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November 28, 2014

Ain’t no Winter in Oatman. {Poem}

oatman2

Hotel thrown together in 1902,

with a red dress,

a tattoo,

the exact stroke of blue,

millions of dollar bills,

yellowish hue.

 

A lover or a wife?

tea spoon or razor-sharp knife?

Single out the lady from Glasgow,

a ball of anchorless flame,

opting out of the easy ridge stroll,

following curiosity and wish to her end,

choosing her own contentment sensibly,

Her tracks aren’t just packed down,

but painted,

and engraved,

and emblazoned.

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In these shallow arroyos

and grease-covered hills,

blowing dust zones,

the Christmas spirit of cotton bales,

fried in butter

and sweeping heat,

life,

spaciously allotted.

Catching our breath,

smiling in silence,

with the lowering sun in our faces.

 

Away from the narrow road

to the deep north,

surges of black smoke

rising from diesel engines,

working hands,

dry, cracked and split,

hunting and fishing bullsh*t,

walleye with tumors,

trout with skin lesions.

 

She lives in a town of sorry history,

indifferent to ethical perspectives,

apathetic to female attributes,

cargo and trunk liners,

spilled oil in the garage,

telephone poles shaped like liquor bottles,

sustaining burly weather,

cardiac distressing cold,

tobacco and mortality,

lying face-up on the bar’s concrete floor,

no one can waste a life

faster than a Montana redneck.

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Oatman

You, perched high on a boulder,

I can sit on a bench,

I don’t mind.

 

Magnesite rings,

a sandy path

stippled with scruffy artisans.

Blowing dust area,

shallow clearing before a precipice,

do not enter when flooded,

palm tree farms,

practicalities of stamping mills,

wild burros multiplying,

ready for adoption,

smelling water from 20 miles away,

white one’s aggressive.

 

Fabrication or welding shops

of carroty clay,

recollections in the expanding dusk,

gravel pits and meth explosions,

gun ranges and re-opened gold mines.

Indian pencil sharpeners.

White Chief Mine.

Night Owl Road.

 

Her moral obligation

to keep our hearts entwined.

Her preeminent love,

smelling like life,

in a good way,

familiar like an ancient woodcut,

a private postcard in the midst of a crowd,

in an old T-shirt to soak up the memories,

committed to recycling life,

repairing the nucleus.

 

Her spirit certainly established

during the present disaster…

 

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Author: Brian D’Ambrosio

Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock

Photo: courtesy of the author

 

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