Flipping through my notebook, I came across a poem I thought was worthy of putting out there.
We went to Seattle on vacation and I wrote this rather than setting notes, as I intended. Thankfully this functions as both. Thanks, by the way, to Shawn StJean for the idea of using an author blog as a forum to share poetry.
steep sidewalks rise to multicultural cloud formations
smoke rings, clowns, machines
the simple, flat Puget Sound mocks the complicated peaks around
the streets crawl with fraught artistic minds - a live folk museum
with misplaced skyscrapers
because they can
to show they have it
success ain't just an East Coast thang
and have you tasted our coffee?
roots in self-pride. pride in self-expression
I'll take my coffee green, please
I'll rock a reverse mohawk
because I can
homeless men in the shadow of a totem pole with views of the Sound
tired bodies stretched on the grass, catching z's
bent forward on benches, scratching charcoal drawings
to make some bucks off wanting tourists
whole piles of drawings
art carried on their person
or is it their person?
body as studio
bones as easel
because I am
thick fingers dusty as the toes poking out of their oversized shoes
(shoes worn by donation never fit)
if it rains, when it rains, the drops lend a new dimension to the art
one of them brags about making the front page of the P.I.
before it went bust
the crumpled sheets, last night's pillow, add texture to the art
solemn faces on the totem pole look down and say, "It's your story. Another story."
the newspaper artist's cart of possessions so large he couldn't move further than a few blocks
the fraying paper showing his own, unsmiling face, sitting atop his mountain of stuff
i think of how every bathroom in Seattle had a lock with a code
keepin' 'em out
and i think about how there are no playgrounds, few parks
yet the taxes soar like the Columbia Center which the Sky Needle cowers beneath
if the homeless got the bucks from the piggy bank in Pike Place Market, would that be enough?
or would they still live the streets
catch z's in the park
speak to the totem
smoke grass, use grass as bedding
a wisp from the coffee shop that took some beans, a brand, made a billion bucks
'cause the coffee's good
because they could