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326 Miles North

April 11, 2009

Poetry Conversations, Part 4 of 4

He washes dishes downtown
and I can see him drown
the forks and spoons
spraying dinner plates
spinning steam like cocoons.

His 17 year old frame
tight knit sinew speaks to muscle
bears the weight of the world’s hustle
built for highs school hallways
literal lightning of broad shoulders
force summer sun comparisons always
shirtless shinings as he subtlety flexes his
brotherly bravado
testing, chest to chest.

I love him.
I love him.
I love him.

Esau demanding that Jacob
put to rest the grudges of youth
snapping the fraternal yards stick
hands soft but quick
refusing to notch my claim against the wall
of family history.

9 years.
9 years between birth and new birth.
He watched as I two stepped first
waiting like shovel
poised over new earth
mitigated mirth
so he too
could shirk the lazy burden of youth
tucked deep into rural reckonings of
blueberry farms, convenience stores
and suburban family dysfunction.

I took flight
for academic ease at seventeen leaving
the day to day of sibling laughter
my eyes already tired from
the weight and heat of home
but he waited
like a crepe paper balloon
hollowed out as elastic dreams
popped and shriveled
spun and swiveled
boyishly battled with unraveled seams.

He waited.
Waited.
Waited.

Anticipated
until adolescent hurt
simmered to righteous anger
at the people, places and things
that had made fraudulent claims
about how sons should be raised.

And now
I wait as he waits
watching as taciturn toes
tap and turn towards the tide
the inevitable gravitational pull
towards the feather strong feel of
light and orbiting inertia
standing on the edge of precipices
so ordinary and so dangerous they
shimmer like electrified copper pennies.

I wait as he waits
for some dark night
when adult agility will knock at his window
calling to war
swift strings of real romance and
hands that are ready to heal.

But now
he leans against a full sink
waits without knowing he’s waiting
co-creating, washing dishes downtown
I can see him drown
the forks and spoons
spraying fate in the face
and spinning steam like cocoons.

by Ryan Hoke
Music by Ryan and Andy Anderson, Wild Goose Creative

Download the MP3

Process notes

Andy was especially involved on “326 Miles North” in creating the entire guitar line underneath. (For additional process notes, see Part 1.)