I love when colored salmon spawn
And leap with ease over towns on high
With rippling waves and glistening sheen
How they bound between these rocky outcrop clouds
And spread their whispy tendril fins
Across the cascading pinkish sky
I love the night just before it breathes
Quiet as waivering gills unseen
When the salmon color seeps into the sky
A dawning of Spring,
The tree’s pollen eye-dust spreads free.
White paint-stroke wind swirls and
sways through the plains,
the grass kindly greets in sighing retreat.
Blue skies softly shelter,
filling the days with their comforting hues.
Sparsely dotted roaming cotton clouds dance as
the yellow Sun yawns and spreads its rays,
rousing the slumbering bear from his winter den.
Sounds of the hen’s call awaken,
a signaling for paper to meet pen.
The heart swells and empties
just as the flower’s buds lazily fall open
at the bidding of the Sun’s young light.
An open world, the never ending wood,
A night river flows just beyond the bend,
full of salmon fighting upstream from the wrong end.
A tender letter penned but not sent.
A winged man smiles and whispers visions,
guiding my ascent.
Unfortunately, a penned letter is not always sent,
just as all the hopeful salmon do not
make it back to their springing den.
Some sneak by and continue their uphill fight
but others are clawed and left stuck within the
bear’s teeth, writhing in defeat.
On rainy days
I look up poems set in Seattle,
then look back at the rain set against the window
I imagine the water was carried here
from the shores of their bay
across Pike Place, through Belltown,
in buckets they use
to carry Pacific salmon off fishing boats,
or in lidded Styrofoam bowls used
to take out clam chowder
I practice walking from parking lot to book store
without the aid of an umbrella
like how their locals do, somehow cool
with getting wet,
unhurried as they sip their coffees black
I renounce sugar packets and follow suit:
bitter coffee, rain,
toasting to this combination forged on their puddled streets
that see more poets per square mile
than anywhere else in the country
Magicians can have Vegas, its illusions
Asians, San Francisco and its gold bridge
I think I should just have this coffee,
and this rainy day
as the poem it is.
To everyone born to this world with nothing
No social code, allowed to risk it all with no bluffing
While others get bored being handed their every desire
I spent my childhood days building dirt empires
Dreaming of the molds I was not cut out of
When I'd sit down with fellow folks talking of my aspirations
Most just laughed, brushed me off like I had no chance
So I fueled my fire with life's frustrations
My life works may never something tangible
But if you read every chapter of me, your hands would overflow
This world doesn't seem to understand my twisting mind
But at least I never looked at my dining room,
Thinking it's a great place to hang a clothes line
I'm taking jabs at my past but never dwell in that hollow home
Past these child eyes how much of me do you really know
If you were me, if you had to be, disrespectfully some say they'd **** themselves
Take that negativity and raise myself onto a higher shelf
I find my best inspiration in music and staring out at stars
one of my favorite pieces I ever wrote was just about passing cars
I'm scared that people are being cookie cut all the same
In a Stepford manner more messed up than Gerald's game
They hand you charts and define you in a statistic
Like they already threw you the ball but you missed it
I'm here to breath life into a deflated man's scene
Don't let these demons destroy your darkest dreams
Spark a light onto who you want to be
In a sea of fish, be the one swimming up stream
nest in winter hollows
the future reflected
in all-knowing eyes
an internal compass buried
in each golden heart
dappled forest light
on the natal stream
memories of salt
the latent lure
of open ocean
our destinies are silver
a return to clear waters
glassy-eyed and gasping
on the gravel bed
that birthed us
purse seiners packed in tight
anchored on the fragile shoal
shadows play on the white wall
dune grass, needle, leaf of tree
gallows rising from the sea
back and forth the tenders run
salmon gathered one by one
the struggle and the toil
the silver flashing fins
leaping from the net
slipping back within
After our 3rd 16-hour shift we skipped down the gravel road in the 4 am dusk holding still numb hands
hysterically laughing about a snowman made of ****** fish ice and decorated with intestines
to our room of splintered walls and sand infused beds.
Drunk on sleep deprivation and the movement of the conveyor belts
Fiona demanded of the 4 am twilight that our work be easier tomorrow
I told her that tomorrow could always be the hardest
she told me that I’m Eeyore because my contemplation always looks a bit like pessimism.
A week later I stuck my finger in the pus filled lesion of a salmon
and worried that I wasn’t existing well enough
I asked Fiona if she thought we were more ourselves dressed in layers of sleep deprivation
She cut 3 tails and stated that we must experience more life when we’re awake for 18 hours a day.
This place had forced the clean carefully constructed versions of ourselves to collapse
but she didn’t want this coarse damp translation of humanity to be what we intrinsically are.
Water and pink slime slid down my rain gear as I processed her words and the fillets sliding by
60 salmon later she spoke again
“You said once that every person you meet has some sort of impact on your life.
Maybe you’re always you but never the you that you were before this moment
because who we are is infinitely changing
we won’t always be grime.”