For Paul and Tiffany Chuk
A palace for dogs
that bound, moles that
dig and construct tunnels.
We feed the former,
petting and laughing,
and we gas the other.
We put gas in their tunnels
and they die, we think.
The palest folks who wear the garb
and the garb wears our gaze.
Rice and eggplant stew.
Beer with hints of honey:
importations from Lebanon.
It is hushed and dark and beautiful.
The way the world outside could be.
I imagine cyclones
and I imagine walking
with more awareness.
Instead I can feel cinnamon
ebbing and flowing.
I wrote this poem once.
One time, before the pie.
I wrote poems about blood.
But I was not well then.
What is The Cube, anyway?
And where are the shoppers?
Saturday nights in the mall:
where consumerism intersects
with the cemetery, or, possibly,
the sterility of the morgue.
Profound lighting and distance.
Profound isolation amidst product.
Though we are here together,
laughing and commenting:
a personal paradise of cheap thrills.
5: Get Out
The heart presses within:
a static pressure and it is warm.
What have I subjected you to?
What subversion is this form of friendship?
So this is why people go to “the movies.”
I imagine being alone, or together,
eating popcorn, or drinking beer.
The shots that make me jump:
there is art in horror’s subtle pleasures.
6: Mt. Hood
The long drive across 84 scraping through rain
and sun and, eventually, the terror of snow,
which in this case is nothing, nothingness, abyss.
But it is warm and open, the world wide and stunning.
The world wild and stirring us into its mix.
Later, when we reach the mountain of powder,
things slow, become engorged in happiness.
I notice birds swooping between power lines.
I hunt for poses that won’t put me in physical danger.
Am I the only one
who has seen The Shining?
In this group, yes.
When nostalgia is stolen
There is the spectrum of feeling:
condemnation of self.
I dream of words like “spectra”
and “specter” and “scepter.”
and bourgeois innocence.
8: Smith and Bybee
The woman in black
discards the black:
and screaming at the car.
I long for a similar range
in my own emotions.
It is cloudy though sunlit.
It is warm though raining.
The world is as explosive
as it sits implosive,
sucking me into its depths.
9: Cathedral Park
The shapes lean in and collapse.
Perhaps the sturdiness is what gets me.
I imagine peace and harmony.
I feel a burst of happiness within.
Nothing could be changed for the worse.
The green is like the Statue of Liberty,
I agree as we walk forward, forward.
This is the perfect place to get boots dirtied.
This: landscape of actual movement.
The home before and the drive after.
Extremes that return me to solemnity.
The clock ticks and tickets me in.
Into the inebriation of the present.
Stay still. Stay up. Stay pushing.
We beckon and call like music.
We gracefully exit each other’s scenes.
The older we get the thicker time becomes.
Thickness is a blur of prolonged sadness.
What if we could just be right?