Archive

Uncategorized

Umpqua

(For Chris Mintz & John Hanlin)

 

According to Everytown for Gun Safety, the incident is the 45th shooting at a school so far this year

 

It is gray and cold in Boston but I’m thinking of ice cream and home.

Because Oregon is next to Washington and I’ve driven through Roseburg

on the way to Crater Lake. Because Umpqua is a bank

and a brand of ice cream I like

and that’s all it should ever have been

to me. It’s a river, a national forest

or the word “satisfied” in a dead language

from a dead tribe displaced before our Civil War,

when mass shootings were a matter of business,

unremarked and unreported but remembered.

 

So far

When does an event recur enough to lose its place as news?

When did an editor decide to not report a suicide because he knew

it would only cause more death?

When did we forget that there’s no such thing as bad publicity?

When we will know the life history of a broken man

while the lives that matter will be plastered on a banner,

faces like marks on a scorecard.

When I can count on one hand until next time,

0 days since the last…

When fame is merely the flick of a finger away.

We will keep having one conversation,

reloading words in the same jammed revolver.

Is a day off school in my hometown.
So I took my truck to Chuck’s point
to hunt buck. I strapped that buck to
the back of my truck, then jumped
bumps down hill and dumped
The hunk of former buck. We cut chunks
And froze a feast for weeks. I couldn’t help
But thank my luck for the buck hunt day
When I could have been learning geography.

Sydney and Sarah are sisters. They walk up offering to smoke with the campers on the beach. Sydney has a Coors Light. Sarah’s name isn’t really Sarah. She is twenty-one and her sister is nineteen. They both want to meet new people during their visit to Washington state.

Carl knows everything about bicycles. Everything. He is also more than happy to share his knowledge with anyone interested. He carries his life on a trailer behind his bike. Carl loves cycling and other cyclists are a treat every time he meets one. Today he is riding north to the coast.

Majestic as fuck, sitting there watching us
From a tree. Stretching his wings and shit,
Lifting his neck up like some crazy-ass
Prairie-dog bird. I mean goddamn that eagle
Was something special. Bitch was doing yogalates
I think. Staying all limber in case some dumb
Fish got too close to the surface, then ‘shank!’
Straight out the sky like a fuckin’ ICBM.
I could watch this bastard all day. What’s that?
He’s lifting his ass toward us. Is he gonna fly?
Ahhhh no! Just shot shit in our general direction.
Stay classy, eagle. Stay goddamned classy.