Ryan SwoffordPortland Blues

The ones living, tipping brown
paper hats, ripped white T
shirts and Saturday afternoon
hippie markets of beer
of railroad tracks of
crazy raving mad
boys, girls in mini-shorts, black
lip-stick with sharpie marks
on stop-signs and subway cars
riding with wet hot arms
to wherever
is hip

Ah, spilling smoke-guts
of wordiness, of nirvana
speaking in screaming
monster tongues

Portland, OR, is full of saints
anti-Christ angelheads of
real red aura, halobrained
smokers cough felling today
with beerbreath

Pretty girls in girl dresses
and spitting
on the bubbling sidewalk
just pretty rainbows

Steam and sunset sunsetting
smoke cinnamon ice cream truck
rolling on by with a tune almost to say
this is the end but
this is also
the beginning of your mad desolate blues—journey
into the desert of people
stop signs
subway cars
fedora-capped cats
too much
to get
too loose


* * * * *

“Portland Blues” (c) 2014 by Ryan Swofford from his chapbook Sunshine Liar, published by Crisis Chronicles Press.

Ryan Swofford lives in the Pacific Northwest and edits The Weekenders Magazine. He has a young adult novel, The Ducks, forthcoming in 2014.