One Night Seattle

At midnight, as the room sized

refrigerator rumbles, the wheel-chaired man with his hip hop tunes

roll over elm leaves and he sings and swings

his gloved hands passed the staple scattered

lamp post, pole inventory number a0855917

the cut corners of torn tour posters

a great elm with the finger print patterns

starting to split as the brother goes inside

at twelve twenty five. To help his sister

move her dresser and he stops, tells her not to ring him,

not to tip him off, not to ring him ever again

into garbage bags goes her clothes

and her green chipboard dresser stands near the door

and five minutes later lies on the roof rack,

at twelve fifty four she jogs to the car and he has changed her mind

And her brother says no and thinks of killing him, i know that face, and now he’s the bad guy:

pictures of fields without fences.

Near the Safeway on NE 50thSt a man kneels

in the garden bed, prying fuses from a power box

while another man beats the top

of a garbage dumpster with his fists.

America is raw. Seattle is safe, they say

and everyone you meet knows someone

close to killing themselves as they drive

and look at the Space Needle

and the driving and the heavy metal

course, course, course, course

the unexpected timing change

the unexpected fight in Cal Andersen park

as he yells in her face and he hates himself

and the man from Texas consoles her

and her spiral boned earrings, her black

framed spectacles sit on her ears

while the Pike Street lights illuminate

her diaphanous lobes and her shiny black hair

change colour as well, and her brother

drives, white knuckling the automatic gearstick

asking her what she’d like to listen to

Oh he’s been the nice guy for months

after the ex went on a cocaine bender

he bit his lip and gave him, the ex

with the homemade tattoos

another chance.


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