Early Morning in Milwaukee (excerpt)
by John Koethe
Is this what I was made for? Is the world that fits
Like what I feel when I wake up each morning? Steamclouds
Hovering over the lake, and smoke ascending from ten thousand chimneys
As in a picture on a calendar, in a frieze of ordinary days?
Beneath a sky of oatmeal gray, the land slides downwards from a Kmart parking lot
Into a distance lined with bungalows, and then a vague horizon.
Higher and higher, until its gaze becomes a part of what it sees,
The mind ascends through layers of immobility into an unfamiliar atmosphere
Where nothing lives, and with a sense of finally breaking free
Attains its kingdom: a constructed space, or an imaginary city
Bordered all around by darkness; or a city gradually sinking into age,
Dominated by a television tower whose blue light warns the traveler away.
(Find the poem in its entirety here.)
PHOTO: Aerial view of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, by Janvdb95, used by permission.