Lyric for a day like today

Imagine every spoken word

as part of a very large scaffold

that when we hear “hold” and “please”

steel decks, posts and leveling jacks

shift this way and that

and from all the words repeated

— everyday the same —

the shape of the city emerges


Imagine this city as the external

machination of what we think

which is what we say

cranes swivel, tunnels get built

businesses fold, new ones thrive

restaurants open, schools close

we speak the city and it becomes

a creation assured by words


Yet along the avenues nothing changes

dogs still bark across fences

sisters still hold grief

and laughter in their cupped hands

unrevised lexicons frame

the structures that support us

some try, and do, use an alternate syntax

but lateral loads resist


We talk the city

as we boast so is the map drawn

we make and discard, taste and chew

forks clink against fine porcelain

hope shoots from shadows

roses push past thorns

after rain a rainbow, in its afterglow

unbearable things both dwindle and grow

Claudia Castro Luna becomes Washington’s next poet laureate on February 1, 2018. She was the Seattle Civic Poet from 2015-2017. Her new book Killing Marias: A Poem for Multiple Voices is available from Two Sylvias Press. You can follow her on Twitter at @ClaudiaC_L

Photo credit: Space Needle under construction, 1961. Photo courtesy Seattle Municipal Archives, CC BY-SA 2.0.

Space Needle under construction

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