Abalone

Calder Marchman

                                                           

Hou N. Haung enjoyed the ocean.

Whenever there was a problem

at home or at work

he could always walk down to the wharf

and dive deep

off the end.

 

There was something about the force

with which the water pushed through his neatly parted hair

and how, submerged

opening his eyes

to sting,

he could see the way out

with an omniscient light

shimmering at the surface above.

 

Sometimes,

he swam farther away from the radiating orb

to see how long

he could keep his eyes on it.

 

Inevitably,

he would breach.

And then take the long walk home

dripping with excitement.

 

His neighbors liked to tease from windows

Hou, you’re crazy, man! Just crazy!

To which he would smile

and nod

respectfullylike his mother had always taught him

to do when stepped on.

Parking Garage

Calder Marchman

                                                           

Resisting arrest is difficult enough

without the added challenge

of having no pants.

The cops don’t take you as seriously.

I mean you can run all you want,

and I guess out of embarrassment,

they don’t chase you at any pace faster than

a slow stroll.

 

I suppose it’s just another layer of absurdity,

but I can’t help taking offense.

Do you think it’s because they know

I’m not storing a weapon somewhere

on my person?

Or is it that they’re more scared than I am?

 

Before I realize it

I’ve hit a wall

not literally,

but not quite figuratively

either.

 

The man in blue is imposing

to say the least,

and he’s standing between me

and the only other exit

of the parking garage.

 

I would say I was scared,

at least ashamed

but at a certain point,

you really have nothing else to lose

and all you can do

is charge forward

screaming bloody murder.

 

Graffiti

Calder Marchman

                                                           

The first week in high school

it was Thursday, I think

we all showed up to these words

emblazoned on the side

of the new

two million dollar gymnasium

 

FAGGOTS AT BENTLEY:

CHRIS BIRNIE

RYAN CHU

GREG NEIL

SEAN VOGEL

 

GET OUT QUEERS!

 

We had this big assembly

about what had happened.

It was held to help us

process the attack.

Mostly, the teachers were just

concerned

maybe a little shocked

that this had happened here.

 

We’ve always been forward thinking,

decried my social studies teacher

a man in his mid-forties

who seemed to have taken the stereotypical

professor look

to heart. 

 

All I really thought

was that I was glad it wasn’t my name

on that wall.

Misunderstandings like that

can ruin someone

before they’ve gotten a chance to start.

 
 

Drive by

Calder Marchman

                                                           

Who gets shot

at 7:34 AM?

You usually expect

that sort of thing

to happen at night

under cover of darkness

and all that,

but you’d be surprised.

 

It’s admittedly counterintuitive,

but most “targeted shootings”

happen in the morning.

Police and independent researchers

have theorized

that this is because

the shooters

familiarize themselves

with their victims’ morning routines

so they have the best

(no pun intended)

shot at

knowing where their target will be

when.

 

This means the killers

have witnessed

the mundane activities

of the victims’

morning routines.

The making of coffee,

maybe kissing a girlfriend goodbye,

walking to the bus stop

in an effort to eke out an meager existence –

and they still somehow managed

to kill these people.

 

If you ask me

that’s the really scary part;

that these acts of violence

are so much more intentional than

we’d like to believe.

AC Transit

Calder Marchman

                                                           

 

Your private lives have spilled over.

The gloss of your eyes reflects my friends

my parents.

I stand a few feet away

hoping with keen desperation that the 72 will arrive

deliver me from being a witness, and participant.

So I ignore your muffled screams

that escape beyond his heavy hand

and I ignore the expression you make

as her long fingernails

coated with flaking, red polish

tear across your ear

because I am helpless against you.

 

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