Snoqualmie Falls


Query if we’re alive or dead. Check the credit union
roofing and dial tone, night buoys, body’s carbon
copy. Pension signature of my body, your blood numbers station
combusts in a house; a corner house. 737 dumped
its fuel on us. Night ketosis blooms dead pilots of Everest
and left behind a thimble. Phantom index finger
taps your phone number again– I remember everything
we bought. Laid down heart attacks in glued beige,
rolled out lichen. Brushed a windshield with baleen
knuckles. Went back to the first apartment. Second.

Tear down the gas station and build another.
In higher elevations now. Turn rain into snow. White duplex yard,
radio antlers. Drop rations to us from a door
in Lufthansa. Red cardigan thalamus wilts and wires a wall.
Our lake is too thick to pass through windows, cherry-clogged
downspouts. Closed circuit shotgunning.
Lay on one side and recall the bedroom window light at
years -10, -8, -2. Wilted wire wall:
They wake me up every century. I wish
they would wake me now. Do you want to have to want to.
The house someone was supposed to move into.

Mouth-feel has the run of the park. Tents flammable
now. Lit pine embers spun to maduro ground.
I wish the century was me and mine and I.
Who’s to say someone three centuries ago isn’t the best for you.
Or, you to someone three centuries from now.
I wished the dormitory was thick like fat in time.
When the flame hits we are [g]one. I wish the fat
would drip solid bodies of me and mine and I downriver.


Will you haunt a place no one can find
on a continent tectonics away–
A continent drifted under, its rooms boarded
up, language mummified inside tongue. Poison
its ice cream bar in 1952, fires melted
Tannhauser candy. Seismics blued and seeping
to the end of a hemisphere, chambers boarded up
and filled with wet copper of a World’s Fair.

Haunt the glass compartment of wild doe
and ferry lights. Chambered heart of
atom bomb, rigging strewn out across a parking lot.
Swim out to the jail. Bread floats in salt water, our even
blemishes. Our knockout game, our tin snips; 9 volt
battery on a tongue.

I circled the porch post to avoid bullets?
The police in the garage. When you came around
you said to use the same caliber as NATO. Showed me
your vintage star core. Potassium Iodide tablets.
Sewed the red lozenge buttons
on your jacket and said to swallow them
like when we were new.


The dream last night
while the Chinese bombed Tacoma
was of a river dam. Knocked me out of bed, a distant
drunk driver dead on Marine View Drive. The emergency
lights pulmonary across Commencement Bay. You asked
if I wished to be a different form of animal. Bed sheets
identified a state park on I-90 with a new dam
while you worked the espresso stand. Went
to its bleachers and looked down.

I would sleep for one hour, visit the dam, then come to
on the floor. My essentials were there. I felt
the body of water against the ledge, the sneakers
floating. Or, Lake Kachess where I never swam,
no crude oil to fill it,
nor boat rentals, nor hearing
any decibels from extremities.


There is a steak house in Mandan
the next town over. We ate ourselves there. In the steak
I looked across sternum to find our air marshal.
The greenest eyes on a plate were fire damage, the easiest
eyes to set on fire. Do you feel so badly about crashing,
the cut and tear of hydraulics through palms of syntax.

I print my boarding passes and print again.
Everyone is from Missoula, they say.
Are you from ND? Everyone I meet is from Missoula.
You have to evaluate your employees.
Did they come from Salt Lake?
Everyone comes from Missoula.
You have to rate your employees.
You have to let them know who is in charge.
I’d fire that one. Ripped up the book I wrote right there.
The varnished headboard, the dream last night, the
hole in the floor. Dust in each crease, arm down,
head down, left,


My eaves will always hold more memories
of metastasis than you. Smooth running hair,
I don’t want it anymore.
I want to dig out this shrapnel with a comb,
black holes spun beneath a scalp in sugar.
The scant broth of prairies and salt, screen door
vomit wiped clear. Cell phones shouldn’t return
calls after they’ve died.

I watched her reconstruction eat shark
at The Clocktower. Centrifugal forces shifted
under a glass cutter, swaying my hand.
Ink unraveled her satins to my throat.
What time is it there? Here?
I painted an ether egg in a bowl,
hid it in a hedge; spinning faster now.
Swept Monte Carlo soot to Stereogate.
Barely-muscle built chimneys for the plaid
center of a galaxy, six beers, eight on a
prepaid card. Where are you going, who is that?
Build chimneys for black moles. I’ll move east.
Measure redshift with a simple Polaroid.

Husk habitual, two-dimensional lighter flame froze
where the habitable zone should be.
Kepler caught you crossing your sun,
Queen Anne hill, Capitol Hill.
Seneca said your blood tasted like blood
but melted as glass down the street.
All of time in painted traffic,
chaffed rubber grains,
pixellated exhaust chesnuts cracked open.
The chain link rattles
where skin cannot be grafted.
My cheek pressed cold sweat more
than low-sewn cardiacs ever knew.
More than the back of a hand ever could.

Cumulus drying, quarter machine brownout.
Cracked white heart.
Maiden name, gastric on its side, jaw slightly open.
Pursed coin lips, tongue strung out and sweating
on its own for a downspout spider to climb.
Kepler caught you blinking, choking on your hair in sleep.
Red barn: empty. Blown glass cracked and stained glass
thinned. Your holes spin faster, The Westridges now one
atom thick where your sister sat on the rocks.

Rattle the doorknob and pick shingles
from ornamental cherries, popped automatic
under white sheets or braille sheets,
black sheets or no sheets.
On a couch or no couch.
Coffin candy or brier jeans.
A habitable planet absorbed by its red giant
or a head dropped in one shot at 300 yards.
I don’t want to remember anymore.
I saw your dashboard explode, the airbag deployed.
I don’t want to file claims anymore.
I don’t want to forge copper nails
for killing our tree anymore,
nor its radiator, nor its steam.

Jonathan Briley

We won’t cold brew malaise. I melted a safety cone and caulked the quadruple pane. Coupons are falling!
Dishes don’t wash themselves. I kept reminding the pilots to not slap at the dog when he began to squirm
and bark. Don’t let the dog use your inhaler as a chew toy. Inhalers belong in shirt pockets, co-pilot. Don’t
chip contact lenses. Abruptly recoil from sound. Some can make glasses break with a single tone. At the time
you trip on the stairs, instinctively put your arms forward. Close eyes, close mouth, close nose, close
Windows on the World. The slenderest glasses are always the hardest to clean. Hot water is best for assam
and arabica: when the neighbors are yelling you don’t go down. You know those kids playing baseball
might break a window. That kid will pay, the one in the stained blazer. He’s really full of himself. Caught
nothing but air in T-ball. Wear orange shirts to the continental breakfast. Launch the buffet out the window.
Get a running start and push as hard as you can. Shoot that fucker right out the window. Laugh! Just imagine
the hash browns and eggs and bacon falling onto a crowd below. They looked up and laughed! Waved,
flipped you off. Flip them back in good nature and chuckle. Who is going to wash all these goddamned
mimosa glasses? There’s always the weekend, push and pull the remaining carts. Tatter your dress tie into
a pinwheel and spin it like a helicopter. These people don’t know how to fall, tumbling blindly through updrafts.


While I was driving past the demolition of the Heidelberg Brewey today I noticed something written on the wall.

[Update, 12/18/11: The wall and this art piece no longer exist.]

Hylebos Creek

starliner buried underground

near darker dermis, ivory headpiece

ashtray on the dashboard

toy strata, solemn strata, lower dismal strata

found refracted eviction

roofing theropoda lifelike

inside red flyer wagon, encased fossil

furcula at an angle, glass case gelatin

turn microscopic. sample the windows of the bus

record etched channels where clothing seams imprinted

measure indented clay where resting used to be

leave microscopic. overall spine and pelvis, outside the bus

overall complete jaw, no missing teeth

wedded firmly to rock

coelurosaur without cage, freed pet

formica strata’s bouncing tacks

metal hill one click away, twenty stories tall

rusted less on the interior

thicker panes some bodies disintegrated against

Pierce County transit bus, inside, along

the yard where kindling was free to burn

on scrap steel, windows sagged free

late under three hundred feet of pressure

through and through, compacted steadily

air is granite. mom and dad strung silk

from flashing lights on the dashboard

filled an old tunnel beneath the city

lariat chromed and buried

a silent wick for a Ford

ash rumors

Three types of water fowl
were found in the fireplace this morning.
Their necks slipped from our numb palms
buttered with soap. –Get empty cereal boxes
to corral them on the hearth.

Wash them.

Three types of birds come back from the printer.
Feathers prefer woodcuts or calligraphy.
Our black hole likes to attract
hippocampus and altercation.
A sedan’s interior spackled with crushed PM.

A pet listens from inside the model PT boat box.
–Tamiya Modelling
A pet scratches from inside the Datsun trunk.
A pet found a perch on a new pelvis.
A pet eats lichens under the front porch park.
A pet chews at its own hang nails.

When the nightstand gets wet napkins are not useful
for schematics. Circuitry embeds in flesh,
mold spores, event horizons, ash dermis.
Circuitry persists in the ignition of hardwoods.

Several pets returned to fly
around the pilot light. Several pets
found the center of the galaxy, Andromeda, Ursa Minor.
Several pets happened upon a nearby war.
Be tidy for the one in the bicorne–
spot the shellac on the unreal figure.

Make new pets; collect cauliflower
for our taxidermist to use as stuffing for a brain–

South Tacoma Memorization

we flew up into the trees

to tie knots in collected red wires

we flew back down to where we were born

in a green ammo can from the army surplus store

we returned again to the swap meet

where Vietnam vets peddling circuit boards have been replaced by immigrants

we flew into a downspout the television cable is now drilled through

we looked at spider webs inside a hollow gray beehive

what is a simpler home than a discarded beehive? what does rent cost

to make your home inside a retired gray husk

felled from dormer eaves and held in a popsicle hand–

she ran up to you, holding the hive, hands sticky

then showing her in the garage, this is how you clean a revolver

and, can you look at these parts and know how to put it back together?

the old convenience store a block away is now a trap house

where our Brittany Spaniel was once tethered to its steps during a walk

the old banks of a neighboring curb have been graded under

no longer my bike ramp; power lines hang the same

C130s have the same noise with landing gear down

flying over mowed lawns back to their base

exhaust settles the same on southern facing roofs

and we fly back into trees

near the center of a retired cemetery

near no new dormers being hung

near no new holes being dug

noble gas, noble beast

printed over a dollar’s hieroglyphs.
printed on our molars, on our enamel.
printed on credits from Ursa Minor,
on our hang nails, our rooted crowns.
who’s there?
recorded anonymous on debit card mag stripes.
printed on one knuckle of a zoo’s prized nobility:

  1. skin cells of the swimming lake
    1. latitude
  2. misery dew point; wipe your upper lip on a plaid work shirt
    1. longitude
  3. boiling point; waxen bough too slippery to grip
    1. x-axis
  4. fist full of pumice; caress the face of one sleeping
    1. y-axis
  5. palms cupped broken windshield yellow jackets
    1. disorienting gravities
  6. drawer of slack wire with no frets to be glued on a balsa neck
    1. tons, chords
  7. skin cells in the wash basin
    1. cubic feet
  8. the smell of silk burning, ink burning on newsprint; linen thrown over a sleeping face
    1. kimono angstroms
  9. quartz, barbacoa, 1986 NASA
    1. Fahrenheit
  10. on the lake: transposed Santa Maria against skyscrapers
    1. knots
    2. terminal velocity

steady there, steady
with a carbine for the collateral.
who’s there?
the onion farmer– lunar trap in tears;
recycled potatoes on the half shell.
recycled helium lugged by its broker

keep her nose away from matches–
breathe without smiling around the corner.
douse the silicon burning near Digital Dakota barley;
track a gunpowder nose to its matchbook

gather around the noble beast converting to gas;
its hide inflated, tethers on hooves holding it down.
the laughter, the murmurs, the exertion, the economics–

human brain, stomach pump, exaltation–
who’s there, who knocks so long?
balloonist thimbles of dividends

helium taxidermy. eat from the mastodon for three months
but leave its shell intact, make it air tight to be inflated
for flights above Pangaea

— like us, floating upwards
towards a suspension bridge with sacks of coins;
rosy child recursions; spleens of dinars, lungs of rupees,
livers of nascent yen

pull out every last tooth;
who’s there?
cage a word behind clenched gums, the trapped moth, our fetus

tuxedoed for self-immolation, hollow and still;
a coin inserted between ribs to eject its toy–
christen the kicked stack of silver dollars;
long in the tooth, one continent split.
long in the hair, the division of an umbilical cord.
the rapid heartbeat, the slot machine, the oblong rapist;
the blown out candle in Lincoln’s bedroom


  1. nursery arrhythmia, kitchen shivers
  2. protect hemoglobin from live wires
  3. ancient salt cakes the embryo
  4. the necrophiliac next door prefers white bread
  5. able mistletoe, a compass traces the arc of spasms
  6. pet tarantulas bed in moss
  7. lip wounds split open
  8. costume cherubims, cracked telescope cell walls
  9. lichens, rites of waxen attics
  10. temples all day. smile as you play
  11. temple’s magnate, conglomerate
  12. wounds hesitate to merge, coagulate
  13. merge with the bath water
  14. merge with the bird feeder’s squatter
  15. merge with the bird bath’s water
  16. merge with a dental dam’s failure
  17. merge with esquire on sand pyres
  18. merge a livery horn with a cup
  19. merge soil with hounds
  20. merge metal with palates
  21. merge with the bird house’s spider
  22. lacquer canisters, colostrum
  23. the pelvic merged with the gastric
  24. sliced leather livers into shoe soles
  25. the pyre can’t burn leather livers
  26. we fire walk the pyre on liver slices
  27. we fire walk the esquire of the temple
  28. we fire walk atop WTC 2
  29. the pilot light is awake
  30. the pilot light is the first to ignite the hive
  31. i see terrible things for black widows nearby
  32. i see terrible things for axes swung against soft hides
  33. i see terrible things smashed against linen
  34. i see some figments banished to Io
  35. opal figurine, matter’s obsolescence
  36. fires in the history stable
  37. fires on the genealogy records table
  38. fires in the bunk below red shift
  39. fire ants will float in plumes on water
  40. fire from the gym teacher’s scotch
  41. so soft, the isosceles drawn under flowers
  42. so soft, the prunes within
  43. so soft, the eagle’s breast in dark matter
  44. so soft, each polyp burned under eclipse
  45. so elegant, chauffeurs tending to tripwire

the third estate

someone decided we would have the abortion
you laid on a table before me like i would deliver them

they induced labor and were ready with instruments:

with a metal cutting device and a vacuum
the orderlies positioned themselves at your sides
like i was the audience
each baby emerged and i looked close
i could see the color of their hair, far along
the color of their eyes; this seemed late-term
and reacting again, they were so small
but unnatural; eyes are never opened or so small–

two daughters
one had auburn hair, one blond
one blue-eyed, one green
somehow they were the size of tiny dolls
gazing back up at me, strangely
not possible–  they were breathing and blinking so clearly
completely alive like small birds fallen from a nest to a gutter
i wanted to reach down and lift one up to me–

and they were decapitated before my eyes
this metal cutting instrument held by an orderly moved quick
each head fell to the ground

in the dream i was crying afterwards
in another place, recounting this to my father
telling him, i realized we made a terrible mistake
a very terrible mistake

How many people have ever lived or died?

“This semi-scientific approach yields an estimate of about 106 billion births since the dawn of the human race. Clearly, the period 8000 B.C. to 1 A.D. is key to the magnitude of our number, but, unfortunately, little is known about that era. Some readers may disagree with some aspects— or perhaps nearly all aspects—of the table, but at least it offers one approach to this elusive issue. If we were to make any guess at all, it might be that our method underestimates the number of births to some degree. The assumption of constant population growth in the earlier period may underestimate the average population size at the time. And, of course, pushing the date of humanity’s arrival on the planet before 50,000 B.C. would also raise the number, although perhaps not by terribly much.”