Monthly Archives: June 2012


You told me the scoop
in the side of my ass

was the mark of Jacob
wrestling with the angel.

I’m still wrestling.

Red Tail

a red tailed hawk hunts
ocean of air–feathering
oars before her kill

Raising an American City

Writhing in their pubic ferocity,
felled by the harnessed ox,
raised up in fluted bully columns,
capped with an architrave of lewd dentist’s wives,
their stout pendentive breasts saluting the day,
sloe-eyed buildings emerge from the mossy head
of the unbelieving forest.

Though brave Reed ran with the Bolshies,
bawling his warnings to the storied Ivy Ferret men,
he now lies buried in the onion-domed East.

On platforms of corrupted (yet heartfelt) constabulary (office -shells)
from awe-ful church benches
swathed in chorale garland,
groaning under organ chords of fellated splendor,
fleets of drunken sailors in pallor gay assail the Sunday socials,
mounting mayors daughters / delights while the great bell burns
and the bougainvillea bouquets
the peavey-eyed boots and
the hatchet plane faces of the tramps and loggers,
hauling their stickered catch from the unblinking river.

We annunciate the power of work!
Let us raise a new Xanadu in this valley called wilampt (spill water)
Where the Calapuya lived for 8000 years,
Gone like ghosts of the American dis-ease.

Let us stand up a world’s fair of barkentine castles and electrified gossamer.

Let us leave no leviathan black cottonwood unstumped!

Where the memaloose rest easy
and salmon big as ostriches offer their backs as a sacred bridge,
let us bring in the healing balm of enterprise!

Magdalenas of roses now enwreath the growing throng-parade of marching believers.

Holy the firm!
Breathe it in and hold fast!

A mayor’s earnest hand extends from his ribald royal coach,
his pubescent paramour subdued / sublimed,
palpitating the masses.

I turn my collar to the castigating westerly wind, step off the curb and fall into line humming,
catapulting arrogant engines of the air
to lift up the weary workers.

Exurban children unborn howl their joy,
heaping incendiary blessings / warnings on the unposed, the unknighted,
the misbegotten, the saintly poor.

Join us!
Join us in our revelry / rivening!

For an hour, I slip my bonds,
dancing with the cloistered, drunken (engorged) townsmen,
winding in a brawling second line down Broadway, zagging through town
in a starlit parade of pig-nosed fowl and feathered serpents large as whore houses,
lumbering towards the stars,
clearing / shearing the treetops,
calling out our clan names in the dun colored din,
we eventually find our deliverance
in the hardy-livered saloons
by the surly river
and the teeming head cheese marinade of butcher’s row.


Inherit my smile, my thundering joy
A tone ring of banjo, a remnant of sin,
That you may sing like a blues woman.

We are not what we imagined,
Penny whistle marks
On southering gales
Hoping for remnants of joy.

You with almond eyes
Listening like the biblical Mary
To what leans in from far Cassiopeia,
Taking a pounding in the waves,
Are meant for greatness of heart
Like the woman who gave you to me.

Sorrow’s boat is narrower than yours.
The shadows in your room
Hold only shoes.

Find in the river delta
what was left for you
By the mother you never knew,
For all our love flows through you
Lying rough and real against your collarbone.

Eat this bread, take this cup,
For all that is real,
for all that we knew.
The playground swing
and the climbing tree you hid in
Is where the real you came out
To say hello to the world.

Book of Office Days

I didn’t do dick today.
No, that isn’t true.
I drank a Dr. Pepper. Diet.
I rode the elevator at work.

I walked on a marble floor
avoiding stepping on any cracks.
My mother is elderly but doing fine.
Thank you very much.

I assented to being spied on
while using my computer at work
to read about how kangaroos
have three ovaries.
Fuck ’em if they can’t take a joke
Is what I say.

From the conference room
on the 15th floor I looked down on
the tall trees in the boulevard median below.
They looked like the model train world
my dad built out of green canvas when I was a kid.

Later, I rode my motorcycle home
swerving around the manhole covers
watching the clouds
pulling their sky wagons
up the long valley
towards the mountains.


Every muscle tells me
Trying to be young again
Is a fool’s errand
Still sleep is an ibuprofen away
And tomorrow is another day.

I stand under the pull up bar
And my shoulder wonders what I am thinking
My coach urges me on
No excuses, it’s all good.

Rain today.
Headache when I got to work.
Then I saw a peregrine falcon
Circling outside the widow
Of my office tower window

And I am 19 again
In the north cascade mountains
With alpine rivulets for lullabies
Deep moss for my pillow
The stone frescos of giants to climb
And all the time
in the world
To grow old.


peregrine falcon
circling by tower windows
Portland savannah

–Burl Whitman