On “Spring Break in Omaha” (#36)

We lived in a crumbling Victorian at the corner of S. Division and E. Jefferson in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Sometimes we escaped this place where the second-floor shower passed out plantar warts like party favors, where a basement “drug room” was graffiti-ed with fluorescent sayings as wise as twenty-year-olds could muster, where the housemate’s cat went insane from sucking on the bathmat, where the bright-blue Smurfsblood punch ran cold and generated night terrors. Sometimes we had to get out.

“Spring Break in Omaha” is about leaving the bohemian, slackeresque frying pan for the bourgeois fire. It peers into an alternate universe where the two of us took a road trip together and got stuck somewhere other than Madison, Wisconsin, which is a whole different story. At least two college roommates leave Montana for Florida. They stop off in Nebraska. Gravity and inertia hit and they never leave. In this alternate world, Martin may be a barber and sire Charlie Brown. John may be the assistant manager of a bait shop. Things are different. The states are different. The constellations are different. The feeling of lolling about the Midwest, looking and waiting for adventure, is still the same.

“Spring Break in Omaha” was the first prose poem we wrote together, of the several that appear in Poets’ Guide to America. We finished it on August 15, 2009. It is forthcoming in Apocryphaltext Volume 4 (2011), having been accepted February 14, 2010. It is the thirty-sixth poem in the final sequence of Poets’ Guide to America.

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About poetsguide

A former altar boy and a former U.S. Army interrogator, respectively, John F. Buckley and Martin Ott were born and raised in Michigan, meeting each other at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor before separately migrating to California in the early 1990s to attend graduate schools, their friendship evolving into a writing collaboration – what they refer to as poetic volleyball. They both currently live in Southern California, John with his wife, Martin with his wife and two children. John teaches English composition at several local colleges, while Martin works as a marketing strategist for a global company. John still affects a strange piety; Martin still finds himself asking a lot of questions. Individually and together, their writing has appeared in over 150 periodicals and anthologies, garnering three Pushcart Prize nominations for Martin’s poems “India Ivy” and “When Bridges Fall” (available in his collection Children of Interrogation, which has been a finalist or semi-finalist in eighteen poetry prizes) and John’s “Poem for Christy’s Daughter” (available in his collection Kinks in the Hose). Martin has also optioned three screenplays. His chapbook Misery Loves was published on Red Dancefloor Press. John’s chapbook Breach Birth was published on Propaganda Press.
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