Distinguished Writer Series
Presented by the City of Tacoma and
Puget Sound Poetry Connection
The goal of our readings is to bring poets of import to Tacoma
to help local poets learn and set goals for their own works.
We also provide a showcase for local poets to share their new work. All venues are free, physically accessible, and open to the public.
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Kings Bookstore (218 St. Helens, Tacoma)
Feature for October, Joseph Green
Joseph Green, reading Oct 12 lives in Longview, Washington, and teaches at Lower Columbia College. He is the recipient of PEN Northwest's Margery Davis Boyden Wilderness Writing Residency for the year 2000. A collection of his poems, Deluxe Motel, is available from The Signpost Press.
Someone to Watch Over Me
after Granddad died he still hung
around in the hall outside my room,
keeping an eye on me the way he’d always done.
I accused him of spying when he was alive,
when I caught him four or five times a day
easing my door ajar and peering inside.
Get your nose out of my business, I hissed,
and the door sucked shut and he slipped
back down the hall, but then after he was gone
there was no more getting rid of him.
My mother gave all his clothes away,
the pinstriped suits, the hats, the underwear,
and scrubbed the smoke stains out of his room
and sold his bed, his dresser, and his easy chair.
But I could still feel him sneaking up behind me,
distracting me from my algebra,
from the unknowns I had to isolate
among the numbers I couldn’t love,
his breath whistling soft as cotton through his nostrils,
the invisible gift of his attention lifting
the hairs on the back of my neck.
That was the winter I first sipped liquor
and first sniffed a girl on my slippery finger.
That was the winter I learned what it is to be haunted.