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deep cleveland


cleveland is called the forest city, the city of bridges. and it is. it is, because it runs deep. deeper than the blowing paper on the streets of hough, deeper that the commuter traffic in and out of the infamous terminal tower. deeper than anything that runs along the surface of its innerbelts and shoreways. deeper because of one man. deeper because of a person who is both bridge and forest. deeper because of a man who thinks there is more to this city than the many deaths recorded in its crazy newspapers. deeper because a man thinks there is still a chance that cleveland will open its industrial maw a bit too wide and swallow love by mistake. deeper because of d.a. levy. he is a poet.

-- d.r. wagner (1967)

clevelandthere is a place called deep cleveland. you know the place if you're from there. it's not just a geographic location on a lake. it's a place where you constantly look for the light at the end of the tunnel. it's a place where your best is never good enough. it's a place where the clouds roll in & you always wish for some damn sunshine & when the sun shines it's too damn humid; where you hate the snow & love to ski but when it snows you can't ski & when you can ski it doesn't snow. it's a place where you always wait for the other shoe to fall, where all humor is black humor, gallows humor, off-beat humor. it's a place that is always two steps forward & one step backward, where you turn the other cheek & keep getting hit. it's a place where the beer tastes good, the women who don't have moustaches are pretty & when darkness falls you don't want to go home. it's a place where a million tv's glow in the summer night & the radio babbles on & on & almost everything on it sucks. every baseball, football or basketball game won is a vindication of yr existence, & each one lost is evidence that yr whole life is in the shithole. it's a place you can't get away from, even if you move far, far away. you can grow a beard, & live in another country, with a new wife under the federal witness protection program & you're still in deep cleveland. you can run but you can't hide. & when they drain every last bit of life from your body, the final notation in your obituary will say you were from cleveland. & you know all this, & accept it & don't fight it & ultimately revel in it, grab it around the pencil-necked throat & throttle it until it doesn't die. you can never never kill it, nor would you want to -- because it's your lot in life, wherever you are, to live in that place, in deep cleveland. just write poems & smile.

-- markk (2001)

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