PHOTOS

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                                                                 8
                                                                 POEMS
                                                                 AND EIGHT
                                                                 PHOTOS
                                                                 BY JUSTIN
                                                                 JANUARY 2004
                                                     Contents

                                                     The guests segregate themselves      3

                                                     Film in the park                     5

                                                     So all at once Qbert is there        7

                                                     A torn white bra lies                9

                                                     I see a boy cleaning with his dad   11

                                                     Late at night                       13

                                                     I am on my last beer                15

                                                     Grass and crumbling sidewalks       17




8 Poems and eight photos by Justin January 2004
was written by Justin McDonald. It was inspired by
a meditation on the number 8, which came from a
December 2003 meeting of the 1:Month group in
San Francisco, CA.

All words and photos are by Justin except for the
first one, which is by Anne Speedie, of Justin.

All these poems were written in October 2003.

I hope you enjoy reading them.
Drop me a line: justin@twowindows.com
The guests segregate themselves
into Young,
Old,
and Thirty.

I sit at a table lying to a woman
I’ve just met,
telling her my work “feeds my passion,” and
“keeps me young.”

My hair is too long,
my suit pants too tight.
I look like a lounge-act drummer,
two sheets to the wind.

My wife is gracious at the head table.
The bride’s mother (a teacher) enlisted the
high-school cheerleaders to bus tables
and help with her daughter’s
desert wedding.

Girls with braces and low-slung jeans
steal beers from the coolers,
and plan a skinny-dipping excursion in the pool
once the coast is clear.

My table-mate stops talking.
The bridesmaids bump and grind
on the dance floor.

I put my hand through my hair,
rise from the table
and walk to the cooler for another beer.




                                                  3
Film in the park

Amidst the laughter
of playground voices,
the smoky scent of
burned popcorn and butter
settles on the crowd.

When the sun dips below the trees
the breeze turns cold,
and the wind blowing through the golden gate
fills with fog.

We sit on slowly dampening blankets
our plates and linens scattered
our arms full of breads and cheese and wine.

Alaskan smoked salmon
Mozzarella di Parma
Wine from Johannesburg
(and friends on loan from Marin).

The event begins.
On the raked lawn
a sputtering film reel.

And then,
There is a pop
in the parking lot.

Firecrackers in a staccato rhythm
and the slow wail of a scream.

People stand and
run in the direction of the noise.

Moments ago
my life’s puzzle fit into
shapes I’d created.

Now the ground shakes with explosions.
                                               5
So all at once Qbert is there
and I’m introduced as DJ Hyde.

We make small talk about turntable equipment:
needles,
slip mats,
cheap records,
1200s,
then he says he’s playing tonight and
“Do I want to spin?”

“Yes,
of course”
comes the answer in my voice,
but the show starts at midnight
and it’s in Brooklyn
and I don’t have a car
and I live in Manhattan
(San Francisco actually)
and I’m already too stoned to move.

The alarm rings,
Anne swings out of bed and
I hear the bathroom faucets open
She’s brushing her teeth.




                                                7
A torn white bra lies
in a pool of broken glass

Construction workers kneel on
the cool asphalt of morning,
patching a hole with smoking
rubber putty.

A jackhammer erupts
And interrupts a downtown-bound executive.
She stops walking and finds
a white sock
in her long black boots.

All around there is a hurried pace.
The buses fill and empty with bursting hydraulic breath.
Shopkeepers sweep the damp and littered sidewalks.

A horn blares
the sun warms my arm as I am writing.

The day begins.




                                                          9
I see a boy cleaning with his dad.

The boy sweeps,
his father pulls half-full bags from
office garbage cans.

I remember a day like this
when I was that boy.
I would wake with my mother
hours before dawn.
We’d load two hundred pounds of newspaper
into the small white Chevette,
and assemble, wrap, fling,
hundreds of these fucking papers
into yards of country folk who couldn’t read
and didn’t want the paper
and never paid for it.

I look at the boy sweeping
and wonder if I’ll ever forgive my mom
for being poor.




                                               11
Late at night
the drones have left the hive
and I sit on a downstairs couch
eating an Indian-spiced pizza.

There was a whirlwind here this afternoon.
Papers collect in piles on desks, and
there is an empty coke-can pyramid on an abandoned table.

Editors, smiling with indy rockers
stare from photos tacked up to the endless rows of
open-walled cubicles.

Kim, from London,
turns the corner at full gallop.
She eyes the pizza
but is leaving soon.

Zahavah swoops in, impeccably dressed.
She grabs a slice
and races to her office,
her mind filled with the intricacies
of legal briefs.

Matt is skipping, jogging, laughing,
does a backflip in mid-stride
(he does PR)
and I chat with him
about news, newsweek, Time.com.

My hair runs to my shoulders.
I’m wearing sandals
and my worry today
was matching the border of an ad I’m building
to the hue of a rock star’s eyes.

I’m afraid I’ll miss these long nights.
I’m afraid of what’s to come.



                                                            13
I am on my last beer
(for Charles Bukowski)

I am on my last beer
and the thought consumes me.
There’s no liquor in the house
the vodka was given away,
the gin thrown out, and
the wine is badly corked
and used for sauces.

I want to write a poem tonight.
Write playful verse after verse,
reattempt my novel,
design logos and
build that website for my aunt.

There is one sip of beer left in the bottle,
the recycling is full
and I can not think.

There is no Copenhagen,
no pot
not even a Miller Lite.

Cala is open,
but my shirt will be too loud
and my bathrobe too eccentric.

The beer is gone
and with it the muse.
She tempts me with a wink
and a knowing nod.
But seated before her throne,
my skin dries
and I thirst
for the water
of oblivion.



                                               15
Grass and crumbling sidewalks

How does the grass grow,
bursting through
sidewalks,
crumbling curbs,
racing along medians
now decades old?

From where does this seed grasp life?

How does it know the sun will
shine after the rain,

that rain will come after
hot, withering heat,

that cool shade will come in the afternoon
the sun hidden away by skyscrapers
and give time
to replenish
the day’s struggle.

How does the grass know
to live?

How does it know
it is bound for greatness
it will inspire art,
sadness,
resolve.

How does the grass grow
through crumbling sidewalks
and freeways scorching hot?

It grows one day at a time:
Oblivious to the past.



                                             17

				
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