water, dreams, cupcakes, the ocean floor

My dreams have been so magnificent lately.

Picture this: It is the end of the world. The lowlands are filled with clear water. All you clothing is red. It’s warm, and someone is coming after you. You have to swim. You have to hide. You have to cross narrow trestles that glisten in the moonlight. The sky is empty and black. All the plants are green. Quickly! Someone is following you, and you’re not afraid. You’re excited. This is what you’ve been waiting for, for years. This is what you’ve been waiting for. To run, to hide.

You climb aboard a freight train. You’re bound and dumped onto a freight train. You wake up from a groggy sleep, on a freight train. The train is like no freight train you have every been on. It is a ghost freight train, dark. The only thing shining is the tracks. The cars are low and made of rough, rusted steel. The train is endless, going on forever. The train is narrow, you must hold on. The train moves slowly through the secret night. This train is going to the moon.

It’s the end of the world again. You have to swim. You’re wearing a heavy pack and you sink, but you’re a good swimmer and you reach the surface and clutch the grass, the railroad tracks. The water is cold and black like tea. Now there are sharks, and waves crashing against a steep concrete slope. You’re in the ocean. You’ve lost your small boat, in which you’d moved beneath the moon.

You wake up. It’s late. The sun is out. Corinne has also dreamt of sharks.

I love my dreams.

Here’s something I wrote a few weeks ago, but didn’t post, because I thought there wasn’t any yearning in it.
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It’s not very cold outside
and my woodstove is strong
the earth has gone wet, and black,
each year’s tragedy
we fall into mourning
for this:
the flaming leaves, the dark that hurts our eyes
wet and black
I don’t want to go anywhere, anymore. I just want to go inside myself, and other people. It feels like the time to look and see what others have been doing: wintertime.

on the internet there are images
of the Caribbean
and beneath the warm blue waters
there are gray concrete sculptures of people
ordinary people
and on their faces grows coral
the color of strawberry milkshake
and where their hair ornaments would be
are bottle-brushes of white
and from their shoulders burst turquoise plants, arrogant and brave
it is what it would look like
if history ended
it is what it would look like
if people didn’t matter
if all that mattered
was the way a woman’s nose was shaped
and the way the light looked
on the loose sand of the ocean floor

I do not much like this poem
or whatever it is that I am writing
I have no yearning, right now
I want nothing
not even chocolate cupcakes or a knee-high, snow white dog, dripping wet
that would find me in the forest, lost and enchanted
and I would take her home and we would dance around, in front of the woodstove, and then she would sleep, and I would touch her forehead gently
If I have no yearning, how can I write? I am fed, warm, have good soft lighting, sleep well. There are pleasurable things in the world- junk shops, free books, sausage, coconut soup. I am not curled under a thorn bush in Arizona, dying of loneliness, listening to the crickets, waiting for sunrise.
I cannot wait to write about all of that.

The Lake

you have so many freckles
and your skin smells like chocolate.
Last month it smelled like oregano and coffee, but now you smell like chocolate
milk chocolate
like milk chocolate dust
hot chocolate powder
eaten by the spoonful
dipped in water
licked.

You are perfect. You do not think that you are perfect because you have imperfections. But your imperfections are perfect, too. You are as beautiful as an heirloom tomato or a delicata squash or a speckled egg. I do not mean perfect like a red delicious apple because perfect like this does not exist. If you bite into a red delicious apple you will know it is fake- your teeth will break off, because it is made of plaster. All red delicious apples are made of plaster, and waxed to make them shine, and sold to children in school cafeterias who break their teeth off and cry, and swear to never eat another plant.

Your body is a lake, and I want to live there. Your body is a perfect lake. It has a ragged edge and clear waters, and the sky is filled with stars. I have a small wooden skiff that I push out onto the lake. I’ve brought some Brussels sprouts cooked in bacon grease and I lay in the skiff and watch the stars and eat the small brassicas and feel the water rock me. I drop the Brussels sprouts into the water for the fish to eat. The lake smells like wet leaves and tannins and something that quenches thirst. The ducks are sleeping with their ducklings. I’ll live here, in this lake that is your body. I’ll build a cabin on its shores. I’ll visit the cabin every day and sit on a stump and feel the winds from the forest. I’ll breathe in and out. My thoughts will empty, and instead there will be the music of small bells ringing. The sun will be setting and I’ll touch the grasses, the smooth rocks, the water. The trees made you and you are a lake.

I am broken, I am failing. I am weak, I am small. I am not strong. I feel heavy. Things happen for no reason. The more I try and understand them, the farther away they get. Weather, feelings, tornadoes in my organs. I look inside myself for answers but there are only riddles, mysteries, the metaphors of life. I want to ask you, can’t we live in your body, where it is always calm and there are no words. Your body is like the trees, I want to stay there, safe.

I miss the forest. I miss the forest so bad. I miss the slow ways the boughs of the trees move against the sky and I miss the way the trampled needles feel soft under my feet but most of all, I miss the air. I miss what is in the air, the breath of all the plants, the respirations of the leaves and mosses, the indescribable smell. The oxygen. The intangible, living spirit. I think, these December days, of the winter I lived in a yurt on the Olympic peninsula. I had a winter garden of kale plants and sometimes it would snow. The yurt was un-insulated, and the firebox of my woodstove was small. I had a dull ax and a crooked chopping block. I was mostly by myself. At night I had the stars for friends and would hear the elk huff, just outside the circle of my porchlight. I was incredibly lonely and ecstatically alive. I would run on hard dirt logging roads and sing, waving my hands in the air. I would try to track coyotes.

This winter is not that winter. This winter I have love, companionship, the city, and a better woodstove. The city feeds me in some ways too but it also confuses me. I understand the forest better, its clear relationships, its abundances and scarcities. I do not understand the city. I do not understand what I am supposed to love and what I am supposed to despise. And I don’t know how to hate it without also hating myself. I want to run from it, but I cannot. But you are made from the forest. If I put my ear to you it is like listening to a seashell to hear the ocean. You have the forest inside you, and the teawater of lakes, and the sound of wind chimes, and wind blowing through grasses. You have the fish and the sky. The small flowers that take seven years to bloom. You have all the magic hidden inside of you, and I know I have it too. But I cannot feel it so I want to ask you, can we just live in your body, because you are ringing stronger than anything, you are a bell ringing in this matrix of rock and dust, you are a bell ringing in the electric night, ringing and ringing and ringing, you are the forest.

Look! I wrote something!

My chemistry homework makes an appearance, as does North Dakota.

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S A D

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It has gotten cold here, sometimes
sometimes it is not cold, but the air is filled with water like someone is misting us
like we are fragile plants that need misting
It has gotten sometimes cold but dark
dark, dark, dark
I do not know where I am
that it is so dark out
where have the trees gone? the sky? the road?
my eyes hurt from non-light
six o’clock feels like ten p.m.
I do not know what to do with this.
I have gone to the gym,
I watched TV on the elliptical trainer.
I do not like the gym.
when I was younger, I rode my bike through the dark, mist stinging my face, grimacing in pain.
I was fearless and brave.
when the ride was over I do not remember how I felt. Transcendent, like I had gone through the oracles and not been shot with laser eyes,
or just cold and wet and miserable, reminded that life is suffering.
My ears painfully red
the leather of my shoes damp
my bicycle rusted.
Now it is dark and I research light-therapy lamps on the internet
with 10,000 Kelvin bulbs
and it doesn’t make me feel any better.
I want to fold up into myself, I want to go blind. I want to find a giant puppy, eviscerate it, and climb inside for heat. I want to drop out of college and go somewhere colder but brighter, like North Dakota. I would have no friends. Friends and light frequently shift on the antique brass scales of my heart.
The country is like a periodic table, light increasing as you go east. I am the element Lithium. I am Oregon. North Dakota is a transition metal and Alaska is a noble gas. I want to go to one of the places that has not been discovered yet, Sunny Ununtrium where the ecosystems are still intact and no-one believes in science. The people who live there talk with their hands and use their voices only for singing. They live in huts thatched with palm fronds and eat coconuts and raw sea-beast. There are giant spiders. But would that really be any different than riding the lightrail downtown, bathed in fluorescent lights and off-gassing plastic? And off-gassing people, who don’t eat any vegetables, who wear too many layers and live in dark, moldy houses. These people have nothing but at least there are cats for them, cats they can feed dry kibble made from the bodies of euthanized shelter animals. Mostly euthanized pit bulls.

I want something exciting to happen. Something really big, like an explosion. Maybe the earth will crash into the sun and all of our molecular bits will dissolve into everything, heat and light and then infinite, infinite cold. I’m not sure if that is better than the park outside my school, where the pumpkin-orange of the maples clashes so well with the grey, grey, sky, and the mist that makes an infinite continuum of the sky. The sky falling down all around us, sifting down, permeating matter and dissolving the trampled leaves. There is beauty here, but there is not light. It is so still it makes me tired. I want to freeze in place on the bricks where I sit until I become a stone and can talk with the trees. We’ll look down at all the people and the bright white glass of the buildings and we won’t think anything.

I WANT


I want to bust you out of the city. I want to steal a car and drive up I-5 as fast as I can go. A nice car, a solid box, a bubble-pod, a car that smells like vinyl, nothing of the forest, a euphoric comfort machine. Stolen. What better thing to steal, than a car?

A stolen car and a suitcase full of money, to pay for all the gas. I’ll find the suitcase under some tumbled rocks on the mountain-top, underneath a giant Alaskan yellow-cedar of record diameter. A suitcase full of money and a car. The seas are filling with oil, the world is ending, who cares. This is no time to be pretending to know how to bake bread. This is no time for routine. This is no time for patience, for tolerance. This is no time to love the land of here below.

I’ll pick you up in my new car and then we can go anywhere. First, we’ll chase the sun. For moral. We’ll bust out of the rain cloud that clings to the cascade mountains and drive east into the summertime. It’s so bright out there that we’ll get suntans on our feet in the shape of flip-flops, even while driving. No more getting cheated out of summertime. No more pretending to know how to bake bread.

I never want to learn how to really bake bread. How to give an egg wash, sprinkle the loaves with seeds, mist the ovens with water to make a nice crust. I want to burn all bread loaves. Next, I want to burn all gluten-free bread loaves. I want to burn all pizzas. I want to burn the word PIZZA. As soon as I’m out of the rain cloud this feeling will pass. I’ll have my feet up on the dash, in flip-flops. Bread loaves can live. Bread loaves make a pleasing smell, sandwiches are sometimes interesting to assemble. Anything can go in them. Absolutely anything.

I’ve got you in the car with me and we’re busting out. Routine does not need us. School in the fall can Eat a Dick. Being far apart from each other is unnecessary. Missing your freckles come out, one by one, in the springtime, and seeing them only in bunches now and then, for a night or two, tears my heart apart. Now I’ve got you till the money runs out or we get sick of each other, whichever comes first. You’re wary of my plan, my stolen car, my mercurial wanderlust, but then I tell you that I’ll pay for your art school so you don’t have to spend your savings, and you feel better.

We go to North Dakota, because it is far from everything and not overdone. There’s an abandoned ranch, the grass waist-high. The wind blows ferociously, and sucks the moisture from our lips. The old house tips into the earth, but there is no mold anywhere. All the rooms are filled with light. The paint is peeling, and paint chips get in everything. I have a small gas generator for electricity. You’ve brought a good table and enough coffee to fuel a mild obsession.

All we do is fuck and work. We wake at dawn and run, without time pieces, down the pitted dirt road that goes through the grass. We can see the horizon in front of us, and I think of Laura Ingalls Wilder and her bareback ponies.

We run until we are exhausted, farther every day. There’s a stream to jump into, clear, with wildflowers. We bathe in the stream and then make breakfast out of things from our garden. We’ve cleared an overgrown patch of yard for our garden. It has volunteer watermelons and chicken bones in the dry soil. An old compost pile. We’ve got chickens. We eat and then I push you over into the grass and take off your clothes. We lay in the sun and bake. Then we crawl into the shade to fuck, because I am intolerant of the heat.

After fucking, we do not know what time it is. It doesn’t matter. We stumble, barefoot, into the house, leaving our breakfast dishes in the grass, and begin to work, you at your table and me at my computer. When we get hungry we eat from the big pot of food on the stove. Simple things, mung beans and brassicas and bone broth. Wild potherbs. Bacon.

When the sun sets we stop working, for we have no electric lights, and if we tried to work by oil-lamp we would go blind. The oil lamps hiss and we lay on the warm boards of the deck and watch the stars come out. I’ve got a banjo, and you’ve learned to play the thumb piano. Our hair is wild. We have no mirrors. It doesn’t matter, because we know how beautiful we are. We fuck again. All day, when we are taking breaks, moments of staring out the window at the tall grass, and the wind, we are thinking of new ways to fuck. Ways to fuck that no-one has ever done before. Fucking as improv, as spirituality, as ritual. Fucking that pushes our limits, our pain tolerance, our love for one another. Fucking that doesn’t try to be anything at all. Sometimes I read outloud to you from Little House on the Prairie while you masturbate. Sometimes I try and make myself come just by breathing and watching the clouds.

Frequently your coffee consumption keeps you from sleeping. These nights you sit up in bed and blind-contour draw my chin as seen in the moonlight. During the day you nap, and I write you love letters because I miss you, and feel my infinite smallness, all alone on the plain. I am like Ma in the dugout, when Pa has gone away to find work back east, and the blizzards will not stop coming. Only Ma was infinitely more patient than I am, because she never had the internet. Eventually you wake up, and find that I’ve taken off your clothes and tied you to the bed with some rope I’ve found in a broken-down stable. I’ve rubbed you all over with oil and placed warm stones along your spine. I’ve made constellations of your freckles with one of your shoplifted drawing pens. I’ve made you come seventeen times, in your sleep. You’ve had the strangest dreams, and you’re flushed.

Summer gets old and dried-up, and we run out of salve for our lips. We’ve eaten the twenty-pound sack of mung beans and are down to the bottom of our barrel of salt-pork. The wild pot-herbs have gone to seed and we’ve eaten all the watermelons. One day I wake up and want to read the news. You’ve been reading it on the sly for many months, and tell it to me in one long narrative there in bed, propped on your pillows, talking with your hands. I work in some magical realism to put the world back together, like an emulsifier. The seas are still filling with oil, there is still nothing I can do. The sun from the window is resting on your perfect tits, which have exploded in freckles. I pull the suitcase of money from under the bed. It’s empty. We haven’t grown sick of each other.

What to do next? Get married? There is nowhere else to run. North Dakota was the last place. You furrow your brow. You are both worried and excited by my mercurial wanderlust. Your hands are neat and square, the blue of your eyes has faded from the sun. I do not know what to do with you. Maybe I was exposed to too much lead as a child. All those peeling low-income apartment complexes. The lead weights in window dressings. Lead affects the part of the brain that determines impulsiveness, and one’s ability to learn from one’s mistakes. I flop back down on the sheets, and whine like a puppy. The sheets are thin and soft, like my grandmother’s sheets. They have small simple flowers on them. The sheets make me want to have sex, and sleep. They fill me with infinite peace, like my grandmother’s house, with its hardwood floors and chiming grandfather clock.

We don’t have money for gas, so we leave the car at the house, at the end of the long pitted dirt road. We use some of your savings to mail your art and art supplies and my computer back home, to the raincloud. Then we walk. It’s fall, and the wind blows drier than ever. I have a mason jar of water and a cucumber, and my banjo. We’re barefoot. Our jean-shorts are torn. My tye-dye shirt is faded and thin. Around my neck are rainbow freedom rings, and they glint painfully in the sun.

When we get to the small paved highway we’re so hot we almost pass out. A woman with air conditioning picks us up. She’s unhappy, so I give her my banjo. She rambles when she talks, and offers us diet sodas. You’re allergic to diet soda so to protect you I dump yours out the window when she isn’t looking. In this way you know that I love you, and that I Pay Attention. The woman is so excited by our energy that she calls her husband and breaks up with him, and then drives us to Oregon. She throws her shoes out the window, and after dropping us off in the raincloud she moves to a small beach town, and opens up a shop selling bath oils and gluten-free cinnamon rolls. She’s reached the end of her personal evolution and lives there, happily, until her death.

My problem is that I fear that I will never reach the end of my personal evolution. Back home, we both get jobs somehow, even though the world is ending and capitalism is becoming irrelevant. It feels good, to have routine. It’s much easier to pretend to know how to bake bread than to think. The wild part of me goes to sleep and I lose my suntan. The rains come back and we both have allergies. We don’t worry about what the next part will be because we both know that one day, the day will come when we won’t have to figure out the next part, that the next part will come for us, over the mountains in a tidal wave, and we’ll never have to think again.

d e e p t h o u g h t s i n b e a u t i f u l i d a h o

Rural Idaho is big, rural idaho is lonely. Being in rural idaho with one other person does not keep the loneliness away- it holds it back, for hours at a time, the way a campfire holds back the dark- but then, walking in the mountains, the feeling returns- and it is not even loneliness, really, but a feeling of inadequacy- a feeling that I do not even exist, a feeling that I am tethered to nothing, adrift, alone in space- it is a hunger for a validation that the universe can not, does not provide. And really, isn’t that the point? That no-one asks us to live and yet we do it anyway, that we wake each morning, determined, in spite of our stark solitude in this cold and endless universe, that we work towards some uncertain future, and we do it without thanks or encouragement. Making art, in particular, setting aside a month of time to just make art, seems to make one feel this way. You must come to terms, each day, when the stars pale and the sun rises, with the fact that you are small, so infinitesimally small as to be insignificant, and yet it is enormously important that you continue to exist. And it is the great joke of the universe that no-one can tell you why.

But! I am writing again, and it feels easy again, and such is the mystery of making art. And Idaho is beautiful, and here are the pictures to prove it. They are all of myself, Corinne, or Nature, because it is just the three of us out here, alone in the promised land.


the wildz

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the good life #1: gluten-free fried chicken

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corinne

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corinne outside the junkshop in town

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the good life #2: our breakfasts are even better than our dinners

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an abandoned farmhouse from 1911- newspaper and cloth insulation (photo by corinne)

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fancy wallpaper over log walls (photo by corinne)

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beautiful grass and sunshine. so beautiful! (photo by corinne)

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newspaper on the logs- good times stories, june 1911 (corinne’s photo)

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scrabble in the cave-cabin (it may look like my hands are moving fast, but I am actually the slowest scrabble player this side of the Columbia) (corinne took this photo)

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corinne in the cave cabin

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corinne and mighty-man, the resident pony

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corinne in our backyard

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corinne and Hallie, the sweetest pitbull in the world, cuddling in front of the woodstove

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the good life #3: these hotsprings are three miles from the house

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the good life #4: eating buffalo jerky in the hotsprings

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the good life #5: getting buff in the sunshine

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yours truly, having deep thoughts on a mountaintop

the most generous person in the world, loggers who blog, and our ragtag bag of orphans

Today is the last day of my antibiotics. This week has been a whirlwind of nausea, weakness, fatigue, and socializing. Tomorrow it is all over, my colon is now a dead zone, and I promise never, ever to swallow lakewater while swimming, ever again.

But! This weekend the most generous person in the world had a birthday, and we went to the woods to celebrate. We were a ragged band of orphans- rag-pickers and matchstick-counters, and we went running on the forest paths, and ate steamed mussels and bacon, and spilt soup on the deck for the raccoons. We turned up the heat too high and played travel scrabble with microscopic tiles and read poetry aloud, and ate cake, and figured out what the internet is, and that the only viable jobs of the future will be the mail carriers and the web designers- those who make the internet, and those who move three-dimensional objects through space. And loggers who blog. Because packages must come wrapped in paper, afterall.

I also had the most wonderful reading last week- really transcendental, actually, and I am still processing it- the entire city showed up to hear the four of us read about losing our virginity, eating disorders, grandma’s time in Auschwitz, and schizophrenic mothers, respectively. The entire city listened, rapt, as we read, and cried. And afterwards they wrote down their deepest fears and secrets on small scraps of paper and we read them aloud into the microphone, in front of god and everyone, and the people were set free. And a rainbow grew out of the west and stretched over all of Portland, and although it was night, and the rainbow couldn’t be seen, it could be felt, like a change of air pressure. And nothing was ever the same again.

I love my life. How is any of this possible? It is not just me, making the magic, It is you. It is you!

Thank you!

taking you for granted

it is your hands that I worry about the most. They are so quiet, resting there at the ends of your arms. But if you look they are fantastically beautiful- the shape your fingers make, together, is almost perfectly square, and your skin is so light, and covered in so many small brown spots- freckles. I lose sleep over your small brown spots- there are so many of them, and each one is different- and each one has its own coastline, wavy and irregular, and then there is the space between your freckles, as well, which is a shape of unfathomable complexity. I am afraid that there will never be enough time to memorize all of this. You were made with such an eye for detail. You are too intricate, like lace. What to do?

at this late hour

I am awake. Is it because I am a hedonist? Is it because I am in love? Is it because I want to live forever?

Is it because I have become addicted, in the last 48 hours, to facebook scrabble?

No, my love has gone to bed on her turn, stuffed up with a headcold. So it can’t be that.

I have not been writing much blog this month. I have been doing other things! Like applying for jobs, applying for school, applying for financial aid, and making zines- all of which involve frying my brain on the computer, or, as I call it now, the “scrabble box”. Three weeks ago I hated scrabble. HATED it. Now I am learning (and somewhat compulsively) to play like a champ from Corinne the sneaky scrabble master, who has no respect for “real words”, aka English words that you and I, as native English speakers, would know the meanings of. And it has enriched me. Just in the last two days I have learned that Qi, En, Ai, Nixe, Kor, Hights and Rato are all words. What more useful information is that? The interesting things is that I do not know what any of these words MEAN, only that they EXIST. What would we do if civilization were to crumble, and the only building left standing was the one that housed the unsold scrabble dictionaries? Our language would evolve into a dialectic of obscure scrabble words. Oh Rato, you exist! Somewhere out in the universe, you are! Unknown word! Rare, previously unknown combination of letters! I will forge strange sentences from you. Nixe! Kor! Hights! Ai! Ai! Ai!

Some plausible definitions-

Kor- ventral muscles.

Hights- manic nights.

Rato- gluten-free ravioli, made from rice pasta. more delicious than its wheaty cousin. traditionally stuffed with sheep’s cheese and zucchini.

What about Nixe? I cannot think of anything for that one. Ideas? I am going to sleep. I have more zines to make in the morning, because you have bought them all. I love you! I do not even know you. Thank you!

And if you are in the mood for imagining more, at this late hour, there is this site, which was brought to my attention by a reader, and is beautiful and inspiring and uncomplicated. And maintained by a young man who sailed to the Dominican Republic with some friends of mine, in a derelict yacht, and made a little documentary about it, which you can see on the site. Fantasy travel! To build a boat and sail! To where? I do not even like the ocean. I get seasick. And then there is the issue of gravity.

To bed!

Today

I met T-brid at the co-op in southeast. I ate a chocolate-covered pecan from the bulk bins, an energy nug, and an anemic gluten-free cookie that had unpleasant, uncooked millet in it, and which attempted to fly on the strength of its dried cherries alone. We walked to T-brid’s shack. She carried a chainsaw in one hand, an umbrella in the other. She had to pause and tell everyone she met on the street why she was carrying the chainsaw. There were a lot of people about, wearing nappy wool and unkempt hair. Southeast has its own population of people, they are not the same ones you see in northeast. They are handy and environmentally minded, they go on hikes and build cob benches in their yards. The northeast is populated with fierce hipsters who fight each other for barista jobs. Burnside keeps the two demographics separated, like the waters of a strong river.

T-brid and I walked past the brooklyn trainyard and down into the swampy, frog-infested woods of oak’s bottom. We saw two great blue herons (my grandmother! Said t-brid, as one flew out over the Willamette), a white egret, two flocks of starlings and a flock of redwing blackbirds. T-brid is a birder, she can recognize the flocks by sound. The cacophony of springtime! Clustered on the electric wires. I know it is spring. The mosquitoes have returned, the frogs, the spiders. The spiders have come home to my shack! I woke up on Tuesday with a spider bite on my left cheek, the first of the year.

We reached the eroded edge of the woods and stared at the flat water of the river, slow and steadily moving. The sky was dimming and the lights on the west hills blinked on, warm-looking homes, overly large. I told T-brid that I wished I had a wooden skiff, with oars, that I might paddle my way home. The walk had made me tired, and I didn’t want to bike. The skiff would have an oil lantern on a tall metal pole, and I would call out as I rowed, and there would be mist along the water. And in the stern of my ship would be a flag of such height that all six of the bridges would have to go up for me, on my way home, like they did for the barges. Ross Island, Hawthorne, Morrison, Burnside, Broadway, Steel. T-brid offered to be the lighthouse on the bank, with a tea-light in a glass lantern.

I had no boat, I biked home, in the dark. It did not rain. The hills seemed extra long. At home my housemate and I talked about what junk foods we ate as kids- whether we drank whole or skim milk, and what sugar cereal was our favorite. I fixed myself a bowl of salad, and Brussels sprouts, and leftover curry, and rice casserole that my housemate made that had zucchini in it, and sausage, and almonds. I ate too much. There was a bag of milk chocolate sitting on the table, and I ate some of that too. “I miss ice-cream,” I said to my housemate. “Bacon tries to be my best friend, and it’s good that ice-cream and I aren’t together anymore, but I miss it.” There is nothing like ice-cream. Nothing in the whole world! It makes my bones ache from missing. Instead, my housemate offered me use of her kayak, sitting in the side yard among the blackberry brambles. “It doesn’t have a rudder, tho,” she said. “so it’s kind of hard to steer.” I imagined myself paddling down the Willamette in big circles, leaning left, leaning right, my lantern swinging crazily on its long pole, my tall flag swiping starlings from the sky. My dreams have been filled with water lately, my imagination with boats. If I am to stay in Portland for forever then I see no reason why I should not get a water craft of some kind, for free somewhere. An old skiff, a canoe. I can take it to Ross Island and build a treehouse there. Or perhaps I will only imagine my boat, and the things my boat and I would do, which is almost nearly just about as good.

(also, not to be discounted, is this- perhaps the most important piece of writing on the entire web.)

The fastest six days that ever did pass

I looked at this thing and saw that I hadn’t posted in six days. That never used to happen. I don’t know how fast time passes right now, I don’t have any way to measure these things, but I know that it passes swiftly and cleanly, like a little bird diving through the air, and there isn’t any friction at all, and then it’s just gone, like the way money can just be gone when you spend it without paying any attention. Last night in your bed I was trying to think of the way I used to describe that phenomenon, the phenomenon of time changing speeds in different contexts, but I couldn’t remember the word. I only know that some things are fast like a hummingbird is fast, and some things are slow like a tree is slow, and other things are somewhere in the middle. And you are fast like a hummingbird, and I am slow like a tree. And you told me that the latin root of your name means hummingbird. And we were both so tired but in a funny, laughing way and not in a weary, sad way, and you were leaving at four a.m., and I was driving you to the airport in your cluttered station wagon with the headlight out so I have to drive with the brights on, but it’s an old car so the brights just seem like regular headlights. And I lay on your bed as you packed, watching you stuff ten hundred t-shirts into your bag, and feeling a sort of endless curiosity towards you, like I wanted to turn you over and inspect you, figure you out like a little mechanical toy. And your fastness and my slowness, like two separate currents in a stream- yours high and rippling and filled with fractured light, and twigs and leaves, and movement, and little water striders and the broken reflection of the plants along the streambank. And mine is down deeper, slower, like cold honey pouring from a mason jar, or the otherworldly flowing of glaciers down a mountain’s face, or window-glass rippling downward, being liquid. Or like a tree, which speaks only one kind of truth over hundreds of years, and doesn’t bother with the intricacy of seconds. And you! You are a metronome of seconds, the intricacy of all the forest’s creatures, the static and drama of life. Dear lover! If we were shapes over time I would be the grand canyon, and you would be the infinite minutia of the night sky. I would be the pounding of niagara falls and you would be a sunset full of mayflies, blinking into being every second, and living furiously, and dying, and then doing it all again.

But that is not what I set out to describe! I only wanted to tell about you, in your sweatpants, arms swathed in freckles, hands square, fingernails neat, folding t-shirts, packing. And me on your bed, surrounded by unread books, so firmly stuck in the present I may have just been born. And each time I see your face, I am surprised. You exist! You exist!