Poems About How Spokane Doesn't Suck


Every city has its charms and attractions. A reputation, if you will, of things it can offer those who move to it. When I told someone back in Tacoma that I was moving to Spokane, I got, "Well that's an adventure, even if it is f*cking Spokane. I'm sure you can finds things that you like about it."

I did find things I like about Spokane. I lot of things, in fact, and I even saw a sticker in a tattoo parlor's window that read, "Spokane Doesn't Suck"! What a town, I tell ya, and powerfully rockosophical. In the spirit of that sticker, I give you some things that I have put down in writ form for Spokane. I'm no Sherman Alexie, but here are two poems I wrote since coming to Spokane, about Spokane.

I asked my shoes to take me on a tour of this city

My sneakers knew, though I did not, the way to Latah Creek

Where do my soles learn it all? From other souls, I guess

Down Adams to 6th, across Maple and on, past the lots of zombie houses

Weathered by neglect and a ceaseless march through strange new decades

At falcon mural I stopped and looked across the valley at Latah Creek

With necessary vagueness had I learned about this park

There was a bridge between me and the sky with arches blooming a western sunset

I couldn’t tell you now, I as I knew it then, the way to Latah Creek

Three bridges straddle the water, now, with trout puncturing its surface

Concrete stands above it all, above the trees and grass and dewy deer trails

Legs grey as headstones watch the flow of time and water both

My sneakers take me there, now and again, on a splendid afternoon

To listen to the trickling current and hear tales of Latah Creek

In winter months I saw a man pulled face-first from the snow

He’d froze atop an icy berm, arms rigid and straight like fishing poles

A scene I will remember, standing in a pillar of streetlight glow

His skin was blacker still in death, his eyes a creamy haze of pink

I stood and watched them draw him up and I watched them drive away

The pavement where they’d walked had shapes and lines drawn in the slush

The sidewalk read We remember you in a swirling cursive display

The words, as melt, rejoined the river at the end of a pulsing drain

Has anyone asked the river to save them? Has the river ever tried?

Where the words met the water I saw steam billow up in a pale column

Do you remember them all? I asked the river, to which the river replied

I do not

That's all, folks!

Happy Hounding,

Rock Rat

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