Joshua Young

Weekends of Sound

We huff through the neighborhood. we look for
traces of you, give you the shit we think you
deserve. pathways of mirror-cracks & ladder-
frost. this headache is a hallway, metronomic.

plough the cabinet for hours, in the particle
board & salt-spill. you have rows of VHS on
your bathroom floor. we will strip in the fog &
cut through it, between the dead lawn & chain-

link, just ferns & cedar branches. this storm is in
a hurry. the freeway drone of engines, the couch
is quiet, your body is sinking.  generations will
erase what you laid, casket. the planter boxes are

sprouting skylines. if there is only one stoplight,
then the tides will leave a forest, the grange, the
occasional punk show. this is common
knowledge. the boats do not belong to us, but

they will remain in wait—who cut the brakes to
our bikes. I want your entrance back. I want
your shoes. the crowd surges—you’ll show me
the bruises collected on your calves. this was

not sexual, but I was moved. you wanted to take
skyline photos, & the moon slit a hole in the
surface, as though the river’s stopped chugging,
& there’s something youthful about waking, &

wanting to see. this modern age left hours ago,
so obsessed with trying to hook the past & reel
it the moment anchors, but your sister keeps
talking about that ship that surfaced

in the harbor, & your father keeps talking about
the axis the world is barely balancing on, & your
wife keeps telling you to stop forgetting the
grocery bags, & he doesn’t care about the depth

of your pockets, you’re still a fuck-up. the parking
spots barely hold us—the garage-steam, that
hum & roar. home is just through those giraffe
necks & cranes of the shipyard. sleep, my son,

we will be too far out to see their expressions. I
want to know how many skeletons rest in this
concrete & what each death meant. it takes
hours for the ambulance to arrive. there is

a pride of boys talking—blood brothers. a
collection of rodent bones, that is a carcass on
the swing set—the gulls are at it. our neighbors
put your father’s guitar to pieces.

neighborhood cats following, calling after us.
the heron stalks, & you said your cats delivered
baby rabbits—I’m as curious as you are. cross
the lawn, baby in your arms, & the needle’s

shadow covers the basketball court. inside, the
bedroom-light dampens, the freeway seizes &
you yawn when the room is pregnant. the desk
cracks at the center & I know you’ll say

otherwise, but I can see the exhaustion in your
eyelid-flutter. we ask the wrong questions there
are bird-baths all over the lawn, again. I want to
say Ballard, but I’m thinking shoreline & pellets

of salt. grocery bags caught in the sewer drain,
dark clouds over the peninsula, & you're a few
hours late, asking what is your legal obligation. I
want to feel contempt when I say this name, but

there’s nothing surfacing anymore: it didn’t have
to spin the way it went—the rabbit hole is
flooded, but it didn’t matter. my mother says,
you can’t be a democrat & be a christian.

around the pool table laughter kicks forward,
over the piano & record static. you want
another story about Cruces, there's dust in my
teeth, glass in my shoes. at different times

in our lives, we've been here, our families
making scenes on the shore. tree-lights were
flickering & the bouncer at the club blew smoke
in our faces, told us to move on. a band inside

cassettes into crowds. see the telecaster shadow,
boys will blow out windows—Aberdeen is a
collection of dim lights & salted air. have you
heard of Hoquiam? cross that bridge, Cobain

didn’t matter to us then, there was a storm &
we wanted to watch

the waves collide with the breakers.

where does this opening get me—


Joshua Young is a poet, playwright, and multimedia artist living in Seattle. He is the author of six collections, most recently, Psalms for the Wreckage (Plays Inverse 2017) and was recently awarded a grant from the Reva and David Logan Foundation for his multimedia work. His films have played at Seattle International, Athens International, Toronto Independent and Montreal International Black Film Festival, among others. He works at Cornish College of the Arts.