Three Rivers – A life in water

I came across this three part poem that I wrote a while back but never got to use for anything.  So I figured might as well set it adrift on the river of the interwebs.

Three Rivers – A life in water

Standing on a bridge looking out over
an even muddy sheet of blown-out river,
muddy and swollen, a mess, a muddy mess.
The fly rod stays in the car.
I’m leaning with elbows on the rail,
chin cupped and expectations
adrift downstream, somewhere drowning.
The river is blind and where are the riffs,
the runs, the pockets that know me?
This river doesn’t know my name.
This is not my river.
My river is gone.
Left last night,
in the rain.

A small boy launches a paper boat
down the gutter.
The red bricks of the road are slick.
The white paper boat
tosses along the
street. The red house,
the cherry blossoms,
the petals falling from the rain,
landing as mayflies dropping their eggs.
The white boat
sails the gutter stream.

Silken current reflects
blue sky and green willows.
Weeping low white scudding
clouds beg forgiveness
and pass across the sun.
The caddis silvers with emergence
a bubble of mercury lifting
that worm to the air,
to the light.
When I come back from an evening rise they tell me
“A mink killed a rabbit in the yard.”
I grab a beer that
chilled too long in the freezer,
and so overflows with beer slush.
“Jesus, help me find my proper place…” Lou Reed sings on the stereo.

4 Comments on Three Rivers – A life in water

  1. It took me a moment to get the connection at the end, the loop back to stanza 1. Pretty cool. So which album is the Reed reference from?

    • Thanks for the critical reading Walt – I could use more of that. I think you uncovered something for me with your insight.

      The song is “Jesus” on the third Velvet Underground album. It repeats the single verse. See below. It’s a delicate and beautiful song that I can only imagine comes from a painful place.

      Jesus, help me find my proper place
      Jesus, help me find my proper place
      Help me in my weakness
      ‘Cos I’m falling out of grace

  2. Anthony,
    Thanks for the lyrics in question. I no longer have that album, but as you sing out the lines here, the music comes washing back. I can’t get enough of those progressive albums from the late 60s thru the early 70s. Meanwhile I’ll be looking forward to more of your poems.

what say you?