Someone I know Died in Coho Square

Under the Sakura Tree by Lye Tuck-Po

The assignment was to write a poem using this picture as inspiration. I was instructed to avoid use of the word: umbrella. This was tough. In the end, I don’t think the poem sounds natural, though I like the idea I came up with for the story of the thing. Here’s the poem I wrote:

Someone I know Died in Coho Square

Remember nine
and walks in Coho Square?
Domo, your giant rot
yanked us on his leash
like wind through flags on ropes.
Then cancer put him down
and his bowl went
with dust in the attic.
After, you brought shade
under the cherry blossoms
even when the world’s ceiling
was blue.
You said Domo’s spirit
lived in that shadow
and the once you let me under
I heard nothing:
silly silence.

Another azure marble day
I find Coho Square again
barely a cherry blossom left
and you
Thin as the rod
that still holds your patched shade up.
A man carries your baggage now.
Shares your shadow.
Cold demeanors split by aluminum.
Shades on your eyes
Over your head
Coats in summer
and all it took
to turn a girl
into a vampire
was the death of a dog.

The Sun Storm

Me: Listen, I’ll be honest. I want you to go to school and I want some beautiful girl to corrupt you and I want you to fall in love and have your heart broken and be miserable and fail classes and get drunk and find out why it REALLY sucks to get drunk, not because your grandfather was an alcoholic, and I want you to come out of the other side of all that, with love, and darkness, and your sidearm, and I want you to blow everyone away. Or you can stay with the arduinos and know what comes. Youth is so much about fucking up. Life is. It’s just more expensive when you’re older lol.

You: You want life to come and schmuck me upside the head while I’m looking the other way, eh?

Me: Nah, man. I want your eyes to be wide open for it. What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger, man. The worst thing that can happen in your life is torture. Death is quick. Sudden. Like a light switch. Debt? Poverty? You got 2 families with homes.  You are also not illiterate. You could work at a mall. You could kill yourself. You could be a bus driver. You could WIN! You could have an art gallery showing. You could marry a rich girl and be into money.

You: Mm, sign me up for that one.

Me: You could wake up one day, drunken alcoholic, look down, and think, man, these shoes aren’t mine. It’s a long way from a beer to a blackout. From starting college to graduation. From now till the sun storm.