The smoke stacks that line the waterfront be like giant joints puffing thoughts of her into air embalmed by hundreds of rainy days That slow burn, against the icy bay and the barges that carry their loads through them This corner of the country gets six hours of daylight, tops Greys seared by neon, smoke and clouds and fog produced as one continuous substance There's a pleasant blurryness here floating amid the buoys and the docked ferryboats, In the way the monorails glide above toward a 1960s dream of the space age through an Amazonian jungle of glass and cranes in harmony with the clouds sailing overhead Here is where you go to let off steam deferred, where you ride trains through a kind of dark that arrives early, stays up late as shadows wander across the gum covered walls of Post Alley lik lost souls freed from lit joints protruding from the skyline to a high beneath starless heaven Resting into the glow of that harbor against thoughts of her that cloud the view of the sea.
Raised in this floating world, forever deep. You can’t drain the ocean
Decidedly from down south of here You can’t un-trace the roots.
You can’t lie and say, “This isn’t where I grew up” You can’t deny the fruits of what was planted two generations ago when your grandpatents arrived from the Philippines, seeds in tow soil for the taking You can’t confiscate what they claimed when they planted their flags into the moon-white sand of a beach in Florida on a far side of the planet their forefarthers have never seen
You can’t say those flags weren’t there when wind came You can't ***** out that pride of country, cut off its native tongue and its acquired taste, or pass up the plate of fried lumpia and rice passed down from the kitchen of your Daddylol feeding seven kids day in and out with tomatoes he planted, chickens he raised, Malonggay leaves he grew with thumbs so green they wrote in the papers about it He was a farmer Your grandmother, a nurse And i was writer And this is our story
You can’t erase the letters of your name, your lineage written all over it like a map of everywhere we been You can’t take back the words in Tagalog and Chavacano your Lola Shirley must have sang your mother to sleep with You can’t take their dreams
You can't just wake up one day and undo the ripple effects their moves created across waters 10,000 miles east of here, the rolling waves they curled into or the faraway shores they washed up upon Bottled messages in hand Our legends held within You can’t say centuries from now that they won’t feel it when their feet hit the sand of their own frontier beside the waves we stayed making a history written in deep water for those who come after you to sail above and beyond.
If you're unclear about love, return your heart to a place with fog With clouds created from breathing in the cold during long uphill walks that end in a view of the water Return the way daylight retreats to the grey embrace of the Pacific Northwest sky at the edge of winter, dissipates in all directions like ripples upon their misty bay Return the way sunset colored leaves hanging in limbo fall back to Earth Visions to pieces Tears to eyes as condensation builds against the glass of a coffeeshop window and distorts the view from outside and from within Return the way rain lands on a broken sidewalk in Seattle, not pouring so much as drifting through what looks like a new morning blurred with all the dark nights that came before.
Seattle is where it's okay to bury your head in the clouds, where it's acceptable to walk beside and among their sad water
Here, the greys of puddled sidewalks give way to deeper greys that extend beyond the reach of their docks
This is the place where you can get to any level of cold and wet, only to be steps away from any given coffeeshop and the steam from a mug held with two hands
This is where you'll wake up and face the rain sans umbrellas where you'll gain an aesthetic to the gloom, a poise to the overcast Shrouded in mist at the far corner of the map, you'll draw your energy in harmony with the ups and downs of their multi-storied fish markets and undulant streets
Here, you'll find your path through faded daylight and breathe in air embalmed by hundreds of rainy days
You'll exhale the weight you carry within your chest into a healing view of a horizon lined by ferry boats, there to take you across whatever darkness you're faced with at day's end.
maybe the buildings are hollow, occupied only in facade on the first floor of storefronts
maybe this whole town is a hologram of neon against puddles on the pavement.
maybe the citizens are ghosts floating by in circles, or squares of city blocks, around a routine, or droning through on electric scooters as if on muted theme park rides to the next sensory diversion; to the nearest gastronomical pleasure; toward the weekend and its next party celebrating the loss of time, I see their tired faces
staring out from the glass of coffeeshop windows on every block. I see their piles of beer cans beside the trash chute. I hear them singing on *****-cruises to nowhere
What part of this cycle that turns days into dust moves us closer to heaven?
What feast from what new restaurant downtown will feed our souls?
From which lonely night do we finally emerge beside the one whose presence fills these hollow buildings to the top-most floors?
Which of the empty lots between us do we fill with a conversation about how this is all a dream, or how we'll keep each other awake on a bench beneath a street lamp before dawn waiting for the first bus to take us home.