fiveby Sean Cole and David Kirschenbaum
People in Canton were letting you park on their lawns for $20 on up, so Philip and I kept looking and parked further, arriving at Pro Football Hall of Fame in time to kind of find a standing place for induction ceremonies of Joe Montana, Ronnie Lott, Howie Long, Dan Rooney and Dave Wilcox.
The closest U.S. Bank branch to Toronto one month before I moved back south wasn’t close. My bum employers, just to scrimp I guess, chose this yokel network – no locations in New York, or Jersey, or Philly, or New Hampshire, or Vermont, no. Closest one was North Kingsville, Ohio.
I’d never seen such powered smoking and coffee drinking as at the AA meeting in the den of the house a friend got me put up in the weekend of his wedding in Columbus. Next morning my new luggage was cat piss soaked and I was off to a nearby hotel.
Broke. No waiting three weeks for my Yankee checks to clear The Royal Paranoyal. So with two months worth of pay in tow I drove the 4-plus hours to North Kingsville, home of nothing else from all I could tell but this little money hut. Walked in wearing the chevron of a Navy vet on my arm, said “I need these cashed. I called ahead.” Teller’s eyes went white like Daddy Warbucks when Annie said something she orphan shouldn’t.
Oh, oh, oh, who’s that kid
clinging to the pool edge
like he’ll drown and not be found.
A flounder’s opposite. The blue
of the open puddle grounds him.
Oh he’s a ‘fraidy fish. Lean down
and kiss his ink scalp. A carp
will talk to itself when alone
in a fountain. Pull up your suit,
blue-bacon, there’s no room on
Earth for such useless wigglry.
Another state down after
masturbating in the bathroom
of the Portland Museum of Art.
We’d always take these summer
road trips on the east coast, traveling
from Flatbush or Oceanside to
Howe Caverns, The Baseball Hall of Fame,
D.C., Williamsburg, Amish Country,
Hershey Park, where we rode a tram past
vats and vats of melted chocolate.
I said “What’s in that cake box,” and
Aunt Jinx said “That’’ Grandpa.” Boy Scout
campground, gray coats arching over man-high
hole. One box goes in – five rocks.
Or six. Uncle opens Indian face
to sob upward. One arm out, other
dangled me on it. “He used to carry
us in his mailman bag,” he says. Dad’s
nose runs. My forefinger nurtures forward
the best hoop earring I ever owned, silver,
like all the others, I bought on south street.
normally hoops have this thin
bendable wire that you have to try
and maneuver into a real tiny hole
and it’s past tough to do so.
this hoop had no thin bendable
wire with matching tiny hole, but it was
hinged, all one type and size of silver that
you put through your hole and then close
so the one end instantly connects with the other.
My mother asked me to take it
out for my sister’s wedding, September 10 1989.
And, after a little arguing, I did.
That was the last time I saw it.
300 kids, 27 professors, one lady-like hill.
OK, this doesn’t have anything to do with Vermont and me,
But what’s a lady-like hill?
That doesn’t sound too PC.
Wasn’t it you who sorta scolded me a moment ago
for referring to someone as a “fine piece of ass?”
Yeah that was me. The hill? 3 parts.
Double bump dead middle and a mile yon.
One ledge rolling widesouth. One hummock
opposite. Tom and I
stood staring from the upper lot I said,
“Do you ever miss this?”
“What,” he said “you mean the woman
spreading her legs for me?”
View forever ruined.
That doesn’t sound like it ruined the view at all
The only time I was in Vermont was the last time I had a girlfriend,
17 years ago.
I always used to say my school was
so small I knew the come sounds of people
I didn’t even like. But
tonight – an epiphany:
that’s true everyplace. (One million
green bushes root the terra of our alma mater.)
We saw the first Brady Bunch movie with her friends.
I didn’t like that they goofed on the Bradys,
Kept them in period ’70s garb,
While everyone else was dressed for the ’90s.
(My very Brady [’]90’s began in Brattleboro.
Ended below a blue bird nipping
my dad always talked about the mountain.
18-yrs-old, stationed at Ft. Lewis,
not far from Tacoma,
would awaken each morning to the mountain,
“th-a-a-a-a-a mountain” he always put it,
this his most popular, most repeated, story.
Waking each morning to Mount Rainier.
It’s why I headed out to the Pacific Northwest,
to see my dad’s 18-yr-old mornings
through my 35-yr-old eyes.
Mt. Rainier disappears. The natives
Call it “disapainier.” One cloud – pow.
No peak even. The whole
hill. They call it pungent sound some
mornings when the stink wanders in
on kitten feet. It smells like…
To see the Mountain,
not a close second,
Sleater-Kinney opening for Patti Smith at Pier 62 in Seattle
was in a way first,
the impetus for this trip to the Pacific Northwest
and this show
being near the Mountain, Ft. Lewis,
meant this trip.
A few days later I train to Olympia,
rent car and drop stuff at Golden Gavel Motor Hotel.
That day a trifecta—
Sleater Kinney Road,
where I jump out and take a self-pic with me and the sign;
where I tour and find out Jerry Garcia was also stationed where dad was;
and the Mountain, Mount Rainier,
where I stop part of the way up
and other tourists take my pic,
before I keep driving,
then in a lodge eat trip’s one swanky meal,
before trail walking a bit.
“Rainier” was “Takhoma” also “Tahoma” plus “
Ta-co-dey” “Tu-ah-ku” and “Puak-coke.” Most
of the names are Native American for “Mt. Rainier.” A fuseless
city at its foot took on “Tacoma” when it fell from the pike peak.
Now and then a wedding occurs there and I’m the solemnizer.
Drop dead pagoda pops up like prim lung at threshold hour.
Normally I write “smoke” in the dirt w/ a spoke.
No one had less to say but still—I spell it well.
Heard ex-Dead Kennedy frontman Jello Biafra give political talk,
the fastest coupla hours ever,
after a surprise introduction from Nirvana’s Krist Novoselic.
A few days later,
I played “Smells Like Teen Spirit”
on a Seattle bar’s jukebox,
one of the 10,000 last places Kurt was seen,
and felt anything but cheesy,
just warm, real warm.
Then to Safeco Field for Mariners game,
and couldn’t find an official cap to fit my head.
My vest breathless
I ask the assemblants who wants out of this disco.
None says yes. I ask
the O’Connor question always. How,
when you’re 6 foot 8, do you nimble through the eye of a pin.
“A pin’s blind” some nimrod leans and sasses at me.
“Kid,“ I say “Escape that canticle of yours.”
Got a press pass to sit one table from the court
and watch the WNBA’s Seattle Storm,
see who I’d later discover was Poland’s tallest woman,
7’2” Margo Dydek of the Utah Starzz.
The wilderness is a house. Drive points east here
there’s toucans, emu maybe a lion, bite-sized, in national amber.
Travel up and down this ornery sand, sir,
it’s an ark. All of it. Two by two like Woody Guthrie said.
Yours and ours. I’ve seen the red mountain waters
up close in a book and I’ve seen them with my car.
I could look up and tell you which state each cloud first
accumulated over. But, just now, I don’t want to show off.
[Authors' note: David's lines are in Roman. Sean's lines are in italics.]
Sean Cole is the author of By the Author and The December Project (Boog Literature), Itty City (Pressed Wafer) and One Train (Dusie). His poems have appeared in several publications including Black Clock, Court Green, Pavement Saw and Boog City. He's also a producer for the public radio program This American Life.David Kirschenbaum
David A. Kirschenbaum is the author of The July Project 2007 (Open 24 Hours), a series of songs about Star Wars set to rock and pop classics. He is the editor and publisher of Boog City, a New York City-based small press and community newspaper now in its 27th year. His Gilmore girls tinged poems form the lyrics of Preston Spurlock and Casey Holford's band Gilmore boys. The duo have engaged together in writing projects for over a decade.