Gracious Strangers


Last night I gave around twenty-five rideshares in the grand city of Cedar Rapids. I amused myself by wondering what my passengers would think if I told them I’d been sleeping where they sat. While I keep the car in an orderly and clean condition, I’m sure the thought would be unsettling to some. I told one of my riders that I was from Milwaukee and she exclaimed that fact to be creepy, that I could be some traveling serial killer. If only I were in such a lucrative business.

The people of Iowa are engaging and warm. Can’t say as much for the wind. The juxtaposition of a dull landscape and vibrant citizens fascinates me. Perhaps the lack of natural wonder gives folks nothing to appreciate but each other. It’s alarming to say the least. I find myself put off at times by the lack of abrasiveness I encounter.

A friend called today saying she knew some people in Iowa City I could stay with for a spell. This friend always comes through at exactly the appropriate time and today is no exception. I spent the better part of the morning debating whether to spend my taxi money on an oil change or a much-needed place to finish setting NYMPH for print. Thanks to knowing wonderful people, I don’t have to decide. I can’t wait to see Denise’s vision become an actual book.

Today I’m writing from a place where they have regular-ass coffee and no one wearing wool. The contrast has me in high spirits as places with an air of intellectualism often inhibit my own.  Still haven’t met any actual Iowa poets, but have contacted one through the magic of the internet with hopes for guidance. For now, I’ll bask in the vacant landscapes and friendly citizens until I feel it’s time to embark for the next unknown.

Oh, Happy Ishtar!