Poem: Lake Chad Café

A poem from the larger collection, An Autumn for Kora Mao.

September 16, 2017

Lake Chad Café, Seattle’s Central District, with Charles Green and Jim O’Halloran


Yes, this brain’s a tide of bonds,

infinite handshakes graceful in stillness.

Imagine the image of us as one gasp.

Imagination as one long grasp.

Grabbing single birds by independent wings.

Much time toppling a stack of fruit,

hearing the piping retort of action

and a jump and a jargon played.

Take that lotus smote of magic,

take this set of rampant lilies.

The crossroads of gentle and gentry,

the full cycle of the uprooted center.


Centrism upon freshness is sweet.

There’s a funk in the street.

Who’s here for it? Who’s here?

Me near, me there? You? You?

Chutes and ladders and roots

and the inevitability of severing.

Staying together while we all sever.


It’s that last line of the amelioration.

It’s the world on fire and people dancing.

Edge of the lips and optimism as angry.

Violence at the edge of the world before

the tipping motion to a crown,

singular cavity to hold us all,

and I keep thinking out loud

and that old slap on the back,

talk to self is a mouth

and an engulfing of hair

in this smoky yet aerial landscape.


Remembering vistas and veritas

and the mangled attitudes of the road,

and the killed don’t stay for long,

the gore acknowledged then passed, gone.


It’s the eruption of blinking

through the consolidated memory

rapidly piecing together a rearing,

rapidly becoming the peering.


It’s stupidly present,

changing the way you look at it all.

Before the challenge of a yawn,

and the rapture of a release,

we get the presence we deserve.

And it blinks like opened pores.

Shaped like a scythely mind.

It’s stupidly present, it’s genuine,

this genocide, an ultra-alert,

like the posture of a brilliant violet,

which assumes the form of tea,

and balances our forms of stone.


And then we get wettened,

and our stone skins darken

and smell like sweet rain fallen.


What stays is what rises.

The lungs and heart and future

accelerating and rallied.


The Cuban sits with his back to the wall,

a grin showing this music hasn’t stopped.