The Fourth of July Parade

The Fourth of July Parade 
Manzanita, Oregon 

We swing our pick-up truck into the library lot,
   and settle in the truck bed, kingpins on folding chairs. 	
There’s a husky in a red-and-white bandana
and a bloodhound with a Statue of Liberty crown.
Sweating, paunchy men wear goofy hats.
Aging women in sparkles guard igloo coolers.

	I want a kazoo band. 

Parades are not free-form. There’s rules. 
Don’t throw candy at children;
it lures them into the street.
Clean up behind horses. 	

	Pony up a five-dollar donation to enter.

A private plane buzzes Laneda Avenue.
Boy Scouts show the colors. Some veterans walk.
The float for veterans has four empty seats.
A Patriot Guardsman roars his Harley.
Manzanita’s Citizens of the Year
precede the Mayor. 
Fire & Rescue tows a trailer 
of jet skis and boogie boards. 	

         It’s off!
Big Wigs. Jabez Cleveland, my ancestor, a fifer, 
died in the American Revolution. 
What did Lao Tzu mean,
“Rule a big country the way you cook a small fish”? 

The marching band plays 
Yankee Doodle Dandy.
And riding in on a pony 
is the Tillamook Rodeo Queen. 
Then Juliette, Miss Fourth of July. 	

	Clean up behind her bay mare.

Grass is for Animals  –  the Elks drug awareness truck sign.
Living Local and the Tillamook County Jersey Princess.
Imagine No Malaria on a lone walker. 	

         I vote for the eight maids
 	a-pushing book carts from the Tillamook Library.

Eight men with sunglasses and black suits 
patrol beside a black convertible carrying a man 
wearing an Obama mask. 
	
	 My first glance? Morticians.

Three Chinese dragons.
A drill team twirls dragon boat oars.	

          The only Chinese restaurant here went broke years ago. 

A man on a tall unicycle. 
A gaggle of girls carrying white umbrellas trailing
white streamers. 	. 
    
          A simple costume. Moon jellies.

A young girl in a motorized wheelchair 
with her panting yellow lab companion. 	

          She made my parade.

People who clean the street follow 
those who came before. 

	 Lao Tzu: “Good walkers leave no tracks.”
         Around the all-one earth clouds scud. 
         Here, isolated patches of cumulus cold-float 
         over interconnected seas visible from the moon. 

For free: sunburn. 

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