Come at a Price

Marquês de Pombal

The amount of alcohol in her drink.

The loudness of her laugh.

Soft shirt sleeves, brushing raw, coded skin.

Tender angst made her…

Makes her

Voice rise

Like dinnertime restaurant dishes.

All she said, forgotten.

All she would have said, remembered.




August 17th, 2019, Portland Oregon

I just want my coffee and a blueberry muffin. Don’t close shop yet, I’ll give you a good tip. You’re afraid, I can see it in your eyes, you want to leave, and you will leave,

I have to arrive.

You see, I’m the one who opens the other shop in difficult times, like I’ve always done and always will. A job that places me somewhere between significance and insignificance.

My boss will periodically call me as she watches a live feed from the safety of her home.

You take my order but keep one eye out on the streets. You’re scared they will come inside your shop and you’re confused with what anyone believes. I’m not sure which they you refer to. It seems to be everyone, everybody. Your coworker tells you that someone has locked themselves in the bathroom for three hours. You become worried about your ability to leave. Your coworker calls the Downtown Clean and Safe officers, the ones who handle drug addicts and schizophrenics, they won’t respond.

They told me yesterday, they’re afraid and want to leave, and they will leave.


I have to arrive




Cape Meares, Oregon. August 2019

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More images can be found here, at Elan Mudrow Images




No Dreaming Required

She said we never reach the river we dream of. Never.

Yet, she’s there, roasting marshmallows, gutting fish, keeping dry inside a tent.

Perhaps, she’s forgotten how a wild river feels along the soles of her feet.

Its cold water, during the hottest days, makes you shiver, while the sun heats your body, still wet with its current on your skin.

Tickles those tender city feet.


She told me a story once.

As a young girl, she and a friend, riding bikes, exploring lanes and ways, had found a spring, circled by flowers and moss.

Magic, she called it. I saw the fire in her eyes, when that spring brought words to her mouth.

Words found her there.


They’re still with her. Not necessarily words she could tell someone. They’re inside of her. They didn’t just come to her. She had to go and find them.


I know…

Once she made a deal with abandon, ran the risk of abandonment.

A fool brave, not stupid

With more to learn.

Her feet, constantly wet.

Parallel Universes

Trillium Crossing, July 2019

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More images can be found here.

The Small River

Although I haven’t seen the small river yet… the one tucked back in the Coast Range, I know the trees will come up to its edge, some will lean too close, arching over the water.

Ferns will dot its shores, trailing back to darker parts, creating patterns. A few will be browned, dead, while others thrive…layers.

Boulders will be strewn, mixed in with the current, channels and miniature rapids will have formed. The river will have many different types of currents.

There will be birds, an occasional chipmunk running into the brush, the distant echo of someone like me. The wind will flirt with these sounds. At times, the wind will drown out all.

The small river will have a voice, I already know this. Its truth is childish, shaped by how we have spoken to one another.

My voice will dart between the sound of current, ravens, hawks, the creaking of tall evergreens as their branches rub against each other. I would have told you how the baby hawks cry when their parents have gone to hunt for them. But you don’t need to hear this and you won’t.

I’ve gone missing, right in front of you.

For a short period of time, when I see the small river, I will no longer miss you, whoever you are, and I will no longer be alone.


The sun lingers now. The trail’s end is hot. I feel it upon my arms. I dangle my feet in the small river. For a moment, all I understand, tickles me.


Click on image to enlarge. The Trask River.

For more images, check out

Last Reach

McCall Point, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon, July 2019

(click on image to enlarge)

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