This Small Town

americana poetry

Americana Poetry by Kris Jordan

This small town has a shower in the laundry mat.
A man, soap on his face and a towel around his waist
Walks across the tile towards the change machine for more quarters.
“Oh my” says a woman in cut off jean shorts
Her foot propped up as she paints her toenails red and gold
As she waits for her towels to dry
Within the cool air conditioning of the laundry mat
Rather than the 90 plus degree heat in her farm house
During a drought.
But it rained a little today
Just a few drops
Not enough for the corn or hemp or cherries or peaches
Or to soothe the fires that have the volunteer firemen wondering
If they should use the precious resource of water to stop the burning or to just let it go
Try to fight it with dirt, the red sand from Moab.

The Chamber sells tacos and baked goods and juice and booze
To raise money for the firefighters so they can have showers.
The auctioneer teases the crowd to get them to raise their bid cards
And the quilters display their beautiful handiwork beside handmade biscuits and lemon crème pies
While little girls giggle at the ribbons won from their cookies that they spent the morning baking with grandma
When they weren’t in the trough cooling off
Watching calves hopping around playfully and being butted by mama cow to keep them aware of the dogs on the other side of the fence.

The other side of the fence where Johnny shoots those damn prairie dogs
And further yet boys jump into the icy reservoir, water lower than it’s ever been
Looking for relief from the heat and
Old men throw their fishing lines looking for dinner.
And locals head to the bar
Over the train tracks
Past the coal mines and the dog that’s always on the corner
To the bar with beer on ice
A friendly poker game with
Grandma who carries a corn cob pipe
Junior who looks like he works harder than anyone
And smells like it too
Sue and Sue and Mary and Mary and Chris and Chris and Chris

This small town is America
But if you don’t take the journey, you’ll never know it

Author’s Commentary

Americana poetry has always been interesting to me – capturing a photograph or collage of American culture through written word captures our diverse heritage, economy, demographics and geography. The journey of discovering the nooks and crannies of our United States is in the hearts of most of us, pushing us to travel in any way we can. At the writing of this Americana poetry, I’ve been on the road in my travel trailer for several weeks. I am grateful for the life I have and look forward to the blessings that continue to come.

What does “exploring America” conjure up for you? What does “small town” mean to you? What part of history do you like to experience through Americana poetry?

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