Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Three Through Oregon

For a while, we thought we were in Seaside.
The crags spiking from the water, the earth’s dome edge
visible beyond the pacific. The tidepools drying,
leaving dead jellyfish, plankton baking with maggots.
Then we thought we were in Pacific City,
with the houses all slung low and cute
over the sand, the road wandering and ending
near the hill we climbed last year,
and it sure has eroded since then,


I am killed by ultraviolet.
I am toast in a broken oven.
There is no water for my feet,
only an icebox and pick.
I am grounded by seafood,
swam by late night Frisbee chase
and not good enough at ping pong
for family occasions.

The Mo’s in every town,
the pirates with their coffee
curving 101, I hug the side
of passenger vans,
Tipping but never rolling,
swerving but never crashing
rocketing towards oncoming camrys
sliding back over double yellows just

Riding back from the edge of the earth,
free of coastal chains, or national, through
pine bluffs and mini valleys and every
third mile someone with an “Ie” ending
their name runs a family diner, every sixth,
an ammo store.

Salem looks like a slice of Portland hot-injected
with South Everett, Hear No Evil’s Car-Audio store
crowned the king of roadside wordplay, the
trailer park a few blocks from the state capitol
and the freshmen ahead of me chattering about
the day awaiting them in Portland, whether the
Smiths are still alive.

Don’t blame me for sleeping, don’t blame me
for staying awake. Killed in the body, mind swimming
and the days weight settling in at the base of my neck,
as we roll into Oregon City, “Welcome to Historic Oregon City.
The end of the Oregon Trail” across from a
Home Depot and McDonalds.

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