The good-looking one, the one in need, the one that almost was
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Under the Locust Street Bridge at midnight
in the middle of the frozen Milwaukee River
alone with a bottle of wine,
the starry night sky twinkling on either side,
Getting on my knees, kneeling on the snow,
looking where the wind blew the snow away
exposing the ice like a window,
a window I can see through,
A black window I can look through
putting my face to its surface
to ogle and be boggled
by bubbles frozen
at different levels
in different shapes and sizes,
white in color,
And thinking the moment these bubbles froze
wondering if anyone ever saw
the moment a bubble froze,
the moment an air globule
gurgling and burbling
on its upward rush
caught solid in icy hold.
What goes on in a frozen bubble?
Does a frozen bubble believe
it will still be a frozen bubble
after it melts?
Thought of when they melt,
rising at last, freed. . . .
Thought of people who drowned
whose last bubble breaths
frozen last words waiting for spring
and those who listen for them. . . .
Thought of bubbles lasting millions of years
in icecaps. . . .
Thought of bubbles trapped in lava,
dark air pockets in rock aeons. . . .
Thought of bubbles rising from canoe paddles
unstuck from swamp muck. . . .
Bubbles in puddles created and destroyed
by falling rain. . . .
Bubbles with rainbows quivering
at the base of waterfalls. . . .
Hippopotamus fartbubbles big as hula hoops,
frog fartbubbles small as a needle’s eye. . . .
Thought of underwater spiders who struggle bubbles of air
to their underwater webs to breathe from. . . .
Thought of bubbles of thought in cartoons. . . .
Thought of bubbles sparkling up bottles
stared at by drunks for centuries. . . .
Thought of carpenter observing bubble in his level
as he adjusts the angle of a beam. . . .
Thought of whales in love caressing each other
with bubbles. . . .
Thought of girls bobbling their baubles
goggled by bubble-blowing boys. . . .
Thought of babyblubbering hushed by motherbreast,
bubble of milk on sleeping lips. . . .
Thought of Imagination Bubble-wand dipped in solution
strewing bubble flotillas on the breeze,
different sizes and shapes of poems
at different levels
rising and frozen as they rise,
mind-bubbles caught for a moment
observed suspended in time
floating, reflecting. . . .
Thought how I’m only a bubble
rising from birth to death
changing my shape
from child to man as I rise. . . .
Thought of the Earth as a bubble,
the Sun as a bubble,
the Galaxies bubbles
sparkling, flowing, bursting
on the black river of space,
on the black river of time. . . .
Thought of the sound of a bubble’s pop. . . .
Thought how many bubbles there have been. . . .
Everpresent evanescent effervescence.
Mind-boggled by bubbles
I gaze with awe
through black window ice
Realizing bubbles frozen in ice
as if I never saw them before,
as if I never knew
Bubbles frozen in ice,
How I bent to look at them,
How I crouched on my hands and knees
on the snow
And put my face to the ice
and peered down at them
a long time
Milwaukee River New Year’s Eve 1984.