Got Those Lonesome Blues in Smalltown Minnesota

       I’m awakened by American greed
       speeding through prairie night.
       There is nothing romantic about
       the ghostly howl of Burlington
       & Northern Railroad tankers
       hauling highly flammable crude
       that could incinerate this town.
       At midnight in a shotgun shack,
       I fear the railway & petroleum
       robber barons more than Isis
       & I fear senior citizen loneliness
       more than instant immolation.
       Darling, I was dreaming of you
       when trains pulled me awake
       & our wet lips parted ways.
       The last time we kissed
       was ten years ago while you
       rested, so sweet in your coffin.


       Brash is good
       but not his kind
       my clique agreed.
       Calculated & done
       for effect only, his
       brash was a whore
       & not a saintly one
       with a heart of gold.
       His life seemed contrived.
       He leered at the ladies
       but lusted (we’d heard)
       after young boys & we
       never knew if he knew
       we knew when his pistol
       erupted his brain

       We were not totally
       typical academic asshats
       & we wanted to be seen
       as devoutly collegial, so
       even though we really,
       really didn’t want to,
       we figured it would be
       good karma to visit
       his hospital bed so
       we went, but he didn’t
       know us & we did not
       know him. He was no
       longer brash & never
       would be again.
       We nodded, shrugged
       our way to our cars &
       sped off into the night
       with unspoken plans
       to subdue the coldest
       martinis in town.

Adrian C. Louis grew in northern Nevada and is an enrolled member of the Lovelock Paiute Tribe. From 1984-97, Louis taught at Oglala Lakota College on the Pine Ridge Reservation in SD. He recently retired as Professor of English at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall. His latest book of poems,Random Exorcisms, is available from Pleiades Press. WEB