Eugene Wukasch, Texas Architect

It has been many years since I visited the church, but curiously just this past Friday [28 April 2017] my wife and I were driving from Houston to Austin on Highway 290 and I saw the sign to Serbin. It was the first time that I had been on 290 in I don’t know how long. Naturally I thought of my poem, and now here you are asking for permission to reprint it. You are certainly welcome to do so. You may know that it was reprinted once before in Texas Co-op Power in 2002. Thank you for contacting my publisher. I might mention that I saw the church because my late friend Gene Wukasch of Austin invited me to drive out to Serbin with him. It was a wonderful experience. All the best, Dave Oliphant

Eugene Wukasch, Texas Architect

by Dave Oliphant


Seton Hospital coming down:

photos he took tell the story

of steel girders & cement walls

crumbled. doubled, pounded to dust-

collapsed windows, where twilight rays

floated motes over janitored floors,

his mother rolled from delivery

to a maternity ward & the further relief of sleep.

Knows the blueprints, the materials,

how substantial they were,

in their way strong as the memory.

Why were they not reused, remembered?

Speaking with quiet rage

of the waste, of energy expended,

of the halls held those hours

where & when he entered the State,

a tear forms in his foreign eye,

streams down his Austin cheek:

Damn it, I was born there!”

Texan, yes, as any,

though by name & blood a Wend,

his Spreewald, his Slavic race

poling their boats like gondoliers,

laden with cabbage & engravings

of the very scene he paints.

His tale, mortar to our luncheon talk,

glides us through those shadowy waters,

disappears us down basement plumbing,

into her screams at his coming

on a table splintered to smithereens,

the vacant block for sale,

its sidewalks still intact

outlining the emptiness of weeds,

the trees, spreading elms, rooted yet,

though reaching about as exiles

missing landmarks on childhood maps,

the pale smear down to his mouth

seeking a forgotten Sorbian word

would house the lumber of loss.



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