I’ve mentioned before that my dear husband is in the running for Seattle’s Poet Populist, which is the coolest contest for poets in Seattle. He’s in the lead, but the election is ending soon and the competition is fierce. We have haters like my ex-boss who stocked up on haterade and is by all accounts, a lying liar who lies.
But if you’re not a hater or a lying liar who lies, you are invited to hear Mike and some of the other candidates read tonight at 7 PM at the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center (4408 Delridge Way SW) in West Seattle. Doors open at 6:30 and I’ll be there, too!
But if you can’t make it, you can read this poem and check in as I post more of his wonderful writing this week. A taste below:
Part Of The Jar Is Still Empty
I drink late in the afternoon
at a downtown tavern in Tucson.
Every thirsty patron who opens the door
unleashes a flashflood of desert sunlight
which blinds the crowd like a deity.
The bartender makes change
for an old-timer perched next to me
who drinks whiskey, sings off-key
and delicately turns over each quarter
(only quarters, not nickels or dimes).
He studies both sides of the coin
meticulously as an archeologist picking through fossils.
“I’m seventy-eight years old, son.
Outlived the wife, Mavis, by twelve years.
She got to saving things:
buttons, pine cones, and the like.
Took to collecting Bicentennial quarters
in a pickle jar on the nightstand.
I wish she would’ve told me those were fancy quarters.
One day I used them clean up for beer money.
She cried that night, died the next day.
I think I broke her heart to death.
So I keep searching for fancy quarters
to fill up that jar. Part of the jar is still empty –
that’s where I live.”
I give the old-timer all my quarters
and as he checks each side, I escape
to face the liquid desert sun.