Steve Arntson


by Steve Arntson
copyright 2008

See it there!
A sunset just a darkening
A black-and-white affair
more suitable for Bad Guys and lonesome times

It is said the rocks were blasted once
At the entrance dynamite you didn’t stick around!

Before you think you have to die
the stock market crashed
It’s 1933
And the sun has simply turned to stone with the times
An amorphous gray

It’s still a market
Still a sunset
And what we’re hearing like banshee landlords
the cries of the avifauna
their absolute agenda

The Bay is like a sudden crater
where the truth about money is a costly surprise
the color of steel
The new color of the sinking star

New gray
As if gray were Noel and anomaly
what painters’ eyes have never seen
and therefore attempted
with their pallet’s bright ouija

Designation: poverty
The ranger pronounces government green
that seems another version of “All is lost!”
Chances are you own a uniform yourself
And keep it tailored to a vanishing life-form

“Money market” is alliteration only
A tease in the mind
A cork afloat in the cranial sea
where no horizon’s ever discerned
Something unthought-of before
Upwind or down

We’re just about turned into animals again
No one’s to blame how does it feel?

Half-light and half-dark
It’s a sunset devoured by a battleship’s paint job
A gray that’s waiting
on the sirens of Roman numeral wars
I II and counting impatiently

Let the ranger speak!
Can purple be a color? and red? out there?
right now?

Blown apart!
westmost smithereens
an underwater temple deconstructed

Can the Bay be the sky be the paint-by-numbers showoff?
What sealife does and all the time

The ranger’s talking science to no one in particular
Talking to retire she incubates a bias towards the west
The last lines of sight beginning to curve
and be a reservoir of sable shallow numerology

Crescent Beach

by Steve Arntson
copyright 2008

Here is where you’ll figure it out
Where it’s safe enough and separate, too

Almost a cove
From Chapman Bluff
to the stairs to Ecola’s lawns and picnics

But be careful coming there
Be mindful of ankles
the treachery of gulleys
the landslide that includes yourself

On the brushy berry trails
Waist-high shoulder-high
lost as you wanna’ be

Third Beach

by Steve Arntson

copyright 2008

first posted on
Ygg’s Horse discussion group
February 20, 2008

Dunes dunes and contradictions
Dunes of the Third Beach
dunes in the rain
It is raining on a “Lawrence of Arabia” set
The place is inexplicably flooded

Dunes and ducks familiar ducks familiar shores
Yet paradox is added and the Oregon coast is a pull-apart pastry in the morning

It entertains two identities
The desert the Eden

There are deer in the puddles in the low places
Eyes’ rainbows assigned their respective untermittent suns!
Their colors compete with Auda abu-Taye’s battle flags!

Deer and the expectation of more
Camels, too and
Of all the times to have it happen
I am deprived of my own essential prayers

Time-being time
Beautiful healthy
Yet someone closed the door
Perhaps the Shadow People

It may be some rainy war
approximating all that Mohammed imagined possible
in a downpour

I wouldn’t be surprised to see Omar Sheriff in a yellow slicker
Or T.E. Lawrence trying to keep his pages dry
“The Seven Pillars of Wisdom”, perhaps

So make it a temple of slip-and-slide
Color it tan with pines
and buggies getting up speed for a dash to Mecca

Go anywhere west or anywhere east the sands deceive

“Third Beach”, she’d said
“Take you there
past Umpqua Lighthouse and the oyster beds
jetty north and jetty south
the waterway of warnings…”

And she did
And in those first moments of Third Beach
Drudgery was forgotten
There was a sense of lifting
And I’d trust that like money for groceries in heaven

Just concentrate
And a desert is entrusted to a rain forest’s care

“What are your thoughts?” I thought
Indeed what irony of rainfall informs your fear of desert regions?
What jihad to overrun your campfire’s embers only?

Asking it becomes quite clear that Nature is policed
We’ve had a good look at its constable Light and Dark
And suspects wander
and consider the odds of getting caught

I’m somewhat unavailable myself

The way something has absented itself

and left the sand to the mercy of rainfall

House of Doors

by Steve Arntson

copyright 2008

Note: Steve says–”This is a piece written after my first visit to Burning Man in 1996 – it is about an installation that was created using only doors…”

The House of Doors
seemed doors to all your houses

And there was Huxley perceiving something
Huxley at the keyboard
Huxley with headphones
mixin’ a set
for a micro-burst of broadcast
from his ready radio room
cozy as a wind-break

We were going to sleep
with a memory of Morrison
singing, “This is The End, my friend!”
End of a root system’s supply-and-demand
for wooden doors
making wooden walls

And once within their circle of power
no music is denied you!
All bands are heard hearing Jim’s
his coming and going
doors seeming closed upon a crop circle’s circle
of knobs
and keyholes

You enjoy each panel’s pale braille relief
Fingertipping and tapping
as if to after the end of the world
Or knocking knocking

“Can I come in, Aldous
do you perceive me?
do you?
do you?”

And he answers
“We’re going to keep it cozy for ya’
keep ambient yellow aglow
keep the heat enclosed
and let the cold escape!”

While F Minor spins a turntable ’round
‘midst the spaghetti of power cords and cables
memories are gathered
the way a crowd is convened
Each member of the mob a version of recollect

A drought just dying to invade
as a silt so fine
it’s through and through
the knothole
the keyhole
A story passed down
Like a whispered text of dusky stars
by the westerlies conveyed

Depoe Bay

by Steve Arntson
copyright 2009

D-e-p-o-e Bay
Well, it’s a misspelled place
Unless “Depoe” is French or means more than storage
But no one’s talking no one’s saying
Edgar Allan’s honored
But no one’s scared no one’s anxious
Business is good
It’s summer and crowded
The D River flows and waters the sea
a hundred yards at a time
Later on we’ll know
And know what to make of it
Silence falling out of the geographic word
to an Absolute name
begun like the start of the day
its training wheels barely spinning ’round
First part of a book’s impulse and cry for help for delivery
A depot for Defoe and archive
It is the bay-before-departure’s bathtub
with baby boats and brand-new brains
Tub in the house of Tiny Town
Whose strict constructions
belie the superseding chaos
of coastal funny-faces sounding city names
beginning with “D”
You can almost believe in their brevity
I want you to remember enough just enough
to pronounce the syllables two
that tell of the time there
And remember the tide that came in
as if out of curiosity and obedience
for a word-for-word of morning blessing
Plenty of place despite the crowds
And tamper-proof despite the depot’s shifting
alphabetical being
The deal is:
although THEN there were Indians
and the Taliban is due and certainly TO COME
right now you are safe
and thoroughly astray
in a town
like a vault
of tumblers

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