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.