February 04, 2006

Let's take the scenic route, eh?

On Seattle

It's as if I am visiting after being away far too long.
I had almost forgotten the feeling
of damp air on skin,
the sickly sweet smell of garbage and bum piss
in the alleys of downtown,
and the way spring doesn't come until June --
buds bursting into colorful crowns
yesterday nonexistant in the green,
now grinning and bobbing outside my window.

I had almost forgotten the contradiction of this place:
How it buzzes, steel and glass planted in wetland;
The reflections in tall, mirrored buildings
of slender trees tacking down squares of earth along gritty streets;
The reflections in wide, windowed buildings
of two people in one trenchcoat beneath a yellow bus sign, kissing;
The reflections in geometric wonders of buildings:
reverse images of brick buildings and black buildings
and of building itself.

I'd let the pierced blonde woman slip my mind:
glittering tragically in anger and rebellion
with her carefully dirty hair,
lounging always outside the coffee shop
with newsprint-blackened fingers
framed by the fog of a hot-tipped cigarette.

I had almost forgotten the noise:
The pregnant silence just before
a strong-armed man in rainboots throws his head back,
hands outstretched in an embrace with thick air
and belts "Fish! FII-IISH!"
in a gravely bass that makes me want to join him
in my own triumphant release;
And the cacaphony of buses, taxis and horse-drawn carts
jockying for position along First Avenue,
all hissing, honking and clopping.

And I am lucky to have been moved to remember
how in a day amongst
the raincoats
and streetlights
and brick buildings
and buses
it's possible to exist solely on this energy
and be satiated, somehow.

Bumper to bumper,
we creep through the arteries of this city together.
Bonding in bored glances from lane to lane,
we flirt -- one metal pod to another --
at seven, eight, fourteen miles per hour.

I finally peel away from the rush hour rest
and fly.

Brakes shriek as I careen around a corner,
reckless in my new freedom.
I pass the standing firemen,
all navy jumpsuits and square jaws,
at the station
with my windows cranked down and
The Doobie Brothers blaring from the one good speaker.

I sing through the sucker tucked in my cheek
just loud enough for them to notice,
though I don't know the words to this one.

The air screams in one window --
whipping my hair about my neck
pouring in my sleeves, around my ankles
then biting cheeks and dampening eyes --
before it bursts out another.

I watch it in the rearview
as it teases the litter in the street behind me;
I watch it grow smaller.

And I watch the dappled light,
filtered through the trees,
flying over my hood, windshield and me,
faster and faster:
an Appaloosa racing through the veins of this metropolis.


David said...

It sounds so nice when you put it that way.

BTW: I flirt with the fire fighters too.

Erin Monahan said...

I enjoyed the nostalgia in this piece. I think it could be pruned a bit, it seems a little more verbose than it needs to be, and though I've used it before, I dislike the word dappled. Love the image, but the word itself has come to border on cliche.

The imagery in this piece is really strong throughout. I especially like the 5th strophe of part III and the mix of assonance and consonance in

"an Appaloosa racing through the veins of this metropolis."

Trebuchet said...

Yes... good. Verbosity is always the problem for me. I'll tighten. Thank you!