March 8, 2015

POETRY BY JOSEPH BUEHLER "MICHIGAN, UNKNOWN FRIENDS, TOWN AND COUNTRY"

Joseph Buehler lives in northern Georgia with his wife Trish.  He is a retired deputy property appraiser from Sarasota County, Florida.  He has published poetry in "Bumble Jacket Miscellany", "Defenestration", "Common Ground Review", "Theodate", "Mad Swirl", "The Write Room", "The Tower journal","Turk's Head Review", "The Stray Branch" and has an upcoming poem in the spring of 2015 in "Two Cities Review". 
 





 Michigan

 The city was a valley full of lights.

 Another day: spring: a raging fall of red earth-colored

 waters: Tahquamenon Falls at the top of the upper

 peninsula : more beautiful than Niagara. My mother

 and I shared it with strangers.

 While we toured a reconstructed fort, someone stuck an

 advertisement for it on the rear chrome bumper of our

 Chevrolet, but we didn’t really mind.

 I was lost once on that trip in a patch of Michigan woods.

 I somehow found my way back to the road. that we had

 been traveling on and then to my mother’s car, yet it was

 a panicked experience for most of an hour. I must have

 walked unknowingly in a semi-circle back through the woods

 The Ontario countryside of rolling hills and green meadows

 appeared very similar to Quebec’s. One difference was that

 the Quebec back roads showed an occasional emaciated figure

 of Jesus on a cross.

 Some of the Ontario roads had been carved out of small blue-

 gray shale mounds or knolls about ten feet or so high. I removed

 a few pretty rocks for souvenirs.

 Finally we returned to retrace our route back home. My mother

 and I lived on a farm in southern Michigan at that time which was

 flat country, but good for growing crops: wheat , oats and corn.

 Southern Michigan never gave you the same lonely feeling as did

 the upper peninsula Is it still as lonely up there or has it become

 more populated after all these years?

 Heading down that night, just after dusk, into the darkened valley

 toward those small-city Petoskey lights could actually, in those days,

 be called magical.



Unknown Friends

 The second run

 movie theater

 can be found

 behind the mall

 and is waiting

 patiently

 to embrace you

 within its

 cavernous walls

 of darkness for

 one dollar and

 ninety nine cents.

 Cool darkness too.

 Won’t you partake

 of the lovely candy

 and popcorn?

 Liquid refreshment?

 Forget your troubles for two hours

 and twenty five minutes while the

 surround sound system deafens you

 and blasts you into submission as you

 closely follow the story line until it’s

 finally finished and you move away with

 the sparse audience---your new temporary

 unknown friends---into the light again.

 Satisfied.



Town And Country

 A broad nose and large soft blue eyes. Blond hair.

 Overweight, but not obese. Wearing a cheap black cloth coat and a

 funny looking matching hat. She nervously walked through the streets

 of the small Michigan town. I was by her side, a little boy then. Or

 back on the farm where we lived: fried potatoes and maybe a roast for

 supper. She made lists of everything: what she was going to do next

 or tomorrow, what she needed at the grocery store when we went to

 town. We had home made sausage sometimes after her second husband

 and his friends butchered a fat hog, starting early, before the sun came up.

 Later, in Ohio, widowed, she lived close to her married daughter, Joyce.

 I was a young man by then. When we returned home from shopping to

 the small pink rented house, day time or night time, I would have to check

 under the beds and in the closets and behind the shower curtain in the bath-

 room for non-existent men. She could not live alone at night. After I married

 Trish and was gone from the little pink house, her niece or nephew had to take

 turns staying with her every evening.

 She always chose domineering men to marry. She was drawn to them somehow.

 They would tell her what to do, control her life. Then she would eventually leave

 them. My sister and I were products of her first marriage. Her second husband,

 the farmer, was reunited with her for a short time before he died of lung cancer

 from smoking cigarettes all his life. That happened in Columbus, Ohio.

 She moved in with her only daughter Joyce during the third and final marriage.

 Then her health gradually deteriorated. Now she very occasionally occupies my

 dreams where she is as real somehow as she was in life, even though the dreams,

 of course, are not.


~Joseph Buehler

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