if there is somewhere to go besides this, then I hope that I never arrive

“I am certain of nothing but the heart’s affections and the truth of the imagination.” -Keats

I wanted to write you a letter, but the typewriter was too loud and the ribbon was faded, although I like the font very much, the way it’s italic, and wonder at a generation whose typewriters wrote only in italics. The most formal documents poetic, the way things must’ve always been.

Like the light of oil lamps.

I went to the woods where there wasn’t any electricity, but instead of rejuvenation I felt only sorrow, and I sat in the sun and ate too many peanut butter cookies, listlessly. At night I could barely sleep, I was so lonely, and I woke in a panic at dawn, the cold forest air pressing down around me, the wind off the highway moving through my mosquito net. I ran, but the road only went uphill, and the neighbor’s ten hundred matted dogs came barking down at me from his junk-cluttered drive, and I had to carry my chihuahua. At the top of the mountain was a vista overlooking westward ridges and golden meadows filled with ticks. I got a rash of poison oak but it doesn’t itch.

At five a.m. on Monday a craigslist ride picked me up at my remote woodland outpost and drove me back to Portland, along with a young, hemp-necklace-wearing couple. Back in the city I felt aching, stinging affection for my modest concrete jungle, the largest concrete jungle that I, as a person without a drinking problem or an aderol addiction, will ever be able to reasonably acclimate to. I’d subletted my apartment for a month and so it feels as though I am on vacation, sleeping in other peoples’ houses. Yesterday I bought a car, a 1981 honda civic hatchback, for six hundred and twenty dollars. The car has no power steering, tiny tires, and sits four inches off the ground. The steering wheel is the size of a dinner plate. It feels like driving a go-cart. I love the car so much, and I’ve only had it for a day. I never thought it was possible to love a car, but I do.

Kinnikinnick, my wheat-colored chihuahua, my tiny tiny, is also relieved to be back in the city. She was bored in California, laying all day in the sun-dried grass, letting the ticks bleed her. While I had Raymond Carver she had only the mysterious sounds of the forest, the smells of the strange animals who snuffled below our treehouse, breaking sticks and leaving scat made of berries. She didn’t know what to make of all of it- were the animals friends? Enemies? Creatures to be hunted? Were they hunting HER? The city makes much more sense to her- cats, dogs, humans. Fenced yards. Boundaries everywhere. Chihuahuas like comfort, they have only modest appetites for adventure.

I wanted to write you a letter but the typewriter was too loud, and now I am so sleepy I can barely type. I wanted to say something about vulnerability, about portals to the center of the earth. I wanted to write you a lullaby for anxious hearts, I wanted to show you, somehow, the cyclical nature of time, the way that there’s nothing to fear because there’s nowhere to go- just right here, where we are. I wanted to write you so many things, but instead I’ve got to go to sleep because I’m so sleepy, and so I’ll write you a musical in my dreams, and there’ll be snow in it, and lots of gold fabric, and men in deer costumes will sing Hildegard Von Bingen’s medieval choir music, and it will be so beautiful and nostalgic that you’ll cry.

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