Poetry 2011 / Volume 42

Reminiscing About Hoffa at the Ivy Rose Motor Inn — D.A. Lockhart

On the upper catwalk, above the radiating black top of the parking lot below,
an orange sun slips beneath slow bursts of cloud and is framed by paint caked railings.
I watch over fifties, maybe forties, peach walls and patched tar roofs, watch as they
give way to the steady sprawl of city as it pushes away from the river at an even horizon.
Across the strip mall and smoke stack expanse, Jimmy Hoffa vanished thirty-five years ago
beneath similar skies. Skies that now build towards a bluish, whitish, pinkish crescendo.

Blurred lines of cars move past carrion splattered curbs and skim rust stained sidewalks.
Sidewalks left empty in the growth of night and the approaching curtains of rain.
The junkyard next store billows smoke the colour of bruises, threatening
in steady upward thrusts in advance of approaching rain. Rain that could separate
metal from air and wash the carrion clean away. The air around me holds a metallic bite
of consumed car parts, the odour of an imminent storm held at a river’s distance.

In a room below, the rattle of bottles becomes muffled voices
less hushed, somewhat violent in their embrace of the darkness of leased space.
The earth itself fumbles for climax, sparked by distant lightning, held off
by the smoke stack beside me. The concrete of the walkway below me is thinner
than scraped tile and rattles in the bluster of distant surging thunder, rolls
with the collapse of a Taurus trunk and the plaintiff honk of a nearby car alarm.

Hoffa was the union man in a city that carried home with it the afterbirth
of Union Hall cigarette smoke and bootleg liquor. Always the rumours of darker things,
the silent movement of money and discreteness of freshly disturbed dirt lingered.
The empty lot of the Red Fox those decades ago never changed those facts
for men and women that once had reason to come home happy/tired at night.

Once great sounds of civilization turn to animal moanings below.
And thunderheads keep growing in the backlight of sunset and
slink away towards the deliverance of others. Their sun kissed sins
alone in this aging riverside city have been tempted again
by the cleansing act of rain against the hard packed summer earth.

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