Brian Russell


This is the way we love. She said,
if there were more than one moon I wouldn't know
                                             what to do or where to begin.

If the fog never lifts, the city's still
                    there. She said, some things only know

one way to hide. This is the way we love,

                                                        she said, with a shotgun
under the bed. Under your skin the bone is setting.

And her hand smoothed the skin.
                                           And her hand set the bone.



When traffic's low,
the sound of the Gulf washes up to the windows.

Our machines drill the floor
                         below the roof of the bay. In silence—
the only way violence knows how to build a room.

If geology has taught us anything,
someday we'll make our way back to the ocean,
                                      bruised and out of questions.

Light brings old cars
and old accidents. Construction funnels them
into one lane:
                             morning's fill of red eyes
and drills. Slow, they say,
so the eye doesn't notice the change.

                              What must baffle everyone—how,
above water, gulls see past themselves and still
take what they want.




"Shotgun Under the Bed" is a kind of Frankenstein of rejected lines from previous poems I've written, which just needed a little stitching and some electricity. Or, for a more contemporary analogy, it is like the deleted scenes from the unrated version of the dvd. "Bay Town Variations" is me doing my part for the environment. Keep your head up, environment.