Abstract Magazine International | You’ll Like Tacoma: A Sequence of Five Poems by Patrick E. Gabbard
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You’ll Like Tacoma: A Sequence of Five Poems by Patrick E. Gabbard

15 May 2017, Posted by admin in Poetry

Art Credit: “Chicago Dreams”  by photographer Chris Rivera





No clarity here


Or if there is, it only emerges from the ocean—




Sun gone to pale blue in the clouds, sitting east.






thunderheads/clouds beneath the clouds—


always the stern rush inland—


there is a binary here, nothing fresh about it and always/

a struggle to get beyond the wet and the dry—


you want to say/to tell/everyone that this is a dead end.


the land is flood-prone/and there is always a river (slow) or a lake (black).


so the reconciliation of landscape with personal history is difficult/

one is heavier than the other/and there is rain saturating all of it.


I can only speak of the I-5 corridor/and not even the whole of that—


the largest of the illusions implied here is synthesis.






I suppose I should mention the freeways/

the long bray and roar of them/

the city has been vivisected/

had a new artery forced into the wound/


and so the child knows signage/

the child knows signage/

the movement of goods/

and the wet mark of location/

Helvetica a glare under the streetlamps/


When the child sees the freeway/

he tries to get a handle on the severance/

tries to process the bifurcation but cannot/


squat factories/warehouses

(fence   access road   loading dock)

they glimmer in the rain/become

the flesh/contour/materiality

of the land.






Can I speak of the city in erotic terms/or does the city become a burden for the mind,

an indictment of itself?


the city is both a physical entity and a knowledge/

it’s got legs and elbows and an equilibrium/

it knows fatigue/


but is unseen/or known only in the hidden air

within the walls of a house/ the problem with my account

is that so many of the houses have been abandoned.


nothing here gets better/the city remembered/

becomes a fetish of its own/a breast in the hand.






It’s a redundancy/an organism/a tremor in the static/


Tacoma/Tahoma and then Rainier

it would have been interesting to see it blow/

to see those glaciers turned to filth/the trees turned to match sticks.


the memory accounts for/accommodates its own redundancy.


The city is remembered one way in the morning/one way in the afternoon/and yet

anther at night.


the city had a rain of its own/and was remembered another

way in the rain.


the city took on a speech of its own/arranged its vowels and consonants in moraine/


the city is remembered one way in hunger and another in thirst/


the motive for the arrangement is unclear/the entropic impulse always wins out.



About the author:

Patrick Gabbard was born in Tacoma, Washington. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from Arizona State University (2011) and is completing a Ph.D. from the University of Kansas (expected 2018). His work has appeared in Neon, Black Fox, OVS, and many other publications. He lives with his wife in Portland, Oregon.

Art Credit: “Chicago Dreams”  by photographer Chris Rivera, @chris.rivera

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