Niagara Falls Poems

Just a few (four) short works that I wrote, looking back over a trip I took in August with my family to Niagara Falls.

I.
I first Cared
When
We were sweating
Off below
Niagara waiting
To see beneath
Then and
We stood
Annoyed
And it was August and
Of Summer but
Warm and more
So
And I first Cared
When the
Line
Moved Footsteps at a Moment
And the Little children
Climbing
A worn statue of
Tesla
While I shuffled
Under Layers of thickness
And Cared.


II.
The Children waiting in
The Late-August pressure
Above the millions of falling
Gallons pushing as
Champlain and his men
Discovered.
The Children, scrambling
From Sweating cologne-perfume
Parents to the
Statue and who is
Tesla? Who is Champlain?
The parents may know or Not--
The Children simply see
Opportunities away from Upstate
Heat and the tons of
Nearby water
They watched it rush forward,
The Children
The parents, older brothers and sisters
Talking strange-sounding observations
On metric weight and
Sixteenth-century explorers...inventors
Time enough for that
Time enough for the line to inch
Up and the adults to sweat and the statue
Of Tesla, clambered upon, time enough
For the falls to shed
Their daily tons


III.
Mix
Of harsh water and time
And faces in the caves underneath
Line mixing people
Texans and Germans and New Yorkers and we
Here bedraggled men
Stood and claimed ground here men died
Or left something of
Note--well it is hard
In the face of that--so
Large the world built up around it,
Grew up but never as large--we came still
In the footsteps
Of men who
Few as they
Were lived to
Defy water and
Endlessness
Who can be said--to have roped the
Wind only missing because mortality passes
Over falls not we


IV
Every time I remember
Standing in line and
All that about human
Tangencies formed in heat
And annoyance, that
Well-worn statue of
Tesla worms Its way in
Or those sprites of Champlain
Or some other touch of
History but still, there
Are every-so-often words Of murmured German,
The fullness-intonation of Two Texans, our own
City-sound, to make it a place, Marked,
Well--someday that Line of Tangent
August dazzled people and the treads of
Sneakers and sun-glint off watches will become
Of some historical context, the years rolling like
The constant spray and eroding the Brooding
Statue