California Poppies [Nice Sandwich]
flicker in the Oregon wind
at the base of a guardrail dividing the highway
that runs in a trough that cuts the city in two.
I watch them from through the chain link fence
of the Jefferson Street bridge
in the exact spot where a house once stood
where Lew Welch rented a room when he was a student,
a few blocks from my own rented studio.
These days I've been spending a lot of time standing on bridges,
staring down at the dark water, at the rushing traffic,
dreaming of gravity and exhaust
and razors and dissolving pills.
Next month it'll be forty four years
since Welch stepped out of Gary Snyder's house
in the Sierra Nevadas and into the wilderness
with a sandwich and a Smith & Wesson
.22 caliber rifle. I'm not sure about the sandwich
but I like to think he packed himself
some kind of nice last supper,
a pleasant picnic looking out over the landscape.
Or maybe I'm just hungry. Food is one of the few things
I still take pleasure in. I will no doubt leave behind
a corpulent corpse. Lew's body was never found,
He left nothing behind but his poetry and rocks
and scrub and an occasional clump
of California poppies.