Goodbye And All That (The Bridge)

Goodbye And All That (The Bridge)

Across the steel-corseted George Washington,
muddy Mississippi, heron-flecked Platte, bitter
Mormon saltlick, and sluicing Sierra melt, you

could drive clear through these confused flyover
states without a single bay’s blockage, and yet
daily you stewed in ulcerous swizzle of bridge,

trafficking in a contraband of hours wasted
and surplus cells jammed with data static, muttering
expensive field hollers in your stealthy black rover.

Lydian modes, blue modes, Miles and John modes, modes
of strat and telecaster and hollow body, slapback modes,
decay modes, sync modes and sell modes, soul modes.

Out of the smart-foxed valley, a dusky pink nose and label
to label the vintages of scraped-kneed boys (five and nine
years aged) you complete every room with your arrival,

dangling Calders and/or swap meet kitsch, sashaying
your swing-hipped laugh, painting the conversation
orange, eye-rolling yourself through the truly stupid

(cockeyed act of survival) and nonstop mothering
these three boys through baseball, Broadway
and Breuer: we duly acknowledge the gift of Gabby.

Modes of scavenge and dump, modes of bid and ask, modes
of cheap and dear, love oh loveless loveless love modes,
double-neck and gut heartstring modes, flamenco modes.

Let us now praise famous chairs. The whiteness of the whale
in the blackness of the floor. The hole in the donut
as the perpetrator of perforation: punch a circle

in any object, you get a better object; a Semitic wail
in any song, a better song; an inside-out swing (with
runners aboard) in any inning, a better inning. Shrink

the bridge down to a walk, a better city. Expand
the bridge into a vamp and a better world blooms:
James Brown rules, Berkeley Jewboys legislate.

Modes of marble, modes of leverage and regret, modes
of bentwood and notes (whammied), modes of you and I-
beam, modes of floating, diving, flooding, surrender.

So please don’t say you’ll be back. Let us relish
loss like redwoods trap fog, and let the droplets
course. Of course your wall tags do remain, bagged

in stark basement, avant anacondas coiling
for another chance in the whitened museum
sun. Or, let’s pretend this is fun! and you’re our Trojan

horse to take New York. But we know the trucks
are full and headed opposite, and as they burden east,
this town echoes like an empty stage, and dims.

on the occasion of Michael & Gabrielle Boyd departing San Francisco for New York City, Summer Solstice, 2000, St. Francis Yacht Club, San Francisco