March 18, 2003

Oregon Boogie
By major jackson

Khanum, the things we did,
that off-night at The Vet's
when Sister Sledge
issued from the jukebox's

lit dome the darker
rhythms of our native
homes; so, waiving all decorum
maps heap upon fugitives

our bodies made one nation
while in cold pints of pale ale
a couple broke conversation-
toasted our bacchanal.

Half-swaying, we met
& our lips splashed
like words over a page's white
shores, the foamy crash

of the lonely heart at work,
my hand coasting up
the valley in your back,
arriving at the nape thick

with ringlets I slowly brought
to face & inhaled as you spun
out, a laughing pirouette;
the desert in my heart was gone.

But what of the province
beyond that empty dance floor,
the singlemindedness
of beating rain, the silent slurs

masked by cups of caffeine,

the half-hearted grins,
that say, Here in Eugene
it's not the color of your skin . . .

yet all the while making
a fetish of progressiveness.
Along the Willamette,
consciousness thins out

like smoke rings of cannabis,
as the city dances the salsa,
as students sip cups of chai,
over Bell & Cornell, as henna

designs flake from wrists.
finds its artificial ghost
in the O of a spun Frisbee.

At The Vet's Club
your smile wide as a gorge;
others eventually joined
doing the "Eugene Dance,"

a spastic, organic whirling.
A break before the next song,
over the jukebox's neon
face, we leaned, waiting-
then Bob Marley wailing!


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