The West Coast Poetry Project, Part 1.

Wore a headlamp in Hollywood, walked to see
my only cousin in a one-room apartment
with blue carpet and a Yankees cap
hung on the heater
One parking ticket and four apples later
we got “the hell outta dodge”
as my father would say
or as my mother would say
They both say what the other says now
so it’s hard to know who started what
And now I say what they say too
and I say “bellicious” and “Why I outta” with a little shaking fist
because Ellie says it
And she says it because her mom said it
and a kid said it and it sounds
good to hear your mouth say what your family
and your friends have said
Just like it feels good to obsess
over a spider building its own home
anew every day
There’s a reason poets are in love with spiders
There’s a reason we’re not driving straight back east
There’s a web wet with rain that’s threaded north
We must wreck what we’ve built
so we may build the home again

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We’re on the road! We’re heading up the coast!

We left San Diego yesterday. The West Coast Poem Project begins today. Stay tuned for poems written along the Pacific coast and photos as well. Here’s our tricked out truck, Egret the Egret, packed to the gills and ready for action.

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And here’s us driving away after a hellish half week of packing. Flower crown by Wyndellen!

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The map is on the wall (photograph).

 

The map is on the wall. Now the packing happens.

 

 

If I’m gone from this blog for a couple of days, it’s because we’re packing and we’re leaving this home and we’re headed on the road. Roadtrip “updates” (poems, impressions, photographs, souvenir descriptions) will appear here whenever possible.

 

Apologies to Farmer #1 for the less-than-gorgeous portrait.

 

 

A poem of farewell (mine).

 

Misha’s off to work in a shirt that’s too big

on him but he loves its colors. I bake the bread

 

when he leaves, mist it and cover it, cooling.

On my bike around town my clothes don’t

 

get caught in the pedals. At the café I edit

my poem, the one that’s now eight pages,

 

I drink my favorite coffee. The man to my left

says to his friend, “We’re here to share stories

 

and energy.” His beard is braided. I ride my bike

to the store, I see Christina who makes earrings

 

out of old records, John from Self-Heal, and Jeff

from the fruit stand is my cashier. I treat myself

 

to sushi at the high chair that overlooks the street

and see the Suzie’s truck roll past, the one I rode in

 

yesterday. I’ve lived here three years and the food

I eat is delicious and so much of it I’ve planted

 

with my own short thumbs. I’ve lived here three

years and I get across town on my feet, I’ve made

 

human mistakes and baked foods in summer, heat

overtaking the kitchen, the kitchen that leads

 

to the porch where tools are hung or lean, the porch

that steps out to the yard where we grilled and drank

 

and read our books, the yard we bought a table

and umbrella for, the yard where poems woke

 

the neighborhood, where sunburns sang and worms

were fed on foodscraps. Friends visited and friends

 

stopped by and friends brought food and friends

bought books or art and used up all the toilet

 

paper. We met them and we said come in and now

the nights are warm enough to let us go out

 

into them, the nights we hope will lead us

heavenward into a land we’ll plant ourselves.

 

 

 

 

Yesterday’s poem of the morning (mine).

 

I’m wearing all my rings this morning

Norah Jones is singing about flowers growing

 

in the frozen snow, how it’s all a show

She’s saying everything she wants to in a song

 

It will take me my life to say everything I want to

especially on the topic of hands and feet and happy

 

I shined up all my rings this morning

The broken turquoise one, the thin swoop of gold

 

from Sam that I wore for weeks after her surgery

I shined my only sapphire and my TAYLOR ring

 

given to me by whom I can’t remember

What’s the point if I can’t remember who gave it to me there still

 

must be a point

I have fat thumbs and new sandals

 

from Moya who said, Oh just take them

they’re your going away present you’re going

 

away now you’ll remember me