Been Leaving Ever Since

There used to be a couple. Bud, Miller. Pissy, yellow stuff with names of factory workers and truck drivers. Now, flavors flourish like house cats, calico, Siamese, tabby.

He loves tabs.

Drunk on credit. Purrrrrrr. That’s something to be proud of. More important than an IPA or a Kölsch, cheaper if you drink Oly and Pabst. Same shit, different tap.

The bar he goes to, the last dirty one… without video poker, old vacuum tube TV. Representing some cultural fabrication of what punk rockers call authenticity. And the patrons, busy pretending they’re stupid ‘til they arrive at not being bright, loud, speaking a type-o-talk, bar language with its own set of jokes.

But he thinks, alone. Dangerous. Liable to cause ideas. Thinking is a form of credit. Get now, pay later. No tabs on thinking. Different form of credit. Ties in to all shit….urges…..creative juices….one night stands, arguing with the neighbor upstairs with the low bass speakers, the barista who gave him decaf , the dentist about to pull out all his remaining teeth.

A ways back, he got kicked out of Olympia brewery, carrying around a malt liquor. Colt 45. Can’t call no beer Olympia. Shorten that shit. Oly, like your best drinking pal.

Revolutionary branding. For the cause. Sam Adams. Schlitz. Henry’s, and Lucky with a joke under each bottle cap.

He gulped the last of that lost Colt down, placed the empty on the ground. A group of white coats, beer scientists, glared at him from their office windows. Who needs scientists for rotgut?

He was asked to leave. Been leaving ever since.




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)



Salmon Street Springs June 2019

Summer Forest

Summer plays with you in the forest, running mad in a meadow, hide and seek with a creek, foot race with a river. There are times when you’ll lose the summer’s sun, under deciduous and evergreens. But you will turn a corner, run into a bunch of arguing flowers who point the way back to a blaze of daylight or a ray of heat, the sun laughing its way through the canopy.  

Summer places the forest in a still quietude, no rain tapping upon fallen flora, no snow who corners all sound and makes it its own. In this solitude, your memories lie the shade. All you believe and don’t want to believe surrounds you. You will turn a corner, look at the flowers. And they are always, pointing.

The High Desert

The cougar is up high in a yellow pine, hidden. I only see his misplaced paw print, formed when the mud was thick last spring. Now, the trail has dried into cracks, wrinkles in the earth, his movement of the past solidified. He won’t worry about me, the noisy one, whose feet crunch dry leaves below him, dried long before the last of summer appears.

The turf is so dry, it feels like ancient bread, hollow, a fragile dust. This dryness used to be spring flowers, but they’re not the reason I’m here. Their flakes, stick to my socks, scratch my ankles.

The grass copies the color of the sunset. No matter how good of a watcher you are, you can’t see the grass’s movement search for the sun. I didn’t come to search, but I ended up searching.

Breaking their way out of the sky, Adams, Hood, St. Helens, listening, still. This isn’t what I thought I’d find, yet I’ve found them. Sometimes I worry about the movement of the sun, which is my movement, really, the earth’s movement.

The cougar will come down from the yellow pine at dusk, when it’s hard to see him. He is the color of the sunset. He will use the sound of dry flowers and shallow grasses. When the coming night quiets the wind, he will search for the slightest movements.


(Click on mage to enlarge. Title: River Of Grass. Photo taken near The Dalles Oregon)

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. 



She sets a folded towel upon cool sheets, her ass makes a depression on the mattress.

Silence is never a full-proof method of understanding each other, even if hands are involved.

They touch, then they talk. Talking is never a full-proof method of…

His leg dangles off her bed. She gets up, opens the closet door.

There’s a mirror attached to the back of the closet door. She sees my reflection and doesn’t know it’s her. She touches the mirror, thinking, as she always has, that it will lead somewhere.

She leaves fingerprints.




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