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Creve Coeur, Part 4

III. Sunday in Creve Coeur Memorial Park

				               of Furious 7
						                     the entire Fast & Furious
	  franchise is just so-so, the power walker muses
	  as he goes over 
				               the opening scene carnage:
					                             two hospital workers huddled
	  behind an EKG machine— 

				               an armed SWAT team slain 
				               and scattered about the hospital 
				               hallways, elevators, lobby 

	  —the sinister assassin casually walking away from the hospital,
	  back turned to the grenade about to explode. . .

					                   —BOOM! screeching away 
				               in his Jaguar F-Type Coupé R!

 	  The power walker shakes off the difference 
	  between here and there

			          and strides ahead with a dedicated pace
	  along the Creve Coeur Lake path. 
	  It’s the quietest place on earth. He hums the chorus 
	  of a Doobie Bros tune to drown out the bloody Furious scene.

	  Some dogs bark.

						                         No one cares 
			           about who you are, or who you say you are—
	  they care about belonging and they care about who 
	  can accelerate that for them, and who can blame them
	  for wanting to feel like they belong and who. . .

						                     Yadda! Yadda! Yadda! 

		   —the world is harsh 
					             and the comforts 
								                         are few!

			    ‘76 was the same year 
			    I worked as a Sea Hatch busboy—an upscale 
			    seafood restaurant in the Westgate Plaza:
			    half shopping mall, half corporate park with a Marriott.
			    According to the menu, the Sea Hatch legend reads:
			    “Spawned in the fresh clear waters of the oceans 
			    of the world and then tenderly harvested 
						                and air freighted to our doors. . . 
			    If you look about we think you will notice 
			    how management combed the world, literally, 
			    to acquire many of our accouterments. 
			    For example, our dining tables are all ship hatches 				
                            recovered from sunken vessels in the Caribbean, 
			    brought to St. Louis, sand-blasted,
			    and then treated with a special epoxy to expose
			    the magnificent oak graining.”

         American mink, river otter, yellow coneflower,
         rose turtlehead, plains pocket gopher, red squirrel,
         Bagel Factory, pied-billed grebe, woodland vole,

                                                                  The Global
         Quesadilla Company, eastern cottontail, muskrat,
         Il Bel Lago, southern bog lemming, Pasta House Co.,
         pine warbler, Lion’s Choice.

On a stone bench by the lake, a young guy, maybe 16, strumming his guitar, and 
a bigger guy, with a thick beard (for his age) is standing next to him singing 
along—a proud and gregarious baritone. The song is a duet about rejecting 
fatherly advice. Some more friends mosey around the lake’s edge: a few Imo 
pizza boxes, Marlboros, Busch beer… it could almost be a picnic, except for that 
one dude, his name escapes me, wasted on quaaludes, flicking his cigarette into 
the void. Balthazar! That kid’s name was Balthazar!

                                                But everyone called him Ballsy,
             which, of course, he didn’t like. I also heard him called Belief
             because his father was a Pastor, anyway I’m told he now runs
             a gun-shop out of a Sunoco station in Crestwood.

               In Autumn, the red and yellow leaves rest
               on the cracked face of the Falls. Pay attention
               the Falls calls out the squirrels, no one
               is saying the circumstances make good impossible.

               Newlyweds pictured on glossy brochure

               holding hands, a wavy blonde
               affluence, her bright print dress,
               his striped bell-bottoms, leaning against
               the stone—

                                                                            combating waking
                                                                            hours unknown death

               Under a clump of bushes, two teenagers are
               in love, they look up at the stars. . .
               it’s around midnight. . .
                                                   they talk but they stop suddenly.

               Four orbs cross the night sky
               —one announces how fucked up he is
                                       and slams the Bronco truck door.

               The sound of gravel turning
               beneath their boots,

               unsettling the serenity of the lake.
               The lovers behind the bushes stay
               still. . .

               one last stoned
               guffaw wild in the distance. . .

               It’s so quiet, can you hear?
               The face of the Falls is rested,

               the folds in the limestone, more
               the majestic wrinkles of an elephant than
               the eroding steps of an ancient ruin.

               Is haunting the thing that doesn’t last?
              The dreaded aura around the parked truck?
              Where did they go this late?

              Does the park ever close?
              What’s the best way back to Fee Fee Road?

     Walking —

              A different day but the same trail, the power walker takes great pleasure in the routine 
              of his Sunday exercise above the bluffs, looking down on the empty
              gravel parking lot littered with cans of beer.

                                                             Getting back to love, or more
              accurately, love loss, since everybody is singing about it,

              making up stories about the heartbroken

                          leap from the Falls—who’s there?

              Up here.
                           A cop points
                                                  to a sign nailed
              to a tree: here lies the city!

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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