Dwight Bitikofer will be one of the featured readers at Duff's, 392 North Euclid, on Monday, January 24, along with Lisa Ebert and Eamonn Wall. Langen Neubacher of StL LOUD will play before and after the readers. An open-mic will follow the featured readers, and advance sign-up is encouraged. Doors open at 7:30, and the cover is $3.
Poet Dwight Bitikofer is active in open mic circuits around St. Louis. He has had poems published in Untamed Ink, Mid-Rivers Review, Writers’s Journal and on the MetroLink. In the past year, he has done some experimental, improv shows with St. Louis spiritual jazz musician Raven Wolf C. Felton Jennings II. Such “po-jazz” performances have been done at Dressel’s, at Focal Point, The Kirkwood Train Station and at McCaughan & Burr Fine Arts in conjunction with the Old Webster Jazz & Blues Festival. By day, Bitikofer is publisher of Webster-Kirkwood Times and South County Times community newspapers. In his 20s, he was a Yellow Cab driver in St. Louis. Before that, he was a Kansas farm boy and a wheat harvest combine jockey from Texas to the Dakotas. Great Plains winds and open horizon lines remain in many of his poems. Bitikofer still enjoys the road and has visited 49 of the 50 states, half the Canadian Provinces and recently made a road trip with old friends in Germany and Switzerland.
Cloud-view, looking down
shadows on the land
these lines drawn straight
unnatural paths of perfection
made with engineering precision.
What purpose? What regard
to natural form of earth,
of rights-of-way and roads,
rivers dammed to blue lakes.
Some roads follow terrain
–- these I respect –-
but wonder still at numbers
of natives displaced, at numbers
of rattlesnakes per square mile
and on which sides of mountains
cougars still prowl for prey,
and from which canyons
still echo eagle cries and sighs
of wind in leaves
of mesquite and cottonwood.
Some lines I recognize, others seem
a desecrating doodle or premeditated
ruler lines marked to stamp the land,
claim it for destruction of every
thing that creeps and crawls,
slithers, runs, flies and walks
to remake it for something “useful.”
Cloud shadows, unruly lines shaped
by masses of air, cold and hot
confrontations slipping just beyond
the grasp of Manifest Destiny’s control,
slipping just beyond controlled rectangles
and circles greened by earth’s reserves of water.
Slipping just beyond what we have learned to control
and what we haven’t learned to just let be.
-- Dwight Bitikover