I went up to the prairie but I couldn’t go in
it was only up to my waist
the wildflowers and prairie grasses
dried and parched like an untamed jungle
wild and far-reaching as the oceans
the monstrous little bugs,
serpents and darting rodents
that scuttle around ferociously underfoot
I could only walk around the nicely mowed edge
on my deeper thoughts and our noble ideas
vain constructions like drying chaff
easily forgotten, crumbling, choking us in the dusty wind

I don’t think we groom our lawns and plant our nice green bluegrass
so much because we appreciate the aesthetic beauty of the platonic
but that we need the security
to control the perpetual growth of those blades...
sure they can grow a few inches but god-forbid
they be left to their natural course
to flower into absurdity
a rippling forest of ambiguity
the ugly, uneven, savage, chaotic, horrific biodiversity

but the prairie is not homogenous
rather a plenitude of protruding possibilities
so many of them
infinite varieties to pluck and trample
or wade through silently if that were only possible

feeling affinity for the frontier
but lacking the courage to brave a few steps
into that forgotten little patch missed by our manifest destiny
almost unnoticed
tucked away from the streetlights of conventional authority
the desire for the frontier can be as daunting as the corrals that fence
in our herds
as they bustle and feed in comfort and futility

I went to the prairie to face my cowardice
and found a barrier
the fear of the prairie is the fear of our potential
of autonomy and self-initiative, choices and failures,
perhaps of a life worth living or at least a forging worth trying
tripping over those hidden fences of tradition
the unseen wires that shock us back into the securities of conformity
doctrines that scythe away the excess seeds of possibility and untried

the barrier was of course imagined, created more than experienced
but there were no cattle paths to follow
and it wasn’t really so much an ocean as a wading pool
a patch of grasses and bramble, flowers and thorns
but in the lucid introspections and terrors of the night
even brambles can bare their menacing uncertainties

all I could do was pick a stem to chew
like an actor on the stage romanticizing the spirit of the pioneer
though such roles are more stupidity than absurdity
when to embrace the absurd grants one the freedom to choose
and to be real on this allusion to existence
a thought, a dream, a stem before the seeds
and it had a pleasantly nostalgic, gritty flavor
providing enough contentment right then to just stare and ponder over
the open prairie