Portland, can be so good good good sometimes. Especially when it’s hot and September is the July you never had, and there’s fruit all over the sidewalks (in spite of freezing frost-spring) and vaux’s swifts make dragon-shapes in the sky and then smoothie into a chimney that’s the only standing hollow old-growth left, at this elevation, anywhere. We built an elementary school of brick and we built a tree. And the swifts were happy, because they had no-where else to go. And my life is a bike trip, I’m cat-sitting farther east than the edges of the known universe, and every day I bike so far and the streets are so cool and there’s a little wind.
Pushing forth, past the reaches of the map in my mind. Paula and I cross the dark unmarked intersections, in the empty night, exhausted from dancing. We’ve got to make it east! I cry, as the road turns unimproved and potholes threaten to smash the tomatoes in my pannier. We’ve got to make it east before dawn! We’ve got to make it over these potholes without hurting the horses! Onward, steel horses! To the New World!
The New World is an apartment with a cat. The cat has two sides. One half of the cat’s face is grey, the other half is orange. The grey half is nice, the orange half is mean. The two cat-halves battle for your attention. The cat’s coat is mottled orange and grey, and as you pet her she twitches, frantic with rage and pleasure, purring and yowling and swiping at your irises, as you rub your hand over her nice grey spots and fierce orange spots simultaneously.
New friends are wonderful. Decadant foodstamp picnics. Dancing even though I’m sleepy, and feeling drunk because of it. Feeling grounded and like I can finally be there for other people again, and remembering how good it feels to pay it all back, to be able to listen, to be the solid one. We all go round and round, we are a swifts blender and gravity is the chimney.
Sleeping late. Eating roast chicken. Reading too much Augusten Burroughs. So much Augusten Burroughs, I feel like I know him. Know him better than I know most people. I am obsessed with him. Reading him so much, absorbing his fearless exhibitionism through my skin, like writing your scandalous tell-all biography before anyone else gets the chance, before anyone wants to, before you’re even dead. Writing ten of them.
And I just wish I had a dehydrator for plums, and I just wish my car didn’t burn oil, and I just wish I had a little more time, and I just wish I could live here in the winter and know that I would still be happy.
I’m taking this show on the road. I’ve bought a cheap digital camera, and as soon as it gets here I’m riding the highline (freight train route across the cold top of the country) towards New York city, to see my dear friend Lark in her Brooklyn home where she makes blown-glass insects and attempts to sculpture the soul of her very being into art made of feathers and apocalyptic pen drawings and bright red, toxic paint. I’m going to take a lot of pictures on my cheap camera and I’m going to write in my 29 cent college-rule notebook I got on back-to-school special while the train rumbles around and I eat almond butter off a dirty spoon. (just kidding. A clean spoon.) I’ll be back in three weeks approximately. I’m actually only doing this so I will have something to write about. Big secret. Not so big.
I used to think that May was my favorite month but now I think it’s September.
Once I quit everything
to walk in the rain
where I met someone else
who had also just quit everything
we found a cave in an oak tree
we found a zucchini growing in an alley, and ate it
And I thought- of course this is how things are