Civilization is really a great pleasure.
for W. MacKay
On Tuesday night it’s raining in Seattle, and as I feed my plastic to the kiosk by the curb, stick my spattered ticket to the driver’s side window, start walking south, dodging puddles through the slick and glint, I hear an accordion, music that puts me in a French movie—maybe a Truffaut—haunting as across Pine Street, neon rubies and blues an invitation, like somewhere in Paris or New York, and I climb the steps to Elliott Bay Book Company thinking Edwin might say that buying books is really a great pleasure, like the time you took me to St. Mark’s, gave me a copy of Frank O’Hara’s Selected, pointing out the poem titled “Poem [Light clarity avocado salad in the morning]” and now I picture Edwin in the movie you sent, standing outside his apartment talking to Aaron Copland, which takes me back to Phebe’s diner with you and Pat, before he married me, when we were younger and he was still alive, when morning could yawn until afternoon, heavy plates of eggs with roasted potatoes by the window where Bowery seemed wide enough to hold all our days, and anything would happen.
Copyright © 2017 Joannie Stangeland. Used with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in The Southern Review, Spring 2017.
Joannie Stangeland is the author of In Both Hands (Ravenna Press, 2014). She lives in Seattle, Washington.
Date Published: 2017-08-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/page-one