You’ll Like Tacoma: A Sequence of Five Poems by Patrick E. Gabbard15 May 2017, Posted by Poetry in
YOU’LL LIKE TACOMA: A SEQUENCE OF FIVE POEMS
No clarity here
Or if there is, it only emerges from the ocean—
Sun gone to pale blue in the clouds, sitting east.
thunderheads/clouds beneath the clouds—
always the stern rush inland—
there is a binary here, nothing fresh about it and always/
a struggle to get beyond the wet and the dry—
you want to say/to tell/everyone that this is a dead end.
the land is flood-prone/and there is always a river (slow) or a lake (black).
so the reconciliation of landscape with personal history is difficult/
one is heavier than the other/and there is rain saturating all of it.
I can only speak of the I-5 corridor/and not even the whole of that—
the largest of the illusions implied here is synthesis.
I suppose I should mention the freeways/
the long bray and roar of them/
the city has been vivisected/
had a new artery forced into the wound/
and so the child knows signage/
the child knows signage/
the movement of goods/
and the wet mark of location/
Helvetica a glare under the streetlamps/
When the child sees the freeway/
he tries to get a handle on the severance/
tries to process the bifurcation but cannot/
(fence access road loading dock)
they glimmer in the rain/become
of the land.
Can I speak of the city in erotic terms/or does the city become a burden for the mind,
an indictment of itself?
the city is both a physical entity and a knowledge/
it’s got legs and elbows and an equilibrium/
it knows fatigue/
but is unseen/or known only in the hidden air
within the walls of a house/ the problem with my account
is that so many of the houses have been abandoned.
nothing here gets better/the city remembered/
becomes a fetish of its own/a breast in the hand.
It’s a redundancy/an organism/a tremor in the static/
Tacoma/Tahoma and then Rainier
it would have been interesting to see it blow/
to see those glaciers turned to filth/the trees turned to match sticks.
the memory accounts for/accommodates its own redundancy.
The city is remembered one way in the morning/one way in the afternoon/and yet
anther at night.
the city had a rain of its own/and was remembered another
way in the rain.
the city took on a speech of its own/arranged its vowels and consonants in moraine/
the city is remembered one way in hunger and another in thirst/
the motive for the arrangement is unclear/the entropic impulse always wins out.
About the author:
Patrick Gabbard was born in Tacoma, Washington. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from Arizona State University (2011) and is completing a Ph.D. from the University of Kansas (expected 2018). His work has appeared in Neon, Black Fox, OVS, and many other publications. He lives with his wife in Portland, Oregon.
Art Credit: “Chicago Dreams” by photographer Chris Rivera, @chris.rivera