My favorite Portland bar closed

The Matador on West Burnside. RIP The Matador. It was there for 40 years.

Evidently, two weeks before it closed I wrote this poem which has it as a setting. It really was an inspirational place for me. When I first moved here from NY state 3 years ago The Matador (and to a lesser extent Roadside Attraction and the Know) was my introduction/gateway to PDX culture. New cities can be very lonely places and it felt like a home.

I’ll miss The Matador. Here is the poem:

Kill the Bulls

about a forest of trees

we spin through the woods like kids
in complete safety inventing an old song
like kits who can’t hold hands wearing
new black mittens when mom is
forever gone spinning ‘round and ‘round, tail
chasing beneath the owl, declawed and asleep
about new things to us, bouncing up the tall hills
amongst the gnarled trees like gompers’
knees as though no one is listening
yet they smile at everything.
they know growing up wasn’t
as easy as our songs make it seem to be
but the forest
would be nothing without us
in between, holding hands and singing
new songs about the way the woods used to be.

When we came here from the sea. Or from the Sky or wherever. My father remembered something. And so did my mother.

Kill the Bulls

I’m whirliest
most when i make all honesty
personal & discreet.
as for the show
i fell in love once
in a bar named
for toreros
you know, the big ones
like Lancho and Frascuelo
It’s religious to keep
it a secret. i only speak
while in a red booth
finding a rolly moment,
past the big game hunter and pool tables
where i’ll be, and find
coolness despite the
loud racket of the
basketball bar game
in an uncurled
painting of agility and grace. it’s you
in the mirror, the photobooth, a bull
I think, stole’d from mannequins
with adjustable joints posed as moving,
running past as we sit still
and quietly kill all the bulls