BY JAN HAAG

INTRODUCTION + POETRY + ESSAYS + MUSIC + TRAVEL + FICTION + TEXTILE ART





A TOWN CALLED BOULEVARD


A sign pointing to the left said:
"Boulevard: Population 12,006"


I

It was one block wide and forty miles long, all the inhabitants hung
out on a line like laundry, like clothespins put up for shooting at

with a twenty-two. Strung out so long and so thin and so far
you would say it almost doesn't exist, that town called Boulevard.

II

O God, if a town called Boulevard can't make me serious,
if it can't divide me from dualism, what can? Two streets
and a yard of grass between them running down the planes
of the desert, planted with palms -- that's a boulevard all right.
A strip of difference, a strip of nature between two concrete
lanes of flattened over earth -- and they named the town that!

I hear echoes in my head of poems and voices and cries and kryias,
screams about being run down, chased between concrete streets.
I'm that roll of grass between the paving that keeps the sky
from the earth, that keeps the earth from sprouting green trees,
from sprouting palms right up through the floor boards of Fords
and Toyotas. O yes, I am that creature that keeps the macadam
down, the tar in place, the LaBrea bubbling. I am that creature
that bought the oil that built the road that ran through the desert
that once was nowhere and is now a town called Boulevard.

If I can block out the voices, cut off the Hydra-headed monster
that forms my soul, forms yours, if I could unpave the world,
untemper the sword, replant the universe, reconstitute the oil
back to the chlorophyll that fed the dinosaurs that roamed the earth
and are gone, that roamed the earth with us and are gone like we
will be gone when the town called Boulevard will be palmed on both sides
with dates, no doubt, and coconuts, and in the middle will run streams
of celestial harmonies, and all the voices now raised in cacophony
will even out into a smooth running unity that will mesh into one cry,
one psalm, one blade, elegantly divide with one back and one front,
one up and one down, one zone beveled ridge down the center,
one difference between the right and the left, then the
town called Boulevard will be a gas station on the highway to Paradise.

III

A lady in white and buff and hibiscus strolled across town,
eating dates, whistling at the palms, she walked right up
off the boulevard into the cotton-soft sky.






Copyright © 2000 Jan Haag
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Jan Haag may be reached via e-mail: jhaag@u.washington.edu




POEMS ABOUT THE PEOPLE AND LANDSCAPE OF AMERICA


Arizona Desert

Challenger

Cicada

Confidence

Doris, 12/20/97

Dour, 12/12/97

George Coluzzi

The Great God Leshikar

I Am Innuit

Potlatch

McDonald Observatory

Rio Grande

Stonecypher, 10/24/97

10-33*

Two Tomatoes

The Woman Who Had No Necklaces



BY JAN HAAG


POETRY + MUSIC + ESSAYS + TRAVEL + FICTION + TEXTILE ART

INTRODUCTION + HAAG'S BIO