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Christopher Luna by Alisha Jucevic for the Columbian

Christopher Luna by Alisha Jucevic for the Columbian
Christopher Luna by Alisha Jucevic for the Columbian

Thursday, December 31, 2009

GHOST TOWN, USA October/ November/ December 2009


October 2009

The Catholics arrive home. Seeing me on the driveway pulling weeds, my neighbors leap from their minivan to begin working on their yard. Moments later, the Man of the House is taking an axe to the brush that has taken over the grass that lines his front curb. Although he has not acknowledged me in the three and a half months that I have lived across the street, he speaks his first words to me now: “Never ends, does it?” No, it doesn’t. The child molestation, the conspicuous wealth, the discouraging AIDS-ravaged Africans from using condoms, the Medieval moral strictures never seem to end, I think to myself. Aloud, I politely agree. As he swings away at the brush, I wonder, are the Catholics being competitive? Trying to keep up with the Lunas?

The People on the Bus

October 5, 2009

“Military’s not a good thing right now. Wish I’d stayed in. I’d be retiring in two or three years. They tried to get me after 9/11 hit. Offered me $26,000.”



Angelo and Jake play Roblox

“What does ‘God’ mean? Finally, I’m gonna use Super Fly.”


Biking through
the intersection of
MacArthur & Little Rock
I see a dead cat in the grass
cradling a bottle of beer
between its frozen paws.

The People on the Bus

# 32 Westbound

A blind guy who managed to ride for several weeks
without renewing his monthly bus pass
jokes with the driver:

“I should get a prize, like the president. Con of the Month.”



An unsettling moment
as the world outside rumbles
toward apocalypse—
no one in the Writing & Tutoring Center
appears to realize
that the ground beneath us
is about to split, shift,
and swallow us all.

I cannot merely “be still”
in the face of such catastrophe.

“Separate now”
The Indian chuckles
at his assignment for 097:
“I gotta write a paper about Little Red Riding Hood.”


Don’t make the bacon with hate
DADA ‘09
begins like a school dance
(only with more fishnets)
everyone quiet
shy, tentative
too warm?
too bright?

circling, eyeing
one another
not (exactly)

I like art that looks like it could hurt somebody

kids, dogs,
bikes and paint cans
under tarps
light breeze
and a view of
industrial Vancouver

makes a u-turn at the corner of Lincoln & 16th

Blessed by Rabbis
toss out
Bibles filled with
whiskey and Twinkies
lead singalongs like
“God’ll Fuck You Up”

Elk River Tree Fort Army
Sing about “Food and Pussy”
And ask the audience

“Does anybody believe in the rapture . . . me neither.”

You can don the horns
that still don’t guarantee
you’ll get laid
or sell anything
may not even
be able
to give it away

The People on the Bus

# 4 Eastbound

“Things got even uglier back at the house.
Johnny kinda blew up. . . .When ain’t Spider a dick?”


Angelo, on the way
to Tae Kwon Do:

“I see Ganesh in the sky.
He looks angry.”


As Barbara-Lynn noted
during her brief stint in Corvallis,
PNWers don’t know how to
drive in the rain.

I think of my faraway friend as
I curse at the douchebags
who speed their SUVs
through Vancouver puddles
near Marshall Elementary:

“Another asshole . . . Where do they find these jackoffs?”

The People on the Bus


Retarded girl discusses her
Halloween costume with her mother:

“I’m a Jonas fan. OO! You know where I can find some blood? Pure blood. Pure blood. Pure blood. Awesome. And Scars. Gramma’s gonna laugh at me for what? C’mon, Mom, it’s gonna be awesome. He’s gonna be so proud of his granddaughter. My Dad’s not lazy. We’ll go to his house and pick him up. Awesome. I got hit by a car. Nasty. Blood all over my face. Cuts. Cool. Cool. I can’t be an angel. It won’t be that long. 10:30. What are you ‘posed to be? Huh? A what? A mummy?”

The People on the Bus

November 2, 2009
# 4 Eastbound

Sneakers, slacks,
t-shirt, and jacket
ALL black
red Sting Ray ball cap:

“I’m not gonna play that role. Can’t do this shit forever. Boy’s paralyzed, but he’s still fuckin’ with ya.”

“Goin’ to treatment . . . again.”

“As the kids say, ‘Been there, done that.’
Judge says, ‘Five years in prison,
or twenty-five days,’
which one you gonna do?”

# 4 Eastbound

“That bitch is ugly, nigga.
She work at Victoria Secret.”


November 10, 2009

Clark College cafeteria

“My girlfriend’s 17. It’s legal in Washington. Woodland fuckin’ sucks, first of all. Couple of hot chicks, that’s all. I have like six hot neighbors. Hot and stupid. Because abunch of them moved from Texas. I don’t do drugs, don’t worry about it. Danny has a hot girlfriend, or had a hot girlfriend. . . . Yeah, I saw the picture. I saw a Maserati in Portland the other day. There was a silver one and a red one. Never seen one? I seen two. In Sacramento. Gotta go. See ya. Yep.”

The People on the Bus

November 12, 2009
# 4 Eastbound

red hoodie
leg shaking
inside filthy jeans

“I’ll probably be out there in 15 or 20 minutes, bro.
I just got outta there . . . I got two suspendeds.”

hangs up cell phone
makes another call:

“Hey Dad, how’s it going? I just got out of jail. Child support. ‘Cause I can’t afford child support. Hopefully they’ll fuckin—but I asked for treatment. They were gonna give me probation but I already went through all the hoops and tricks, and it didn’t do me any good. I want treatment. I have a problem. Had me on a bad path. I need help. Had the kids taken away from me and all that shit. . . . My best friend took that away from me. He told my boss I was a drug addict douchebag piece of shit.”


Waiting for the #32 after school
Angelo and I chat with Preston
who moved here from the Bronx in ‘95

turns out he lived in the same neighborhood
where I worked from 2000-2001
not far from The Old Yankee Stadium

we discuss
the weather and
the odd habit
local “white people”
have of wearing coats
in the summer
and shorts and flip flops
in the cold


November 19, 2009

many thanks to the anonymous young lady
who drove by and screamed

“you’re awesome”

as I dragged my tired, maligned
pitiful ass down Mill Plain

you have no idea
what your words meant
no way of knowing
how badly I needed
to hear that

The People on the Bus

November 23, 2009
#32 Eastbound
“’Cause, like, spiritually, man,
I’m almost like a rasta, knowhamsayin?
You might not know it, but I used to
wear dreadlocks, knamean?”


November 24, 2009

the writer wonders
whether to regard
the wolf’s head
atop the walking stick
of the man in the leather cap
who just passed by
as an omen?

The People on the Bus

November 24, 2009
# 32 Westbound

the Hawaiian C-Tran driver
hitching a ride home
sits at the back of the bus
eyes closed
shaking his head
to and fro
to the song on his iPod
eyes closed, bald
like a contented Buddha


November 26, 2009

On the Land Bridge, a guy stops to ask if we would allow him to give our dog a treat. When Toni agrees, the guy puts a milk bone in his mouth and sits down on the bench. It is then that she notices that the front of his pants are open. Figures we are the couple lucky enough to meet Vancouver’s only exhibitionist dog fucker.

The People on the Bus

December 2, 2009

on an overcrowded bus
filled with people
going to and from lunch
or to and from treatment
          a burly guy removes his
          blue baseball cap
          and sticks the left arm
          of his sunglasses
          into his left ear

to remove the filth
that has collected there

# 4 Eastbound

five men
some recovering
some newly released
cluck and lament
a recent spate
of killings
in the ‘Couve: 7 dead
in just a few weeks
road rage gone bad
on St. John’s


December 3, 2009

Found poem
dry erase board
Hawkins Hall 101:

Congrats, TAVIFA!

The People on the Bus

December 4
# 4 Eastbound

Mom of the Year
in a Santa hat:

“So stressful. One more hour-and-a-half on this bus and I’m gonna shoot ‘er. It’s a rebellion every time we get on the bus. You’re gonna make me late for work. She said, ‘No kickin’ on the bus.’ sit back. I am so sick of this conversation. I won’t tell you again. I will give you a swat on your butt. I am done. Back!”

# 4 Eastbound

“I got banned—I can’t go over there no more. How’d you get this outta the river? Livin’ large on a low budget. High standard for the hobos in the nation. On of my brothers was a crewman on a chopper back in the ‘Nam. I need to go down to the big city to see what’s happenin’ in Portland. . . . Lord’s Gym. They got some good gear in there. Guys in recovery, it’s $10 a month.”

Hippie high schooler in sandals
standing outside in 23-degree weather
waiting on the # 30:

“By the way, the hitting of the head
was the only thing
reported this weekend,
not the knee.”

# 32 Eastbound

“I take a whole bunch, and
what ends up happening
is I end up going
to the emergency room.”

#4 Eastbound

“Your Mom’s got a big ol’ booty. I’d totally tap that ass. You know, me and your Mom. . . . God bless alcohol. Still drunk from last night, crazy. . . . I’d totally stretch your whole out.”

“You’re so fuckin’ hairy. That’s so fuckin’ gross. I’m so glad I’m a lesbian. I share everything.”

“How do you guys do it? Do you have to scissor or something?”

“That’s so fucked up. You have to scissor or else only one of you can get off at a time, unless you 69 or something. Are you guys goin’ to the apartment?”

“Yeah, we’re goin’ to see your Mom.”

“I’m goin’ to see your Mom. I’ll bust all over that.”


December 14, 2009

Angelo informs us that

“35% of the world is robbers, and thiefs, and rapists.
There is never gonna be a great world of happy.”

According to Angelo:

“I wanna be like my Dad’s parents,
and have continuous non-stop puppies.”


Driving around the ‘Couve
looking at Christmas lights
Toni comments:

“You’ve gotta be some kinda
pimply-ass douchebag
to put an inflatable anything
up in your front yard.”


After Mr. Yu
presents Angelo
with his first belt
for tae kwon do (white with blue stripe)
he tells me that
he has enjoyed working with my son
watching him come out of his shell

Mr. Yu tells me that
Angelo has a sharp mind
and that this is far more important
to the martial artist
because while muscles can be developed
a strong intellect is much harder to obtain

On our way to Dahnn’s place
listening to Z100
(hoping it’s a phase the boy’s going through)
I am overcome by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys
weeping silently to myself upon hearing
“Empire State of Mind”
dreaming of home

The People on the Bus

# 32 Eastbound

“Shit!” a passenger exclaims into her cell phone.

"Ma’am, Ma’am,” the driver admonishes, waving her hand
so that it can be seen in the rearview mirror:

“Don’t use language on the bus.”



It is the first Christmas morning
that we have spent together in years
and Angelo is a happy boy:

“I have the best parents, and the best Toni and Randy. This is going to be the best Christmas ever. It’s a very special morning. That’s fucking awesome, guys.”


Old man at the post office
complains about the Chinese clerk
telling his tale of woe
to anyone foolish enough
to make eye contact:

“If you wanna buy single stamps, go to this guy, ‘cause she won’t break a pack of stamps. I don’t know what her religion is, Buddha or something. The other day I tried to mail something to a Christian family and I had to use three Jewish stamps.”

Toni is wigged out
by the following sign


                                                                                                 on Fourth Plain
                                                                                                 near the VA

Angelo recites a classic:

Twas the night before fucking
and all through the house
not a creature was fucking
not even a mouse


In Angelo’s dream, his Mom had adopted him. Finally, she tells him the truth: that his adopted Dad died and that I am his real father. He also learns that I fight Shadow Warriors. His real Mom is caught inside a Shadow Warrior, and Angelo goes on a quest to find his real Dad and save his Mom.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"That's fucking awesome, guys!"