Ray McNiece

Argos on Lake Erie's Shore

Northeast · Collinwood · Poetry

for Tim and Arlo

Lake Erie evening, a great blue page
upon which epic lines miles out crest
and disappear, but it is the silence between
surging surf crash washing hush, that swell,
into which the grey bearded man
beside the dying dog stares.

The dog rolls on a dead shad, the man smiles,
the great blue page has turned again,
telling no tale but what the man reads
as alabaster evening sails unfurl
and sunset, which he does not try
to capture on a cell phone, sinks

like a blast furnace on a rusty freighter,
or golden skull ablaze, or Ra’s barge,
or burnished shield of Apollo
that only the too few crew sailing back
to Ithaca would know—
it looks like a biscuit to the dog.

The great blue page has turned again,
the same diaphanous azure as the sky
or vice-versa, and he has finally rowed home
to Cleveland, and the dog rolls in death
one more time before huffling up,
turning to look, are we going?

Ray McNiece

Ray McNiece is the author of nine books of poems and monologues, most recently Love Song for Cleveland, a collaboration with photographer Tim Lachina and Breath Burns Away, New Haiku. The Orlando Sentinel reporting on Ray’s solo theater piece “Us—Talking Across America” at the Fringe Festival called him “a modern day descendant of Woody Guthrie. He has a way with words and a wry sense of humor.” He toured Russia with Yevgeny Yevtushenko, appeared on Good Morning, Russia and performed at the Moscow Polytech, the Russian Poets’ Hall of Fame where he was dubbed “the American Mayakovsky.” He has toured Italy twice with legendary beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti. He fronts the blues rock band, Tongue-in-Groove. He was appointed Poet Laureate of Cleveland Heights in April 2020.


Neighborhood Voices is a city-wide creative writing project designed by Literary Cleveland and the Cleveland Public Library to engage writers across Cleveland, allowing residents to connect with neighbors, share stories of their community, and draft new writing about what makes their neighborhood unique.


Cleveland Public Library
325 Superior Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44114

Project Created By Literary Cleveland

Literary Cleveland is a nonprofit organization and creative writing center that empowers people to explore other voices and discover their own. Through an expanding roster of multi-level classes, workshops and events, Literary Cleveland assists writers and readers at all stages of development, promotes new and existing literature of the highest quality, and advances Northeast Ohio as a vital center of diverse voices and visions.

Project Presented with Support By the Cleveland Public Library

Founded in 1869, Cleveland Public Library serves the residents of Cleveland through its network of 27 neighborhood branches, the Main Library downtown, Public Administration Library at City Hall, homebound delivery services, and mobile services to daycare and senior centers. From a collection of 10.5 million items, the Library lends over 5 million items a year to its 330,000 registered borrowers and to 43 other CLEVNET-member libraries in 12 counties across Northeast Ohio. Cleveland Public Library is home to the Ohio Center for the Book and the Ohio Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled, serving all 88 counties in the state of Ohio. For more information, visit cpl.org.