Wednesday, April 25, 2012


...I received an email/query asking if I’d be interested in a project they’re doing for Occidental Park here in Seattle whereby some authors write about an item (or objects) in the park and then those pieces get posted around the park as a way of having people slow down and make a closer observation of the area.
It seemed like a cool idea, and I vaguely know the girl who asked me (who seems pretty cool, as well), that I'd agree to do it (I’m not good at saying No.)
So, I wrote three poems.
I wrote them in fifteen minutes.
That’s how it mostly happens with me. If I struggle to write something, I usually come up with crap. But if it gushes out, I can create an ocean of words and most of the time it’s not too bad.
One of the poems is about these fantastic old trees in the park that people sometimes dress up with Sues-styled sweaters. The second is about the cobblestoned walkways. And the other is about the whole square and a cute little girl:
Here they are:

Occidental Trees

We lean in to learn your stories,
the ones you tell about mothers you miss,
or a wish you might have made one dawn
when wonder still held a certain promise and
rainbows could keep you captive.
Our backs are made of bark,
sometimes sheathed with only the brittle knots of moss,
other times wrapped in dog clothes—
striped stockings, woolen scarves or Crayola-colored dickies.
But we were here first,
us and the earth below the cobble stones you walk on.
We were here before the great fire and explosions,
when Yessler was floating logs to and from the pier.
We are Seattle’s sacred sons
and years from now we will still be standing,
albeit bent from trying to tell you the secrets
 of our long and happy history.

Accidental Wealth
If you look close enough you will see how alike we are—
our backs and faces worn from wear,
edges smooth or broken from
the pressures of lives well-lived.
Some of us bare scars-- spray-painted graffiti claiming “Jamie loves Fran 4Ever,”
a wad of gum stuck between our stone vertebra like
a pale eye missing its pupil.
Just now a little girl in a floppy hat
finds a coin in one of our crevices,
holds it up to the light, grinning wide,
letting the Seattle sun show her how rich she is.

What One Might Find

The buildings bearded with bushy ivy.
Streets a waffle iron.
Trees leaning in to eavesdrop.
Ancient totems, tall and prophetic.
Steel firemen looking almost regal.
A dozen tourists with their hip holsters.
Pigeons pecking for stray gold.
Gulls scrolling the sky.
Benches for the weary or wondering.
And somewhere among all the clatter and chatter a new couple holding hands,
  saying, “This is forever.”
  saying, “This is home.”

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