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About this poet

Joannie Stangeland is the author of In Both Hands (Ravenna Press, 2014) and Into the Rumored Spring (Ravenna Press, 2011). She lives in Seattle, Washington.

Page One

 

Civilization is really a great pleasure.
—Edwin Denby

for W. MacKay

On Tuesday night it’s raining in Seattle,
and as I feed my plastic to the kiosk
by the curb, stick my spattered ticket
to the driver’s side window, start walking south,
dodging puddles through the slick and glint,
I hear an accordion, music that puts me
in a French movie—maybe a Truffaut—haunting
as across Pine Street, neon rubies and blues
an invitation, like somewhere in Paris
or New York, and I climb the steps
to Elliott Bay Book Company
thinking Edwin might say
that buying books is really a great pleasure,
like the time you took me to St. Mark’s, gave
me a copy of Frank O’Hara’s Selected,
pointing out the poem titled
“Poem [Light      clarity      avocado salad in the morning]”
and now I picture Edwin in the movie you sent,
standing outside his apartment talking
to Aaron Copland, which takes me back
to Phebe’s diner with you and Pat,
before he married me, when we were younger
and he was still alive, when morning could yawn
until afternoon, heavy plates of eggs
with roasted potatoes by the window
where Bowery seemed wide enough to hold
all our days, and anything would happen.

Copyright © 2017 Joannie Stangeland. Used with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in The Southern Review, Spring 2017.

Copyright © 2017 Joannie Stangeland. Used with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in The Southern Review, Spring 2017.

Joannie Stangeland

Joannie Stangeland is the author of In Both Hands (Ravenna Press, 2014). She lives in Seattle, Washington.