Laclede the Artist

He is at home
     in this match-book town
     warmed by the nuclear power
          brewed out west
     (though he never calls on it
     (the gas neither.
When he runs out of ice
     (commonly, I’m afraid
     he just walks down to the river
     and hacks off a chunk or two.
     ‘Sea ice!’ he boasts to guests,
     ‘Never have a better drink in all your life.’
     Sea-hattans he calls them,
     and sings a song to the tune of “Sea Captains.”

His sideburns red and wispy
His boat a studio afloat
His paintings acts of revenge.
As he traces lines on the canvas
     making valleys of paint
          and rivers thick with barges
     he imagines
     a searchlight in his hands
And through
     clouds  clouds  fog
     the river a mile wide
     he believes he has lost his painting
     only to discover   land.

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