Bubble-Boggled
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,
          suspended, motionless,
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
                                        froze midway,
          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
          they existed,
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
                                        motionless, suspended,
          a long time
Milwaukee River New Year’s Eve 1984.