Parking Lot by Michael Channing

Parking Lot

by Michael Channing

when you have nothing to write about, you write about writing
trying to capture that crystalline moment
when the universe hands you
the perfect collection of images and syllables
and the poem falls into place like a forest exploded
and landing at random in the shape of a house

write about the parking lot where you stood
and received a dozen lines
tell me about that parking lot
listen to the puddles
remember the colors the fade of the asphalt
the carts abandoned like broken soldiers
was it baseball field-bright?
did the spirits refract the engine oil rainbows
as they searched for the ghosts of their cars?
tell me about the parking lot
where you wrote your poem as you waited for the heater to start breathing

when that poem--gathered with its sisters and brothers, folded and stapled, priced and prayed over--goes unsold and then goes out with the yellow pages and best buy flyers to join the great municipal layer cake
that parking lot will still be there
instead of a big bear grocery it'll be a giant eagle market
that mexican place will be a karate school and that hair salon an h&r block
but that black patch of textured ground will go on collecting rain
the shopping carts will rust and rut in a lonely daisy chain
trash will tumbleweed across the tarmacadam
and the moon will glow through lost souls who still won't remember where they parked

tell me a better memorial
to the seven minutes spent
scratching a poem on the back of your receipt
as the rain announced dominion over all

The Great Municipal Layer Cake

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Chokes and Warbles
Now Available

Chokes and Warbles, a collection of essays and poems by Michael Channing

February 16, 2018