Archive for June, 2009

A thought for summer solstice

2009/06/21

Footprints

Every square centimeter
every vista of our mother earth
every place visible to our inquisitive eyes
remembers footprints — the first humans and
those who preceeded the first, the many
nations of swimmers, walkers and
flyers and sliders.

Just look how our own feet
mark earth, rocks, sand.

And even in dissipating
when footprints disappear,
melting into mud or
dusting away on the breeze, they
change forever some small
part of our beautiful round world,
just as depressions of heels in beach sand
govern how a small part of that next wave
returns to the sea, minutely changing all
subsequent waves
forever.

Grandfathers, tunka sheilas,
smile down at my own steps, and
guide them to honor all nations of
swimmers, walkers and flyers and sliders,
as my footprints change forever
my brothers and sisters and cousins.

In the four directions, grandfathers watching.
Mitakeyu oyasin, mitakeyu oyasin.

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Uptown Espresso, Lower Queen Anne

2009/06/05

Uptown Espresso, Lower Queen Anne

Coffee and the Seattle Post Intelligencer, sipping…
reading how life in the city grows increasingly insular.

So this fellow sits right now, Sunday morning at
an outside table smoking, drinking coffee
out of a paper cup, coffee from a different place
down the street while his orange, yellow and white
striped trousers argue vehemently with the electric lime green
jacket he wears over a dark blue hooded sweatshirt, and
a thin layer of smirch mediates the conversation.

Cheap running shoes and whiskers complete his outfit, and
he may be into his fifties.  His face tells of new starts that
didn’t work, of bleary, pasty-skinned thirsty mornings
discovering — or realizing — a lover would not be back.

He glances side to side, up and down the sidewalk and
his hands fidget at his crossed knees while the foot crossed over
moves idly about in midair, showing a white cotton sock
between trouser and shoe.

He begins talking to nobody at all, or to the world and
suddenly he’s up and gone, walking carefully up Queen Anne
toward apartment houses he could never even apply for, and
all the lunches his mother may have packed for him,
the meals he sat down to, the conversations with friends or rivals,
close shaves he escaped, times when he didn’t, new jobs,
ballgames he played, scenes he saw, lovers he knew,
dogs of his childhood and new toys and lessons in school,
days he skipped, buddies he skipped with, letters he wrote,
cars he wore out, or wrecked, cold nights he shivered, songs
he heard or sang, kites he flew, all gone along with him,
inside the hood of that blue sweatshirt, headed for whatever
the day will give him, and instead of asking his name, hearing
his stories, maybe being spare-changed or even rebuffed
(a story in itself, perhaps)…  Instead of making that human contact
I sat at my own coffee, watching, writing this.

Buenas Tardes, senora, pariente lejana

2009/06/02

Buenas tardes, senora, pariente lejana
Queda claro por qué tan pocas veces podemos ver
jóvenes chicanos sin limpiar, presionado ropas.

She steps hard-jawed into the laundromat
back out and in again, quickly, all business
with baskets of clothes for the washers, dryers
to be sorted judiciously and fed, along with
scrimpy quarters, into the machines she
can’t afford for home.

Years of making do, and gravity of labor
weigh down her cheeks, her breasts, while
age has thickened her middle and still, as
through some miracle of intent, she holds
that line, that appearance for the world
with fresh clothing, a hint of makeup.

Laundering clothes for her family, she is
a nation of brown-skins, speaking language
of their long-ago oppressors, blending her
ancestors’ ways into those foreign, forced cathedrals
that would separate humans from the world,
thus we preserve bits of heritage.

She stands here, north of imaginary lines
sketched on our earth by the invaders, and
sorts clothing that, laundered and pressed,
will show the world a resilience, a will
to survive, a history impossible to erase,
a strength residing in the blood.

©2009 Thomas Hubbard