulation
fuels spontaneous combustion
Kafka jives to a Latin beat where
all that fly are colors
two turntables spin to just one song
layers of loose linoleum whirl helicopter legs
dizzy headspins on cardboard sheets
remnants of desire
windmills shrug off concrete floors

far to the west a mountain people
also lived on slash and burn 'til opium
smoked their crops to cash
alchemy of imperialism bespoke a
golden triangle secret
war and hidden trail
hunger's flight through clicking steps
of landmines and helicopters hurling souls
scattering winds
extended clans gone nuclear

b-boy flies up off the floor
released from footwork, spins, and one-armed stands
statues himself to a landing freeze
integrity gestures to the ground
because all your pieces and all your steps 
and the way in which you rock the beat
dance the very math of funk so that
two against three adds up to One


River of Industry

They've put motorcycles
in a museum
masculinity's sacred
fire of freedom
clamped down to racks
carried in on wheeled trucks
past factory frames
slatted ribs to protect thin air

human fingers can weave through diamonds
chains link together
form double-crossed views as
dollars flee
fenced-out or
just fenced

last summer they brought in Elvis'
first motorcycle
we turned our darkened faces to the light

only the truly miserable
seem not to notice
when things get worse
this river never danced in
spectacle of flame
just a throbbing clotted tide
run dim
long live the King

—Sylvia Cavanaugh, Sheboygan, WI