If you visit Iowa,
you'll call her fields empty,
but she wasn't born that way.
A part of her was carved out
when she was ripped between Virginia
and the purple mountains of New Mexico.
Her gold hair, she tore it out when she realized
it didn't make her a princess.
She laid her locks strung along every road
leading somewhere else.
White hairs on her cheeks
are scars from winter.
Her hair darkens with the dampness
of summer rains.
The storms are never silent,
but neither is life when there's a tear
in your childhood where
a parent ought to be.
I've been flooded by Iowa's sorrow.
The only way I can distract her from her own voided landscape
is if I hate myself harder than she cries.
She just wants to fly
and I want to bus or train,
not because I fear death, but because
I want to take living slow.
It's the only way I ever feel.
From the air it's hard to watch Earth's hips move.
But Earth can't compare to the country.
That's my girl.
Full grown even when harvesting season's just begun.
Believe I balance her body like a waiter palming plates.
And who could ever want to sway a love like that?
Two lives and coasts with cracks and divots
in every transition
from being alone,
to being okay with it.
Together we make a peninsula threatened by sea-salt
exchanging paddles for saddles to ride inward
when we feel too cheap to dine
out of our heartbreak range.
It doesn't matter that Iowa didn't bleed,
'cause if she could have,
she would have done it for me,
little east coast boy,
Mr. gets emotional when I can't
arrange my emotions into lines
your ears tremble for.
Our beings quiver for an alarm of discomfort.
We're all writers in that sense:
that we'll translate our negativity to fuel
for a mechanical heart we've yet to blueprint.
We'll save the pity and harsh moments for a device
that, when we give up looking for reasons to live,
will propel our lives on for as long as the wind-up lasts.
Me and Iowa have our hands busy.
My fingers have broken many times,
but she always keeps winding for the both of us.
She's got kids looking up to her and she doesn't know it,
but their watching is sunlight to her solar panels of strength,
so she holds on with more than her dreams.
Meanwhile, I scratch on trees finding it easier to believe
in my own thoughts when they're so abstractly bent
that even I can hardly understand them.
Figure me out and tell me who I am, because I can't even pretend
that you couldn't; as if I've got an identity to protect
when I'm still learning how to cut myself open to the world.
How can building a maze of my own life possibly benefit me
when I'm only trying to make you get lost in yours?
If you happen to follow the worm and fall from
the hook, swim against the current to the mid-west.
Tell Iowa I'm coming. Baby, I'm coming.
This time, I'm bringing my skin with me.