Poem: Boulevard Park, Bellingham

I wrote this poem in 1996. Around that time I was writing a lot of poetry and doing some readings at Village Books and Stuart’s Coffeehouse in Bellingham, Washington.

Bellingham is midway between Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia. I lived there for 12 years. When I wrote this poem, I was living on South Hill, essentially under Western Washington University, and the sunset in this post was the view from my studio-apartment window overlooking Bellingham Bay—not bad, right?

When I pull out these older poems I’m tempted to work them a little bit — maybe in this one play with pulling “sanity” up, consider using a serial comma in the last line and/or adding a line break after “shores” — but then I leave them alone because they reflect my voice at the time.

In the late 1990s I felt that I read this poem well and, even when I wrote new material, often would finish with it at readings. The one-beat pause at the end of the fourth-to-last line with the missing name and the emotional ending overall made it effective as a spoken work.

I’ve considered reading it aloud and embedding an audio file in the post, but it seems to me it was more a poem for that man to read than this one, alike as we are and aren’t.


Boulevard Park, Bellingham

A year of my life. Price paid for
Last year newly arrived I watched
The Fourth of July fireworks as the people
Having sex under the blanket next to mine
Didn’t notice the children playing next to them
And the children playing next to them didn’t notice
The people having sex under the blanket next to mine.
I noticed everything. It was all I had.

Nothing’s changed.
I come to the park today
And couples make love and children play.
I’m alone. My children, 2 and 5, were never born.
One named, the other not, they run sideways
On the grass under the sun by the bay
As I blow bubbles. Rachel falls again, and
Picks her up, and they begin once more chasing
The bubbles that nestle in grass,
Soar to distant shores and shatter on their unseen fingers.

Sunset over Bellingham Bay, 1996
Sunset over Bellingham Bay, 1996


  1. That is really beautiful and as a moment in time, just like the capture in the photograph, should not be touched now. You were something, even then, Great poem.

    xox jean

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reminds me of a time in Eugene, OR. I too was alone and was observing everything around me. I had not had the life experience you must have had when you wrote this, I love the line, “they run sideways”, as if stuck in a memory, or the desire of a memory, but for 2 and 5 unable to move beyond that memory. Great poem.

    Liked by 1 person

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