He had lost an eye. Though, its orb still in its socket had turned a blurry blue, misty, had developed a different kind of sight. It was a pain experienced through years of looking, looking, searching. A pain no one could comprehend. Not even himself.
This pain had the temper of a two-year-old, set off by triggers and misperceptions from a wayward stare to a misconstrued comment. Violence shot out of him, red, hot, stinging. I noticed when in this rage, his long hair, parted in the middle, changed as if it were caught in a hurricane, but in slow motion. After an episode, strands of it would appear jagged, outliers of the smoothness of his mane. I thought the streets had done this to him. I was wrong and I was right.
He was never really made up of the streets. The streets were made up by him. An Old Town that used to be, a November rain, black kids selling stripped-down crack cocaine, a fifth of rut gut, sloppy punk shows no one would remember, dayglo artists nailing canvases onto walls of plywood painted black, goth girls looking at themselves in mirrors, only their hands moving, not their bodies. Everything was never moving.
As I looked at his dead eye, lost in a random fight, I felt his frustration, his fear, his hopelessness. And even though he irritated me to no ends, I saw how vulnerable he was.
We took long walks along the Deschutes where few were allowed to go. He was different there. We talked of steelheads and Chinooks. We visited Chuck and listened to metal so loud, the desert lost its hearing. We picked up arrowheads and threw them back to where we found them, to sage and grass. And along this desert river, that twisted like snakes through dry canyons, both sides of its banks scarred, we hung on to ourselves (though there were reasons to lose our minds) right down to where it met the Columbia.
(Click on image to enlarge)
Static binaries numbed inside the liminal
As if sound is a scrape bunched into barren elements
Voiced structures—definitions in sand
Drawn with sticks—hopscotch on a playground
To know the tides—their decomposition
To know their fragments—their never-ending versions
Can’t be claimed as one or even one’s own
(Click on image to enlarge)
We sleep upon the rough carpet
Twirling threads and frays
Floorboards still heard
Beneath our pressed ears
Though muffled—small creaks
Of planks, bare, exposed in spots
Revealing coats of wax and stain
Covered in fresh oversleep
Our hands scuffed, abrasions
Soft—even in calloused stir
Touch, entwined, forever lured
The deer mouse comes out, when the night covers the entire sky.
Through foliage, appearing in little instants, eyes gleaming black, tail flying behind him.
He’s in the peripheral of your flashlight as his jump crests the undergrowth.
His business, a serious endeavor, risking the watchful eye of owls
And even if he’s a bit paranoid, he’s intent upon finding your trail mix.
You sit silent, while he approaches
Accepting, with cautious boldness, your offer of breakfast cereal for dinner.
Leaves without saying much, a bit disappointed, perhaps
After you’ve packed up and secured all food.
But you know he’s still there as you fall asleep
To the rustle of branches and the sly movement of the wind.
The ways to one another are uneven.
Steps expand, contract, falter, fuse
Feet unsure, like magnets running
Fixed fast to the sprawling spin
Of simple skin and porous bone.
We push hands through texture
Cool walls made up of paint layers
The infinite cocoon, reaching
To feel the heated depth of each other
A place we’ve always had in our grasp
(Image: “Three Witches”. Click on the image to enlarge!)
The mist stifles all sound, confines sight
Numbs time, suspends the linear
Encloses you in tentative comfort
While scaring you with limitations
You find yourself worried about the quiet
Near the shallow ripples of the lake
Where the hills slant their hardest towards the shore
And the moss smells of old summer
But time isn’t looking for you
Even though you’re looking for it.
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