Running through the mud, laughing like a feral forest child with no concept of language. My body, the only means of communication, flying down Macleay creek trail, passing the Witch’s House. I swear I float above the trail. Then on Wildwood, even the sounds of the shipyards can’t humble my magic. I am the mud, the fern, the bobcat, the pygmy owl, hunter of twilight, snapping, gulping foggy sunbeams poking their shadows between slender conifers. I look to my skin to see if it’s on fire. There aren’t flames, at least the kind one can see. And it does not burn in the sense of pain, but from inside me.
Dragging my untied shoes in Sunnyside, my feet like claws on the pavement. Closing the car door, running shoes dangling from my hand, they are stuffed with a couple of twenties, debit card, license, house keys. My limbs ache for a shower and a beer. Kids from the school pass by, laugh. My body, the only means of communication, hands, red, wrinkled, veins and arteries…caked mud on my knees. I am the transient, the poor, a beggar, schizo. The sun is a fool and a lover. I look to my skin to see if it’s on fire. Ashy. The kids aim their cellphones at me.
There’s a quietness about the river
broken by a random leap, splash of steelheads.
a prairie hawk loses a feather.
The natives drink a loud liquor
on their fishing platforms, dip nets
looking for fish who choose
to become parts of ceremonies.
The valley refracts strong light
that moves with the quiet.
Hills are made of dead gold,
skeleton orchards, lost spirit guides.
Bear scat litters small pastures
where the river overruns its banks,
forming shallow pools.
I’m cautious like a fool and listen.
The sun sets earlier here.
I knew that going in
I’m searching for rain or shadows
They only last for a short period.
My phone drops, small echo
Black screen on slick green moss
I yell for some reason
Maybe to prove I can make a sound
The sun throbs red…west…hovers
next to the peak of Mt. Hood.
Highway 14 yanks at me with its noise
where occasional deer lie still
on the shoulder of its pavement,
small trickle of blood in their teeth.
Dusk is as good as night here.
This warm winter makes the creek scream like spring.
I dip my hand in, as far in as my long sleeves let me
Smooth stones, slick, cold life, years in my hands.
My fragile blood beats, knows the water by heart.
It’s good to be wary of the speed of the current
where it licks up upon the shore, sure feet are never a given.
It can bite you, gently, or with unforgiving teeth.
Its noise covers all voices, who’ve come beyond the falls
I head for snow level, it’s high for this time of the year.
Pine needles dot its surface like a mild sprinkling of spice.
Towhees, ravens, and buntings call with haunting songs
An echo between their voices, moves with the forest, downhill.
There, below, near the river and I-84, the creek is a maiden jumping.
Thousands of selfies, one tripod, a few point and shoots
attempt to catch her in the act of hitting the ground.
She refuses to pose.
Late, Christmas night, wandering past your home.
I see your face in the window, warm, buried in your phone, your lamps glow
There’s a fuzziness about your image
The trees, their winter arms angling for musty sky, starless.
The atmosphere’s full of their limbs, in your yard and everyone else’s,
black against the city’s sky, a silent collage
My hands wear soft gloves, wool, cotton, and oil, stretch to fit
move in the new climate’s coolness, a different kind of clear.
I’ve forgotten how many times I’ve touched bark, I take off one glove to text someone.
My boots can’t walk quietly through all these streets, so much pavement
as if we’re knocking down mountains exchanging them for vast networks of streets.
Your home, just one of many quiet ones, mostly dark.
Car tires sound like sticky tape peeled off a rough surface,
slide like sludge past your home, carrying kids with new Christmas presents.
I see their faces through the window, warm, aglow, buried into phones.
I wave to you as I walk by. You politely wave back.
We resume texting.
Her arm, a light porcelain, marbled with a series of veins and arteries. Sometimes she thinks she’s cold, a stone. She takes a sacred bath, a bit too warm for many, candles burning messages into her sweat, to see through the cold, if she wants to. She knows that spheres from the furthest reaches are born from heat, sandwiched inside a cold vacuum. Our sun maybe different. No one knows for sure, it plays pranks on us. Fires look the same but are built of independent flames. Words are there and she wonders if they’re written or spoken, both? Thamus listens to her and will never forget her. Thoth writes her notes down in secret. Neither are good students of love.
I touch her arm, press lightly and gaze at the indents I make.
(Prairie falcon feather. Image taken where it was found. Click to enlarge.)
There are mild spots between winter’s beating of grayness
Where breaths, in ease, are breathed…gloves are placed in pockets or lost on streets of snow
Mixed in that scattered brown batter of orphaned leaves.
The sun appears as a stranger, speaking a forgotten tongue, yet familiar tone
Trying to place a lull on the ceaseless movement of cars slicing through premature melt
Inviting the city to meditate between weather systems.
Only the north wind, that magician, retains a fierce spell, stinging lips of a spring kisser…
Who…hushed…awaits the requite of warmth.