Goodbye, Seattle

It is a process
extricating myself from this city
like boiling tears to find salt
or uprooting a reluctant tree
I suck on each memory patiently
savoring how the textures have changed in my mouth
resisting the urge to bite, to pack my bags and leave tomorrow
My gnarled roots go too deep to tether
so let's pull and pull together
this process is goodbye

In Seattle, in autumn, the boulevards become cathedrals
the stained glass windows are chestnut trees
(they tithe by throwing down glossy artillery)
and the pew (PEW PEW) is my motorcycle
I bomb through the streets hymning nonsense songs I make up for the sheer joy of living
Blessed art thou? Nah, Blessed art I, motherfuckers.
Blessed art I to be here, right now.

In Seattle, in Autumn, I hold court with two toddlers.
Beautiful, they greet me in french
hold their arms in the air like little white flags
surrendering to their need to be held.
Which is, more honestly, my need to be held
by sticky little fingers and soft noses in my neck.
All of the small wonders that stop me mid-step:
the first time she said my name
the way his hands so delicately pluck apple slices off of the tabletop
In Autumn, they learned to speak.
They learned to run from tree to tree in the park
chanting "rough rough rough!" into the bark
In Autumn, they kissed me goodbye
leaving Cheerios on my cheeks for the last time.

In Seattle, in Autumn, we built a gym
a gym, and JIM we called him
hewn by our hands as a fellowship of monkeys
I sanded the edges for you
We matted, painted, carpeted and filled him
with joy and community
success, sweat, and weights
Moar bars in moar places we chanted
as they went up one by one
"we need one here, so people can lache"
"and one over here for pullups and play"
So, hammers and nails and buckets of varnish
reused plywood and rails rusty tarnished
in Autumn, we built a JIM.

And in Autumn, I'll say "Goodbye" to him.
He who runs so deep in me.
There's hardly been a day in the past five years
when I haven't woken him with eggs and tea
(he takes two sugars, not three, and cream)
We don't talk much anymore,
but I know he knows
That I will miss him most of all.
It's him I'll call, when my pride falls.
When I wish I hadn't left.
and the "Hey girl" he uses to say hello
will fill my heart, bereft.
Him, my champion of peaceful silence and headstands in awkward places.
In Autumn, I'll pack my heart up too, and leave him in Her ample graces.

New places? New places.
I'll tie up my laces and go belong somewhere else
I'm sure the sun shines on the East Coast too
and oak trees throw down artillery shells
And there's good work to be worked, and tears to be jerked
and the hobos play jazz with soul
And there's a new Him with arms like oceans
vast, capable, and true
with eyes like storms, and hands deeply worn
and a voice that says "I love you"
And means it. And all that makes it worth it.
Worth tying up loose ends on traveling sacks
and Goodwilling most of my clothes
worth stopping this life right dead in it's tracks
and trying this new, larger path I've chose.

I will be back, often, and loudly.
Love you all,


Matthew Lee Willis said...

What in the holy whaaaa? We don't talk enough. Can we talk sometime?

willow bl00 said...


Jereme said...

Great stuff, Wish you the best in your travels and I'm sure we'll see each other sometime and have good training together :)