Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

14th & Main…by Robert M. Katzman

14th & Main

by Robert M. Katzman

© August 7, 2017

It still glitters in my imagination

Gives me a suspended moment


I slow down to stare at it

It is the absence of anything

The quiet vista that represented

Better times for the

New couple in town

14th & Main

Down the long worn street farther north

Past the shuttered stores and

Businesses of small ambitions

A massive post office with

Biblical dimensions but only

One employee


A lawyer in a

Victorian house

And a lesser house by

Frank Lloyd Wright

14th & Main

North of the grand historic homes

Entry barred by a stern barrier

Happier times frozen in

Sepia Rotagravure

On a bluff for the rich

Overlooking indifferent seagulls

East of a two-tree park where

Both of our eager dogs

Once loved to run

When we first came to experience

Obscure Racine

French-named town in a German state

14th & Main

West of the grey concrete

Horizontal monolithic

Federal Interstate

A reminder that even

Rolling romantic cow-and-horse

 Farm country was noticed by

A faraway Eastern government

Steel hulks seemingly

Floating north and south

From a distance

14th & Main

An arrow straight strip of road

Mindlessly running toward the Lake

Denny’s/Dairy Queen/McDonalds

Framing the question

“Where the hell are we now?”

Petering out at 31 and 20

The road narrows and hits

The kink in the road

Desperate part of town

Shuttered vaudeville marquee

Ghosts of once upon a time

Couples loved here, lived here

Left here

When all the good jobs dried up

14th & Main

At an age when our values changed

Leaving big city glories behind us

Foreign restaurants and foreign movies

Bookstores and actual delicatessens

We willingly agreed to accept

A minimalized life together

A jet transformed into a stagecoach

Seeking less with time for more

The illusion of time for more

Wind through trees

Walking through crackling dead leaves

Store clerks with time to chat

A brick fireplace’s flame

Spearing the night sky

14th & Main

Just a stretch of blue water

A top hat of billowy sky

A split breakwater to frame it

Hypnotically uniform wavelets

Soundless and sunny

Sometimes a lone sailboat

Always smack in the center of it

A strange tranquility

Offered itself to the two of us

Our worn selves and our worn dogs

An actual gasp at first our encountering

Such simplicity of small town beauty

14th and Main

Eight seasons passed us by

Fate’s generosity turning elsewhere

Birdhouses hung and flowers planted

Friends made and time slowing down

Rediscovering conversation

Romantic pastel sunsets

Cloudless dark skies which

Allowed us to see stars

Then our dogs were gone

Then she was gone

And my presumed life was

Spinning, spinning, spinning

I wash a single plate after dinner

Swing alone in our lush backyard

Stare at the fireplace

But don’t make fires

Trying to let go

Trying to understand

What else could we have done?

Four decades seem like moments

But today the days…

So many hours

Now trudging thru time

But deep within me

Remains a glimmer

Of quietly pulsating hope

I still remain so glad

So very much appreciating

That at least she and I

 Shared that single

Mesmerizing mutual moment

When first we discovered

A place so casually

Ignorable and unsung

But not to us

Within a weary

Dot on a map

Racine Wisconsin

Blue water

Our Oz intersection

The simple serene beauty of

14th and Main

(Poet’s note: My wife Joy (5/20/50 – 5/14/17)  always knew I wanted to write about this unusual subject. I never got around to doing that, regret that and I decided it was time to do it. But she already knew about all of this and caring for her was my greater priority, so I can live with it. I guess I have to, don’t I?)

Publishing News! 

Bob Katzman’s two new true Chicago books are now for sale, from him!
Vol. One: A Savage Heart  and Vol. Two: Fighting Words

Gritty, violent, friendship, classic American entrepreneurship love, death, heartbreak and the real dirt about surviving in a completely corrupt major city under the Chicago Machine. More history and about one man’s life than a person may imagine.

Please visit my new website: http://www.dontgoquietlypress.com
If a person doesn’t want to use PayPaI, I also have a PO Box & I ship anywhere in America.

Send me a money order with your return and contact info.
I will get your books to you within ten days.
Here’s complete information on how to buy my books:

Vol 1: A Savage Heart and Vol. 2: Fighting Words
My books weigh almost 2 pounds each, with about 525 pages each and there are a total together of 79 stories and story/poems.

Robert M. Katzman
Don’t Go Quietly Press
PO Box 44287
Racine, Wis. 53404-9998                                                                                                                    (262)752-3333, 8AM–7PM

Books cost $29.95 each, plus shipping

For: (1)$3.95; (2)$5.95; (3)$7.95; (4)$8.95 (5)$9.95;(6) $10.95

(7) $11.95; (8) $12.95; (9)$13.95 (10)$15.95 (15)$19.95

I am also for hire if anyone wants me to read my work and answer questions in the Chicago/Milwaukee area. Schools should call me for quantity discounts for 30 or more books. Also: businesses, bookstores, private organizations or churches and so on.

My Fighting Words Publishing Co. four original books, published between 2004 and 2007 are now out-of-print. I still have some left and will periodically offer them for sale on my new website.


Comment by Don Larson

August 7, 2017 @ 9:13 pm

Hi Bob,

Beautiful writing.

Having lived in a small Wisconsin town and later brought my Chicago fiancé there to be married in April 1973, and lived with her in a small cabinet n in the woods, I can relate to your words very well.


Comment by Charlie Newman

August 7, 2017 @ 11:39 pm

A+, Bubba…as usual

Comment by H

August 17, 2017 @ 6:18 pm

Four decades seem like moments now trudging through time.
Best description

Comment by Tom Millstead

August 25, 2017 @ 12:41 pm

Deeply touching, Bob. I hadn’t known about Joy. Loving thoughts to you and her.

Being raised in Racine (and working on the daily paper there for 15 years) it was my home till I was 40. Yep. “obscure” Racine, “casually ignorable” Racine–you nailed it. In my youth it was a Danish town, perhaps the most Danish town proportionally in the U.S. Only town where kringle reigns supreme. The most active social centers were Dana Hall and the Danish Brotherhoiod. I myself am half-Rasmussen. Now the populus, I gather, is much diverse.

Memorable from my childhood is the Mainstreet Theater (now gone) at Main St and the river. It was an old opera house with a stage and dressing rooms. Showed B movies that the elite Venetian and Rialto theaters scorned. It catered to little boys with slapstick shorts, serials and cheap Western movies. Owned by Len Brown, a wonderful Jewish gentleman who took me and some other kids to Milwaukee to meet the 3 Stooges in person and get their autographs.

14th and Main prompted this fond remembrance of a Racine that was. Thanks, Bob.

Comment by Jim Payne

February 18, 2019 @ 6:50 am

I love this the most of all your poems. Most of all Joyce loves it. It has a soft loving tone as she would gaze at your new town. You wrote this not just for Joyce but with her. I love this poem.

Comment by Pat Jacobs

February 18, 2019 @ 5:57 pm

Bob, this is soulfully written. It touches me and makes me want to go to Racine and wish I could have met your Joyce.

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