Academic journal article The Midwest Quarterly


Academic journal article The Midwest Quarterly


Article excerpt

   Before the world got so freaking ambitious    an evening's entertainment in our city of morons    would be buying a bag of burgers and fries    and parking out by the runway    to watch the planes take off and land    on their field strung with starry blue and    white and red lights. Some summer's    dusk--and no one had to admit their hearts    were filled with departure. Cheerleaders    would park their asses on the hoods    of Impalas and dream of getting it    in pressurized cabins 10,000 feet and climbing.    Housewives would scheme one well planned    rendezvous in Mexico whose sunset would be    calmer than Seconal and a salve to each    abscessed scar. And every husband would gleam    at the ivory nose of the Ozark turboprop    and think of the right bra cup    of a stewardess demonstrating the proper    method of disrobing in the event    of a water landing. Oh, the hours spent    in a life raft--clothed in nothing but Coppertone.    But we children, dressed early in our baseball    jammies, would gum our salty fries and sip    our shakes and plug our ears to the windy roar    of the Ozark whose windows were lit    to the tired August dusk. You could catch    glimpses of faces of men and women strapped    in and grimly prepared for take off,    the substance of their lives being drawn    backwards by the force of gravity,    their bodies leaving the ground,    uncertain and liberated. 

Rustin Larson has published one book of poems, Loving the Good Driver (Mellen Poetry Press, 1996), and a chapbook, Tiresias Strung Out on a Half Can of Pepsi (1993). His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Iowa Review, Poetry East, Cimarron Review, and other journals, and in the anthology, Voices' from the Landscape. Larson is poetry editor of The Iowa Source and The Contemporary Review. He has received grants from the Iowa Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. He teaches at Indian Hills Community College and lives in Fairfield, Iowa.

Both early and late efforts attempted either consciously or unconsciously to quantify the unquantifiable, or put fences around the air and see if any molecules roamed outside of it.

His earliest sources of inspiration were Blake and Rilke.

Blake could be so simple and clear and he could be a gah-gah nutcase. He admired both.

And then there was Rilke. He was first attracted to Rilke by a television program, of all things, which featured Robert Bly dancing around like an African God in the body of a bloated Norwegian mumbling Rilke through his midwestern vase. …

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