Dianne Borsenik during her award winning performance in the Best Cleveland Poem Competition held 1 June 2014 at the Willoughby Brewing Company [photo by John Burroughs]

Dianne Borsenik during her award winning performance of “Cleveland Spiritual” in the Best Cleveland Poem Competition held 1 June 2014 at the Willoughby Brewing Company and sponsored by Tim Misny [photo by John Burroughs]


Cleveland Spiritual

Are you thirsty?
Well, we have what you’re thirsty for.
Push open the door, pull up a stool,
and order a draught of Cuyahoga River’s
burnished Cleveland Spirit,
distilled right here
in the Best Location in the Nation.

This Cleveland Spirit pumps
through tap-houses of poetry
and museums of history, Playhouse stages
and West Side Market stalls. It swells
through Nighttown jazz and House of Blues,
Severance Hall and Beachland Ballroom,
it floods the rooms of Gordon Square Arts
and Tremont restaurants, it sweeps into
FirstEnergy Stadium and Progressive Field—
everywhere you go, there’s ”Dog Pound”
and “Go Tribe,” Spirit enough
to fill the televisions of grills and pubs
and bars, Spirit enough to fill the seats
and paint this city in brown and orange,
red, white, and navy blue.

This is Cleveland,
come slake your thirst; make yourself at home.
Pour another draught and drink deeply
of the music that inspired, invited
and inveigled the Rock Hall of Fame:

Michael Stanley, Eric Carmen, Tracy Chapman,
Machine Gun Kelly and Bone Thugs N Harmony,
Steve Adler, The Dead Boys, Nine Inch Nails, and
that “Skinny Little Boy from Cleveland, Ohio.”

Quaff that Cleveland Spirit driving the special
personalities who’ve called this city “home”:

Daniel Thompson and his Alley way,
Carnegie and his Avenue,
Daffy Dan and his tee shirts,
Dick Goddard and his wooly bears,
Neil Zurcher and his One-Tank Trips,
Les Roberts and his Milan Jacovich mysteries,
Lanigan and his mornings,
Ghoulardi and his “aaaaaaaaamraaaaaap”,
Hoolihan, Big Chuck and Little John, Barnaby,
Captain Penny and Halle’s Mr. Jingaling.

Down another fine draught of Cleveland Spirit:

Great Lakes Brewing,
Home of the Buzzard,
It’s Live on Five,
See the USA. in Your C. Miller Chevrolet
World-Class Care Close to Home,
Garfield One Two Three Two Three,
I’ll Make Them Pay.

We’re here to intoxicate your senses
and blow down your fences!
Kick back, hook your heels in this city’s rungs,
relax and stay awhile. Hold out your hand
for another round of Cleveland’s finest.

This is Cleveland—my home,
and when you’re here, it belongs to you, too.
This is Cleveland;
come as you are—
but do come thirsty.


* * *

“Cleveland Spriritual” by Dianne Borsenik will appear in the book #ThisIsCLE: An Anthology of the 2014 Best Cleveland Poem Competition, to be published in January 2015 by Crisis Chronicles Press.

Dianne Borsenik is active in the Cleveland poetry scene and regional reading circuit. Her work has been widely published in journals and anthologies, including Slipstream, Rosebud, Lilliput Review, The Magnetic Poetry Book of Poetry, and Haiku World: An International Poetry Almanac. Recent books include Corpus Lingua (Poet’s Haven), Fortune Cookie (Kattywompus), and Blue Graffiti (Crisis Chronicles). She is founder of NightBallet Press, and lives in Elyria with husband James and dogsons Bodhisattva and Michael-Angelo. Find her on Facebook, or at www.dianneborsenik.com.