Deborah Poe



dub for cascadia


Returning to a place after a long absence, we are often shocked by both the small and the vast changes, effectively alerting us to the radical indifference places have to the sentiment we apply to them. Here, our own selves can become the site of an internal quarrel as to how a place once was; by claiming to cognitively remember the feel of a place, our bodies can provide a different history of the past. The result is that a place can take on a life of its own, quite apart from the way it is experienced or remembered.
Dylan Trigg, from The Memory of Place


there was no day before it was a dream                                       mother and daughter

unable to live at this age together                                                  even for a summer

evergreen eye movies                                                 boxes packed up nowhere to go

sun settling over peaks                                not long enough for shock at vast changes

sideways rain running                                                                  just move the heart

4pm dark finch songs                                                               varying temperaments

fly back only                                                            for the place's radical indifference

a box with message inside                                              the nightmare lacks presence

old lover   the married one                                           this body a different back story

flutter on life's surface                                             rift with ambient breath of its own

the sun the man the smoke the run                                 bundle of different sensations

perpetuated flux and movement                             the sun the man the smoke the run




i am another yourself

the cliffs cut between two countries
displace agitation between two hemispheres
such mountainous territories of mind

there is luxury to write this
(the baking, the sleeping, the shooting)
by the time you've read this, quadrillions of signals fire

there's no soul, no twenty one grams
what's left? brain, two percent of the body's weight,
seizes a chunk of the body's oxygen and bolts

at a museum, the Ferrari's plaque
reads aluminum and titanium
not watercolor, acrylic, or oil

the nervous system trajects information
like heart circulates your blood
nerves, bone, and steel—objects we have in common

below the bridge (which could always be blown up)—
in the last few seconds what you and I remember
relies on synapses,  mental acts, artifacts

fresh tortillas, front yard, the writing on the wall.




Phosphorous (P)


                      some minerals
         give small flashes
                      of light when stroked
with a metal point


                      the glow of the ocean
         also catches fire
                                spontaneously in air


calcium phosphate is a glow
           of living structure and bone.




Titanium (Ti)



when grandfather dies, you make him a box
not as voyeur—there is no glass—
but glue on rusted electrical switch

outside you count the number of buttons same
as the number of his children, their children, his wife
you believe the number was 33 so choose the same number of rocks

before delivering the sculpture to Mason cemetary
a blue parakeet will sit beside it—a jewelry blue
you'd little imagine in reddirt windmill town

the bird will land tickling shoulder to arm
before flight towards your grandfather's shop

you will follow it with your eyes
into purple thistle tree
alighting next to metal ladders

the short man who looks like the circus
drives up dust in the city caged truck

he helps you lean ladder to roof—
where there is nothing but asphalt and field



you wanted to touch all this                                         white paint
                                         wondering how it could be
                         held                                                in such a small blue can

you reached to touch the closet                                         but
                      the tall man in the boat hat                            exhaled        
                                      you mustn't the white is titanium  

                      he drew                                  the chalk
circle around you                                                         painting
                               countertops tables and chairs

he                                                                       painted the closet white
                        then finally erased you free



dead at the foot of the door
rests your blue apparition—
bury it in newspaper sound



                                         emeraude     what eden between congregation? 

                            paille     why titanium in lieu of hay?

                 spiral becomes bird tourist


                 what white eye splash of blue?

     mais     why does the word but commit violence?

                            an hourglass is not made of corks

                                      napolean   why encryption in wooden box?

                                                          mode     what melody will it sing?

                                                                       pensée     when thought-flock constellations

                                                                                              ciel     what is a box with sky?




Ununtrium (Uut)

In the morning the sound of streets goes with the cars. Tip of the dream phenomenon. There is a CD of scientists I am supposed to have listened to but haven't. It's called Artichoke. Rubbing my eyes, a genie appears. She takes a monkey's paw, rubs it against the side of my face and says "Different, I'm both scientist and artist. This isn't simply magic." I think, I like where this is headed. She tips her head to the side in just such a way as to make her seem otherworldly, I mean alien. I say "how many?" She answers "as many lifetime allow." She adjusts her cape and grips the bullwhip kelp strand tighter. I notice she holds it left handed. "Breathe," she says, "you're not breathing." I cough and then grit my teeth. I have seen no bottles in our yard; I saw none yesterday on the beach. In the tide pools only mediaster aequalis, fransiscanus. I'd read a story before. As for wishes, I wouldn't wish anyone dead back alive. One could never be sure with genies in what condition wished for things would arrive.