I wrote this was written in the early 1970s about this area of Toledo.  Much, much has changed since then, buildings demolished, tracks ripped up.  But surely my joy in imbibing peacefulness and momentary freedom from the sort of scene this poem describes has not diminished.

A hung Negro holds his pole to the river,
Hums improvisations on the weedy bank
Proximate to barred dismembered storehouses:
Parts to this zone of commerce bypassed and mute
Where trees sprout on doorsteps, bowlegged railspurs
End as thistles.  He comes, I reason, to probe
In insouciant unhurry lapping currents,
To savor the truce of an undeclared park.
I note drifts from his barely burning pipeful
Stirred in first hot waft of refinery air,
Petroleum scudding on permuted sky,
Yellow with sweat of a drooping sun.
Kicking the rubble of battered carts and crates
From atop a dock I study his bearing;
He lifts bait to the surface unbitten.
I too am here to sip peace from the district--
By imbibing the silence of ruins    and
Tracing harmony to lines of old mortar.
A Chinese freighter sends swells wharfside, stutters

Its horn at a series of bridges as I
Assume sights of what here once must have mattered.
Jerking to my shatter of filthy windows,
Shaken from musings that sluice through brown water,

He squints into the mosquito glare.
Catching anything?, I shout, making for his chair.
"Not a one," he tells me, "I don't try too hard."
He crooks his pipe at the sienna flow just
Before sucking its juices, speaking again:
"I like this spot: it's peaceful.  And, you know, free."
Concurrence.  He wonders if I've come to fish.
I tell him not, that I plan to admire slow
Disintegration, outmoded monuments,
And add as my purpose, Because it's peaceful. . .
And freeing.  I sit beside him languidly 
Slapping insects from my arms, his face    guessing
Who will talk next and when that will be.
    Toledo, Ohio

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