Poetry

I Want to Stop and Live at Gig Harbor

[media-credit name=”Max Reif” align=”alignnone” width=”540″]01-boats[/media-credit]
Going from one place to another,
I decided this morning that
I’d had enough of going
and turned off
at Gig Harbor.
Didn’t know anyone,
or what was there.
Never heard of it before,
but the road led down a hill
to what I guess is a pocket
of Puget Sound,

and a sleepy waterfront street
with an overhanging, blinking red light
and no traffic except a lady
walking her dog.
A shop awning says
“GALLERY ROW,”
and there are only
two galleries. The café
has no wifi.
Ah, and I walked
with a background of noble taciturn pines
on a cloudy, drizzly morning
until I came to blackberries,
a whole block of them
along the sidewalk!
Reaching out my hand,
(fattest ones out of reach, as always)
it was as if that same hand

on another cloudy day
forty years ago
in western Massachusetts.
I remember how my body
felt exceptionally lithe then,
anchored in itself after
three weeks of Vipassana,

there in the small town of Barre,
where I’d snuck out of the retreat
for breakfast in town one morning
only to find the four retreat teachers
all sitting at a table at the same diner,
going about their business
as if they didn’t know I was there.
There was room in that world
to take slow steps,
look around after each one and decide
where you wanted
the next one to take you.
At some point, though,
I got shunted to a 40-year tunnel
where things went very fast.
Don’t get me wrong:
lots of good, even great things.
But as I breathed this morning
walking here in Gig Harbor,
and tasted those blackberries
I wanted, I wanted to live in a city
with a Gallery Row of two galleries,
and no one at the intersection
except a lady walking her dog.