Lost City

The streets have no direction, no destination. They wind back into themselves, while they take her… somewhere… she’s never been. She looks at a map of the city, it would appear to be simple, small, within a defined space.

On the streets is a different story. They defy the map.

She places her hands on the streets, whether they’re dirty, wet with rain, cold with snow. She was born with soft hands, the kind that can feel things. Or so she thinks.

The city doesn’t talk to those who just pet its fur. These streets run like veins, getting lost is a new way of being found.

Now, she must use more than her hands.

The ghosts tell her, those old, ancient buildings. They’re not as quiet as the streets. They line the inner skyline.

The city is becoming something other than itself.  Soon, she won’t be able to get lost in order to find herself. 



The Walk

She walks the old road, its surface malleable, as dirt reclaims its path.

Once a smoothness exited, now gone, curves vanishing, the wind, indeterminant.

Her bones feel like prisms, sharp angles, poking out of moving flesh, legs move with assuredness, tenderness.

The road has soft spots, where plants, alive and dead, scar its surface

Not necessarily an easy road to walk by foot. She’s careful. Always.

Her eyes move along its lines, reading its rough syntax, needles, bark, old flowers, wet upon the edges, a dark, moist shadow frames them all.

She places her hands flat upon a remaining level surface

Organic debris, a scree of thoughts stick to her.

She looks at her hands like opening a book

Then looks at the road, she can see the imprint of her hands.

How odd they look, their silhouette, alien.

It’s been a wet August, but it hasn’t really rained, not really.

Maybe October.


The coolness of the air.

Our fragile, brittle breaths.

Warmth is a supple sound

Moving through fallen leaves.



The fireman walks down to the dock, where the fisherman adjusts his line every few minutes. I see the fireman asking the fisherman questions. The fireman seems concerned, looking towards me as he talks.

You see, I’ve been taking photos of the firehouse, the river, the station’s flag, the freeway, a freeway bridge nestled right above the firehouse. I understand the fireman’s concern.

Also, I’ve been taking photos of the fisherman.

When I was taking pictures of him, I tell the fisherman, “I do art.” Just in case I use his image. He is cool about the whole thing. Maybe it’s fishing. Helps him. Calms things.

Fishing: The act, occupation, or diversion of catching fish.

I know nothing about fishing. Well, maybe a little. I mean I had a fishing pole as a kid, lead weights, salmon eggs in a jar, a few hooks, a green spool of line, plastic bobbers, red and white. I think I caught a carp once.

No one ever wondered what I was doing or for what reason I was doing it. Back then, I mean, when I was fishing.


Warrior Rock Light


The river is high for winter, but it’s still the water I know, its muddy banks, dirty shore, lucid waves. Swollen, I can’t follow it to the lighthouse. I cut through brambles, to the trail, stepping on spongy flora forming a false carpet, made of branches, dried leaves, and grasses, hiding the ground, hiding everything.  Curling around fallen trees, the carpet creates deep catacombs. I don’t know why, I’m searching for the dead, that kid that went missing, that woman who hasn’t been heard from in years, bones, fingers, humanity. All colors of the years here have melted into a gray mass. Anyone could be lost here, everyone is, perhaps, lost here, in plain sight. Every now and then I see the ground. I hear the river, its slow pace. 

I know why some jump into the river, inside the hidden current, upstream, from the city

To become lost, to lose themselves, to become gray like old flora, that’s the last place to hide.

There are freshwater clam shells strewn along the river’s shore, eaten by birds. Clams filter everything, then so must the birds. And it’s me, filtering…through the gray. There’s not really a way to get lost here, only a way to become hidden. The river’s been higher, flooded the brambles, the soft carpet and all things that have fallen for countless seasons. I stop my search, though I know someone is lost… somewhere… in here. If only I could lift the carpet, look underneath. Afterwards, I would place it back down, exactly how I found it. The trail is the shortest way, always on solid ground, a few feet higher than the river, a little muddy. 

I reach the lighthouse.

(Image: Mt. St. Helens from the Columbia River)






Mary Shelley

Remnants of the past…embedded.

Curled inside chalky lava flows

Stuck to a shape…ripples in stone.

Only elements change its appearance.


I and everything wait for the rain.

The parched flowers and grasses

Fragile skin, stalks, browns and beiges.

Bloomed full, so easily, last spring.


The bridge is out, lower in the canyon

Where the Klickitat heads for Mt. Adams.

Along the dryness, scattered tree limbs

So light, they remind me of bones.


Whitened and greyed by summer

I imagine them becoming a form

A collage of life, blood, and image

Uneven substance, knees, elbows, heart


I feel a sprinkle. It passes quickly.

Once, I believed your hands were so soft

I thought they were made of petals.

Now, I know that I was right.


For, I’m the one who made you.


Forced to walk close to the highway

I pass a row of old houses

Where the highway bends between bluffs

Carrying an assortment of sticks, limbs, knots


The dogs bark at everyone.



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