were you there when the rains began to fall?
oh, flood walls, and drowned it all
with thunder, thunder, thunder

well the drumming thunder roll
bullied in from the gulf of mexico
out to the parched sands of idaho
pummeled down the rockies' slick slope
i was sat in the shade of a tupelo
brown baggin' in the heart of amarillo
drunk sick on the wine of conoco
mad rushed from the font of the oil spill
the clamorous clouds had horns of a devilgoat
closed in like an ancient cupola
polyfaceted saints made cameos
ronny reagan, augustine, amerigo
hot rain drops the size of golf balls
beat down the dank dust like a timpani
and the pasty gods of olympia
girded up their sick loins for a holy war

were you there when the fires began to burn?
oh, tongue-tied, and fried it all
to ashes, ashes, ashes

well the tongues came lapping low
crackled out from the evening radio
you could feel in your face the fire blow
bunkered up on your roof in toledo
eating your meat and potato
beer and a bag of dorito
they were promising flames, the weathermen,
they forecasted an army of mexicans
the blast came at a ghosted rodeo
on the asphalt parking lot of a texaco
sparked with the fire of magazines
soaked in the maddening wine of gasoline
rolled quick and loud to the gulf of mexico
where the ghosted often go
swallowed the conservative plains of ohio
and the hippy-ass commies of san fransisco
there was a gone-rogue ghost of a nasa satellite
with a reasonable antipathy for the globe
wielding a cosmic camera
captured the bubbling skin of america
ever charred bone, every socket hole, bursted ventricle
of every cat, every democrat was comical
every slash, every burn it found magical,
looped eternally in a sick digital slow-mo

were you there when the ground began to cool?
oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble.


from sketches around a city, released September 4, 2011




peter j hochstedler South Bend, Indiana

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