If I had a pound for every school trip I saw in DC
I could pay off my student loans before twenty-three.
They must swarm into the city in fledgling waves,
rolling waters flooding the museums day after day.
I’ve never felt as tall as I was when in the Hirshhorn,
standing like a giant amongst them at six foot four.
I was Gulliver, travelling around the National Mall
with the best view of every exhibit along the hall.
The Declaration of Independence was in the archives
it made me think of National Treasure, then bee hives;
Images of Nicholas Cage bleeding into The Wicker Man,
bad remakes plaguing my mind in a foreign land.
Nicholas Cage narrates my trip to White House after
where I ask a Korean woman to take my picture, thank her.
The picture comes out wrong, but I can’t ask her again
so I settle for mediocrity, and end up taking hers instead.
Clouds hover above the house, the wettest spring in years;
I barely notice, skipping local showers for local beers.
When the sun returns I wander around the memorials,
statues to the greats and the nations fallen heroes
Their magic is lost when the tourists infect their dynasty,
swarming locusts trampling feet over flickers of history
On selfies, from his throne Abraham Lincoln glares,
and my guilt comes to full fruition under his stares.
Because I’m no better, and I am the typical tourist,
trying to capture a moment with a picture – can’t resist.
I record videos at gigs, with my arm aloft the throng
I’m blocking enough views already, song after song.
At least I’m not taking any pictures from a segway,
and my hands stay in my in pockets at a Mystics game,
Even when the camera catches a woman dances, deranged
Flailing arms like Wicker Man Nicholas Cage, enraged.
Elsewhere, DC record stores and the famous punk scene –
Home of Fugazi, Bad Brains and Minor Threat inbetween.
I browse Cool Beat Records and look for their LP’s,
which are listed under ‘local bands,’ which is cool to see.
The city is abuzz at night like the scene which is created;
it’s too cool to appear that way, subdued and understated.
It blazes and blurs outside cafe windows in Columbia Heights
fizzing and crackling late into the cool-breeze nights.
I get my first tattoo in DC, after a trip to the national zoo
where I’d had to hide a nosebleed and shut it off in the loo.
I wanted to feel ink there the way I felt Washington there,
under my skin, sinking soothing teeth and pulling hair.
My right arm now bears a lasting memory of the capital,
where I spent six nights and barely slept amongst it all.
It reminds me of balcony views over a settled city at dusk,
of the monument rising in the distance like an ancient tusk.
Washington, May 2016