LOCUSPOINT: Olympia, January 31, 2009

Of her newly adopted city, editor Sarah Vap wrote, “I can’t talk about Olympia without talking about all this landscape, these outlying little towns. I can’t talk about Olympia without talking about these two completely different worlds– very metro and very rural.

Olympia itself is pretty. On a clear day, you can see Mount Rainier. It’s got a port on Puget Sound. It has an artesian well where people gather, like in days of yore, to fill their jugs. It’s pretty liberal, it’s got a lot of students, it has a vibrant farmers market and a great little downtown. Olympia is the home of Evergreen State College, one of the most environmentally and educationally progressive public colleges in the country. It is the home of St. Martin’s University, and of several community colleges. It has a couple good independent bookstores. It has the capitol buildings and on the edges, the big box stores.

Olympia is in the rainforest. It has the rain.

And it has, undoubtedly, a million other things I haven’t yet discovered.”

Here’s a poem from that edition by Todd Fredson called “We Huddle Against the Wind”:

We Huddle Against the Wind

My mother holds up a canopy, a leaded sheet,
to deflect that sunlight
leaping from threshold to threshold.

The backside of each ripple bulges
like Savonarola’s
monastic white cell,
its corners bending at the limit
of candlelight. For a second, I am sympathetic—

lust is a sequence of parentheses
with no words between them. Because with white
comes red.

Greedy bloom, kept humble by self-cruelty.

The gray moves us in
and the salmon flash against it like barrels of mica.

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