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This poem is about the North Shore of Lake Superior and my experiences there. It is an area marked by unusual confluence of industry and wonderful unspoiled nature. "Past Interstate 35" reflects the fact that I-35 ends in Duluth, MN, where the North Shore and this experience begins.
When I was young I'd imagine I was a giant
I'd stride towering over the tiny lakes and moss patches like forests
I'd try not to smush people clinging to quiet lives on the rocks
It's like that up there, you know, some giant kid dropped things willy-nilly on the Shore
You coast through forests on a winding highway and come across the famous
Taconite Harbor
And at our place the navigational beacon issues a soft call from miles off

On a hike we visited overlooks and viewed the long distance splendor of unspoiled nature, the peat bogs and the ancestral family Betzler farm sold to become a golf clubhouse
we came down from the hills to a dirt road and a pipeline by a metal cube building and chains of cars spewing gravel dust
Dozens of them came down from nowhere slowly and peacefully and there I stood knowing that the pod people had arrived, and they drove Fords
And so we walked along further and ended up by the train tracks to Silver Bay
But I was the only one who saw the train
It flew across with a penetrating sound approaching from unexpected vectors
I think I got a picture actually It was cool
And we cross the quiet brown Beaver River
And approach the sewage ponds which are two giant rectangles
It occurs to me that we are far above the town here, doesn't that mean the sewage leaks out down to the city?
We trend downwards towards the lake
My first sight of the main strip is that liquor keg 500 times lifesize to illustrate better the point
"We can get you wasted"
For a while the City Council met in the basement of that place
Surely bureaucracy flows more easily On Tap I suppose
At the other end there is the Motel
It is composed of piles of sagging asynchronous shoeboxes
With Color TV and HBO
That's across 61 from the cemetery
Where my forebears reside
The don't seem comfortable, there are up-and-down rectangles like a chess set in relief
And inserted on the corner of the block we have a cubical pink something building
I believe it has been for rent since 1994
People's trailer homes spout rusted TV antennas like moss
They seem to sink into the peatish ground which will swallow them one day
You do still see it in people
That sense something left them behind
Maybe it was when steel prices collapsed
Maybe it was later
Maybe some people thought the farming would be good 120 years ago
(In my grandparent's home the bedrock forms the basement floor)

When we started on the place up there
I recall we were rather disliked by heinous high-velocity Miniature Pinschers
They would drift from next door and attack fiercely
Until we raised an arm and they would cry in terrified retreat
I think those animals are so angry because they know they suck
They were owned by a rusty dishwasher of a man
Who seems unlikely to form positive emotional attachments to anyone but his 12-gauge

Everything is sloped there
You know you must return to that thing you see in slices and in whole
The lake attracts you like a magnet or something
It is cold and quite level
It is enough to kill a person year round and generally deceptive
My dad while courting my mom discovered this property when he made an error regarding ice thickness
If there isn't too much wind you can hear the beacon
Sort of like a pacemaker for a town
The fun thing is the beach I'm usually at is a part of "The Club"
A group of prestigious summer homes bearing the names of flour magnates
The caretaker says we can wander down to the beach
I feel as though I am stealing a visit to the beach from the bourgeois and returning it to the Common Dan

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