monday, may 2

there's a picture on the wall of kurt cobain
playing in this bar in like 1990
a good deal has happened since then
this bar doesn't even look like it did in 2004
or whenever it was i last lived in this town

hell in fact it seems like half this town looks
like a different place, on the level
of storefronts and tall buildings
they keep on building the same shit-tier
architecture, the built-environment equivalent
of flat-pack furniture, that accretes now on
every city in america with any surface
half-exposed to the money

(corrugated steel, beige and rust red, ugly glass,
carpet like the aisles of airplanes, nonfunctional
elements and facades at strange angles, rectangular cutouts
in things, the general heft and quality of a plastic vacuum cleaner
bought for $29.99 at target in 2012)

but then the streets are still wide
and the wind is still the nebraska wind
the music in here is still fuzzy and
thick with a certain kind of noise
in the grain of it, the beer is still cheap enough

and the college kids and the thin layer of
the hip, the downtown bar trade and
disaffected labor, the state government
functionaries—they're the same people,
the small town kids and the townies and
the oddball imports,
even if they aren't the same people exactly
i don't know these faces but i know these
faces pretty well

and do i miss it here?
like hell sometimes, if i'm honest
the row crops out there and the vast stupid
sky overhead, the desolation and the irrigation and
the nearness of all the mistakes that own the
configuration of the plains, the grass, the
fencelines and the cottonwoods and the
way the hills south of here roll through kansas,
ancient and riddled with fossils of forests and
seas unimaginable, the little rivers thick
with silt and the fucked-up reservoir projects
drowning the old farmhouses built themselves
on a legacy of thievery and slaughter,
and then too on broken sod and
endless work in the sun and dreaming freedom
like clean water, like some kind of transfiguration—