The Only One Worth Loving Ushers in a Saturated Saturday on Sauvie Island

“Indeed, it is from such studies—from the experience of others—that most men learn to distinguish right and wrong, advantage from disadvantage. Few can tell them apart instinctively.” — Tacitus, The Annals of Imperial Rome

The sunlight scratch-scratch-scratches on the skin-
Colored sky. A nutria skull says, “Keep it down
Up there!” I kick it over; the dead are easy to upset

And hard to please. 21% of the atmosphere is magic
When Corri’s here. The grasses forbid any mention
Of Ashleigh on a sleigh to Raleigh Hills; “What

Winter’s witless whiteness witnesses,” they’d say,
With a farm-warm disdain. Bite-bright on my
Way to Collins Beach, where both clothing and

Humble grandiosity are optional, I stub my toe
On a root. It looks gruntled, but I do believe it was
Only trying to save itself, so I can’t be mad. I like me

Some meaning, but not the win-by-whining kind…
Corri and the smell of peaches sneak up from
Behind. The mist on the Columbia River rises like

Blood-money, and, like blood-money, it’s barely
Real. As Io warns the shore about flirting with God,
The Epstein-Barr Virus rides on the wind over Sturgeon

Lake, more joyous than a sunset by James Joyce.
Duck hunters thunder the clear blue sky. Joyfully
Full of folly, a devilishly bitter wind reminds a room

Full of regular men that death is life’s caboose.
And Corri says, “You lucky duck,” to the sound of
A kaboom and a cat that narrowly escapes getting

Hit by a bicyclist. It’s hard to know what’s right
And wrong, but easy to believe I know when
History opens its veins, as if it wants the approval

Of idiots, as if it wants everything I’ve read to
Become a redd for ideas to spawn in…A-listers
U-picking seek refuge in the sweet corn and

Solutions in the green beans, unaware the peaceful
Mind is somewhere else. Say for the sake of
Argument, distress is Gilbert River’s mistress.

Then it’s natural for the deepest ache in the world
To come from beauty with a touch of cruelty,
To come from Corri’s voice when it’s a thousand

Smiles away. What’s news to me is these images
Of absence in the woods. Is that a Bullock’s oriole
In the silver oak’s tutorial? It’s true that denial

In the weak-minded is always duodenal. It’s true
That Sunday’s ring-a-ding-dinging in the sand
As all the clouds part and say, “Look, ma. No hands!”

Karl Popper provokes the ire of the littlest
Memories near the Multnomah Channel. Lest we
Forget, Corri closes the evening’s French doors

Wearing a pauper’s tennis bracelet, which
Never goes out of style. The irrepressible
And cottage-cute nature of time—alive as you

Or me—is waiting in the wings on a snowmobile.
A couple of Juilliard-trained deer jump by.
Is love a feeling? Love is the feeling which carries

A tune to the moon, and—on a serious note—
The moon is always a longtime listener, first-time
Caller. To the hard-pressed world on the other side

Of the bridge, where Crapitalism promises miracles
In code (“Foolsy, comesy sailsy awaysy tosy
Wisdomsy!”), nature’s runners-up are charitably

Graphic and religious-y. Misguided momentum
Is the opposite of self-restraint (virtue’s artery)…
With unconcern, Corri’s love becomes a unicorn.

The Social Fabric Groans on Boones Ferry Road

in honor of the Magnetic Fields and their album, 69 Love Songs

“If the human mind had no science of reality that transcends the sensible order, or the positive fact, it could have no science at all.” — Orestes Augustus Brownson, The American Republic: Constitution, Tendencies, and Destiny

“…[W]e do not pretend to introduce any infallible characters into this history; where we hope nothing will be found which hath never yet been seen in human nature.” — Henry Fielding, Tom Jones: A Foundling

Every groan is gray, but in the air above West Bay
Two meet, like Marguerite and Armand. The worst
Paintball players play to win and not get hit; two

Are jogging by. With my two trusty ears, I hear
Some fear down Twin Fir Road, mumbling to
Itself about the need to find some ears ‘too trusting.’

Don’t ask for Thespis when you’re lost on Quarry
Road. He loves meaning more than truth, and
Lies as readily as any merchant. And the mercy

There is Drydenesque. Although Stephin Merritt
Might scrawl about how ‘that’s music living
Its best life,’ it wouldn’t be too long after watching

The moonlight crawl down Reese Road before he’d
Recall that being friendly doesn’t mean you’re friends.
Denial is the muscle every man develops most…

At West Waluga Park, I see my high school principal
Lying in the grass. She spoke to me once about
Her favorite poetess: ‘Her commas are a mile long;

My semi-colons barely span a day…’ Among
The people seeking relaxation there, she looks
The least relaxed. Such bootless decadence is legion,

But limited to the bottom of Lake Oswego today;
It’s nothing some caresses can’t erase! John
Woo’s guitar fills all the gutters on Heritage Lane

With dancing alligators. It’s said to be a causa
Causarum: a lesser version of the language that
Can people a desolate wood, improve Iron

Mountain City Park with a dryad, and prove
Me wrong. (But half the time, that language isn’t
Even equal to itself. Just ask it, ‘What are people?’)

That is the best language which talks the least;
Go visit Beth Ryan Nature Reserve to see
The truth of that proverb! At the Lake Oswego

Hunt Club, two hunters underestimate the sky,
As eagles do the sea. This was supposed to be so
Terrible, but Shirley Simms’ singing makes it

Less so. Tryon Creek reflects the wooden clouds.
Some days, existence takes itself for granted…
Walking down SW Comus Court, I notice

The most unusual absence once Claudia Gonson
Bangs her drum. Out of all the instruments
On “Abolish Kisses!,” a kalimba’s not the one

That wants to control the rest; as a rule, that
Title goes to Sam Davol’s cello, for it can
Least control itself. The court of public opinion

Makes for SW Arnold Street, in a Hawaiian shirt,
To remind the spanks and hums they’re under
Oath. Like rights and duties, all the darkness and

Light is intertwined, until the finger cymbals shine
From “Don’t Subtract My Kisses,” under a well-
Rounded oak in my front yard. If perfect justice

Needs a soundtrack, play Milan’s rendition
Of “A Goodly Murther.” Thinking of my brother’s
Mom, as I notice gas is $2.60 for a gallon of regular

At the Astro-Chevron, I can see how leukemia
Might behave like a lieutenant, how the emphatic
Sunset on Walla Walla Valley might turn our ray

Of hope into a rope of ash. It seems to check out:
The claim that “geez, man” and “cheese-fan” rhyme
Better behind the Rite Aid during a truly hard-

Day’s night than they do on any road beset with
Too many tabernacles. There is no softer sophistry
Than death. From Collins View to Birdshill, I

Contemplate a little song, in which is contained
A little incident, and wonder if this is seeing
Life in the best view? This ninety-second number

Never lives to see three minutes, unless I hit
Repeat; and then, somehow, three-thousand years
Stretch out before me. I can see how all the photogs

And foodies in Portland would appreciate what
LD Beghtol’s harmonium creates with Dudley
Klute’s voice and Ida Pearle’s ideas. (I’d give

This day a painless death, but for the boredom
Readers get from it.) The daylight leans and loafs
At its ease by the Extended Stay America. It’s

Being childish as hell, which obviously requires
An unfortunate amount of effort. I’m waiting
For the foxglove’s biennial bienvenidos. I water

My brain-briars with the brine of “Yeah! Oh,
Yeah!” There’s something 9 o’clock about
That song. Another period of rapid change is

When you touch a woman’s body. Some
Instruments work better alone; this doesn’t
Mean it’s better to work alone. Back when I

Worked at the Arby’s that burnt down on
SW Terwilliger Boulevard, my sciolistic
Playlist fueled an everlasting fever. Lyrical

Lycanthropy impresses me with guilt to the hilt,
And never stops to think it could be wrong,
Or if—and when—the conversation should be

Ended. “What’s gone, and past help, should be
Past grief,” I suppose. Paulina at the Polar
Mother in a chamber pop duet might cover

“Underwear” to keep you warm on nights
The wind blows hard down S Palatine Hill
Road. The ghost of Alphonso Boone, even

The ghost of Alphonso Boone might look
Upon the audience at a concert as ‘the party
Of liberty clamoring for a dictator.’ Or his

Grandfather might look at me on the road
Heading south and listening to “I Shatter” as,
‘A shill obtaining squatter’s rights on Ash

Hill.’ Some ghosts choose to never grow up.
O might those sighs and tears stop turning
My otoliths into rolling stones. Passionate

Intensity is only a force for good in R&B
Songs and on the sun. God only knows more
Useless newness than a self-tickling,

Autopsical popsicle released by Merge
Records. Fam, these songs cram cream into
The purpose of the purpose-driven streets

Around Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge. Now
I know more than Stephen Hawking about
My little league career—I struck out less at bat

Than when I guessed at men’s motives later
On—but as I walk up SW Riverside Drive
And listen to Daniel Handler’s accordion,

I know what he would say about my lover:
‘They, society, envy her her lover.’ A genius
Can afford to be generous generously, but

Not the truth. To it I say, ‘Your ideology is
Like a lovely song, but I’m afraid it makes
The singer less than lovely.’ Francis Ford

Coppola attempted to re-organize the disorga-
Nized grapevines growing in history’s coprolalia;
Zupan’s Markets on S Macadam Avenue sells

It by the bottle. Heaven’s ventilator lets the music
Enter nature. Between the law school and cemetery,
I keep repeating the shortest sentence in

The saddest book. One ear sips on theremin,
The other sups on whistling. St. Ignatius wouldn’t
Commit me for committing irony. You know

It’s hard to see from igloos made of eyeglasses. I’m
Not always a good person, but I’m moved to tears
Hearing, “Never My Love,” by The Association, sung

In Punjabi, as I walk by the Tryon Life Community
Farm. Nothing’s more embarrassing. ‘Keep your shit
Together,’ I mumble to myself; ‘keep it together.’

When Egon Schiele Stops the Moon and Danube River, Patience Can’t Sit Still

“Not one of the good things which the LORD had promised to the House of Israel was lacking. Everything was fulfilled.” — Joshua 21:45

There are more syllables in Vienna’s history
Than stars in the sky. The monument of Johann
Strauss II is a frozen “Oyez, oyez, oyez,” on

This, the warmest spring morning time has
Ever known. The sunrise carries gorgeous
Metaphysics in a nerve-racking knapsack; like

Time, it’s only whole if broken first. The red,
Red sky looks preposterous. Last night, at
The Leopold, a painting formerly owned by

A prosperous memory got you to say, “It’s
A foreskin of fire!” In the midst of that
Civilized forest, I heard someone else say,

“A painting ought to prove reality’s a myth,”
In German. I stubbed my brain on this remark;
Midstream, no less. Between the Hofburg

And next week’s Spanish wine (with cigars
From Nicaragua!), we’ll listen to Dave Grohl
And Mimi Wagensonner, knowing full well

That Jubal’s “Don’t Explain Away My Kisses”
Makes worthless all their work seem worse than.
Harmony, heavenly harmony, is growing in

The world’s oldest zoo, and around Schönbrunn
Palace. Its gloriette could trick you into thinking
Faith is the opposite of pride. Shadows come

For the cemeteries, stay for the beer. Coffee
At St. Marx has me composing: When April
Apes the fall and drapes the maple trees in brown,

Brown capes…From the Wiener Riesenrad in
The Wurstelprater amusement park, I take
The long view, and it appears dressed up in

Goatskin. It walks around the grounds upright,
And moos or roars at everyone who passes
By. I blame those paintings by Egon Schiele

At the Belvedere; they abandoned me, so I
Went after delusion and was deluded. You
Blame your beer for its being warm, a novel

Sight. Hatred isn’t the only source of evil.
It feasted on shame and grief to its melancholy’s
Content last night in the hostel. This morning

My alarm clock’s alarm said, “Be wise in
Your own eyes, go see what happens!” Now I’m
Half-awake and hungry on the U-Bahn, on

My way to understanding. A girl in a Burberry
Scarf with blueberry eyes looks lost in suburbia
As she walks through the heart of downtown.

“She must study economics or business,” you
Say. I hear the day shift gears. When did it
Switch to automatic transmission? DC Tower

1 is honest to a fault. The strong and weak
Nuclear forces dwindle to bupkis in its presence.
A person is more place than thing on vacation,

Where not every fair from fair declines.
A chariot to a place where the cherries never
Rot is what we talk about when we talk about

Vacation. I take pride in that opinion, so
Much so, no amount of evidence I’m wrong
Can change my mind. Even patience hates

To wait for someone wrong to change their
Mind, so don’t bother. As a UNESCO World
Heritage Site, Vienna practices nonviolent

Resistance against the ever present onslaught
Of .22 caliber seconds. When Marcus Aurelius lay
Dying under a Viennese sky (which at that time

Belonged to Vindobona), he looked to the gods
And pleaded, “Before you see me out, first hear me
Out. I am less thoughtful than I think I am…”

(At hearing this, a few gods left; it didn’t seem
Like the sound of someone to keep your eyes on.)
“But I have learned: though peace and justice

Have a price, the air and light are surely more
Expensive.” Songbirds and other holy trinkets
Can’t abolish exaggerating, won’t abolish

Exaggerating; their message—“Be alive, be very
Alive”—hasn’t left the city since Basically
Normal discovered it had legs to walk away,

And did. When the Great Plague of Vienna
Occurred, a sister of the famous street
Musician, Augustin, wrote in her diary of

The disease, “That mugger values family
More than jewels, yet he could not steal my
Brother.” And that’s sort of how I feel when

You look at the menu at the Heuriger and
Declare the best kind of wine to have on vacation
Is the only one they don’t serve here. O,

When good is hungry for any easy victory,
Evil follows, so I nod my head and order something
To soothe a guilty conscience. We hear,

“I’ll trade you half a kiss for all my days,” from
The next table, and in German. Not surprisingly,
The girl says yes, but to our surprise, she’s the one

In the Burberry scarf, and earlier, her blueberry
Eyes must’ve told you (to me, not unexpectedly), “Be
In love, be very in love.” (Touristy cities generally

Have an unspoken Take a Heartbreak, Leave
A Heartbreak policy.) I try to save you from some
Unreasonable feelings, but they prove too good

At saving themselves. I try to cheer you up:
“If my grave was in Vienna, it’d say, ‘When he
Met the world, they said, I don’t get it, in

German,’ in German. But you know me,
The Orlando of Portland!” As an Egon Schiele
Portrait is never personal, so does my failure

Never fail to find a friend…You cry and hang
Your insecurity around my neck. We walk along
The Danube toward the witching hour, through

The fading scent of Christian silence. Moonlight
Falls like a dizzy clown. You say, “We’re
Always being cheated, but there’s nothing worse

Than feeling so! If only cheating was less natural
Than breathing, how the world would change.”
Your statement bounces back and forth between

The walls of my heart, until Brahms’s First Symphony
Distracts my patient memory and the words,
The words are gone forever. Evening’s Brahmsian

Counterpoint is love! (Memory, why do you waste
Time with music? You and I both know its
Message – “Look for me in the next world, I’ll

See you there!”—will never change.) Yesterday,
I studied patience on the Schubertring
Section of the Ringstrasse; it differs from

Those selfish politicians back home—the ones
Who only fight the death penalty because
They’re afraid to die—in important ways.

I want to tell you this, but the look on your face
Suggests you’re investigating the blessing
Of strangeness, so I assume you don’t fear

Death right now, but hate it. And I’m in need
Of a shower, when in utero itself is redivivus.
Sometimes people make colossal mistakes…

We decide to call it an early night. Above
A steaming pot, you say, “I hate hypocrisy,
But love his mother, standards.” Whenever

The situation calls for it, I speak in lousy
Poetry. I say to the branch of an almond tree
Tapping on the window behind you, “Go put

On gratitude; that’s armor for a normal tragedy,
And all you feel is everything’s value.” I
Almost get newfangled to go read Viktor Frankl.