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Creve Coeur, Part 1

“‘Rigor of beauty’” is what sort of quest and what for and for whom?
“Why even speak of ‘I,’ he dreams, which interests me almost not at all?”
                         I come from a place called Creve Coeur, Missouri.
                         Creve Coeur, loosely translated from the French as
                         broken heart, a sleepy heartbroken suburb of St. Louis.
                         The namesake originates from a dubious myth—
                         a tortured love between an Osage woman
                         and a French fur trapper, presumably Laclede,
                         in this case, the founding father of St. Louis,
                         and it ends with the woman’s suicide. Sadly,
                         this legend is retold about a lot of midwestern lakes
                         and it lands not too far from Disney’s Pocahontas—
                         the 11th member of the Disney Princess line-up.
                         Legend has it that when the lovers were torn apart,
                         the woman leapt to her death off the waterfall
                         and into the bottom of Creve Coeur Lake.

             The body of water, then, formed the shape of a broken heart.
             Hmm, the face of the Falls groans: it’s a story
             I have to live with. A thin stream trickles

                                                  gently down the forehead
             of the Falls like the steps of the Uthina amphitheater,
             slick with some vague Missouri silt,
             a layer of green scum. The Creve Coeur Falls
             has many names, including Dripping Springs,
             but it’s more like a ledge than a waterfall—it’s not
             very high nor impressive. It never seemed
             ideal to me, or even possible, for a suicide—
             lovesick or otherwise.

                                                     The Falls is anxious 
                to address other Creve Coeur myths: a corrupt 
 	        citizen’s advisory committee on parks,
	        the 1917 race riots and massacre, 
	        the infamous Pruitt-Igoe disaster,

                whatever atrocities hatched at the Creve Coeur
                Monsanto Headquarters.
			                 Power walking changes lives.
	        The best way to describe power walking 
	        is to think of it as a low-impact alternative to jogging. 
	        Basically, it takes regular walking and ups the intensity.	
	        If you put two walkers next to each other, 
	        and told one to move at a moderate pace 
	        with their arms at their sides, 
	        and told the other to increase their speed while 
	        simultaneously pumping their arms—
				                     that’s the technique!
	        Known in these parts, the Creve Coeur walker,
	        powers up the sidewalks, at dusk, in the softest  
	        of soft shoes, speeding past sleepy residents 
	        who are still nestled in their soft bedrooms 
				                     in the softest homes
	        on Earth. God willing. 

				                     Powering onto the sprawling
	        Monsanto Headquarters service roads, he adjusts 
	        the volume on his Walkman and lifts his chest to the sky!—
	        managers, engineers, chemists start to roll into the vast parking lot.
	        Swoosh! is the sound of the walker’s poly-cotton track suit, 

                                                      also called Tipped Fleece, 
                a deep burgundy offset nicely by his stark white 
	        just-out-of-the-box New Balance. 
	        He picks up his pace: 
				                      powering onto the sidewalk at Schnucks,
	        onward past McDonald’s and into a future

				                      Creve Coeur.


Robert Fitterman is the author of 15 books of poetry, including "Rob’s Word Shop" (Ugly Duckling Presse), "No Wait, Yep. Definitely Still Hate Myself" (Ugly Duckling Presse), "This Window Makes Me Feel" (Ugly Duckling Presse), "Rob the Plagiarist" (Roof Books), and "Metropolis," published in four volumes. Forthcoming in Spring 2024 is "Creve Coeur" (Winter Editions). (Image Credit: drawing by Don Colley)

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