Three things that I have read and talked about extensively, and almost, quite nearly, experienced myself.

My Favorite Venue

I love how the seating is above general admission, you know?

You’ve paid for a seat to shows? I always just get general admssion.

No, no, no. I just like the layout and how the view is for people up there. Have you ever stood up there? The vantage point it creates onto the stage is incredible.

When was the last time you were there?

Me? I’ve never been. Just seen pictures on my cousin's Facebook.

My Favorite Grandma

Grandma Kelly’s hair was so thin you could almost lose it in the sunlight when you were sitting out back with her in the summer. That back bloom of scotch broom gave the air that hazy, drunk quality of childhood memories and it somehow seemed to perfectly match her hair. There was that neighborhood kid, Riley, who would always throw the morning paper dead center in the yard, so in the morning you could watch Grandma Kelly head out like the slowest dart finding its way to a bullseye.

I thought you grew up in Seattle?

Yeah, I did. But my college roommate knew Riley.

My Favorite Childhood Memory

I remember that kid, Anthony, from grade school who always used to play down at the public dock after school. He’d reach down around the pilings and grab tube worms to use as bait to catch the little perch that would float around like cartoon animals in the shadows of boats. He’d always come strolling off the dock with bits of seashell pressed into his shirt and creosote in his hair, and the next day he’d show up at school with some lawn mower haircut because of his mom grabbing the chunks of goo and haphazardly cutting them away.

I remember those haircuts. Do you remember running along the beach, with that huge black lab, golden retriever — that sometimes smelled like dead fish — and almost loosing our shoes in that thick black, low-tide mud that smelled almost like sewage?

No, I can’t seem to recall.

the finish of glass.

There was this boat that once set out to sea carrying nothing but harpoons. No rope. No food. Just a boat full of harpoons charging with confidence over low rolling waves, as it split history in a voyage north. The earth looked spherical and round hovering above a talon of a bow that was indifferent towards any thoughts of the past. Its loan passenger was a woman that watched a receding wake and would ever-so-casually reach over and toss a harpoon into a thoughtless void. Or maybe a void that was like the past, where if she stared long enough, any image at all would come billowing forward, and she would then pretend that it was actually something the void itself created. But a sea is a plane of something unbroken; the void is just something that each harpoon makes her think she is participating in. And like an arrhythmic clock she casually tosses these harpoons from a ship with purpose, where the sunrise and sunset nuzzle each other like old dogs on an even older owner’s legs, folded around a point where all time, she remembered, once stood still.

we don't know each other and never will.

Mario lived in an apartment that he entered through an old stairwell that exited onto the street near a hole-in-the-wall Thai restaurant. He wasn’t so much into Thai food, but on Wednesdays he’d buy the first three appetizers on the menu and take them home. He'd carry the bundle up the stairs, walk into the kitchen, open the window and empty the togo boxes into the alley that ran behind the apartment building. 

He was on the second floor so there was a small pause before he heard the food make a pleasant sound on the concrete, like kids running through rain puddles. Mario would unpack the included chopsticks, break them apart, place one on a growing pile on the table, and take the remaining stick and tap lightly on the window sill.

It didn’t take long for the stray cats to show up and start eating the food. They usually waited for each other, circling the food as if a crime scene was being contained, looking alert as they waited for new arrivals. Once they all showed up — there were usually seven or eight of them — they would all start eating.

Mario would watch from above and tap on the windowsill with his chopstick. When they finished, Mario threw away the one chopstick and would go to bed.

this is where we eat.

D: Where the fuck did all this hair come from?!?
R: Seriously… you’re asking this? Every morning I go into the upstairs bathroom and I feel like I have to dig for my toothbrush through the haystack of beard hair you somehow leave every day. every. day.
D: The bathroom is a place for hair; it is a sanctuary for grooming. This is A FORK I fucking eat with.
R: The way you eat, I would never guess you use a fork.
D: Don’t change topics. Did you somehow incorporate our silverware into your sex life? LOOK! I’m basically holding a birds nest of human hair in my hand.
R: Don’t exaggerate, no bird would live in that.
D: This is only from one drawer. One. Look at the floor! Counters! There is hair wallpapering this place. This is the beginning of the shortest crime drama ever.
R: Okay, okay. Fine. No more sex in the kitchen.

she lived in a town with many bridges, but only one road to leave.

She always knew the river was unjust and chaotic. The town leapt and laid across its serpentine structure, leaving each commodity on its own island. 

To get groceries, she crosses a bridge. 
To fill prescriptions, she crosses a bridge. 
To visit home, she crosses a bridge. 

And in a way the bridges could trap people; make them always worry about the next place they were supposed to be; the next task that would require finding an appropriate way across this mirror broken by wind and current.

She was young when she first stopped to look down off of one of the bridges into the water — maybe 12, or 13. The water looked surly and her reflection warped and wrapped around drift wood and the odd rock breaking the surface. She peered down and maybe could tell where her hand waved in front of her face, but she wasn’t sure.

Over the years, though, she wandered the bridges not looking for groceries, or ways home, but ways to see herself; garbled, but real and conscious in the river. And there were others, too, that she noticed peering down below, their faces gathered around hers like lily pads anchored in a moving lake. This lake was a private place of meaning and the sensation that is often fleeting to many, but translates to: this is who I am, this is what being alive is like. But this translation, even, is not quite right, because this is a moment when body and mind jump on a tandem bike to go watch a fog bank evaporate off of a long forgotten beach. This sensation of river like lake is freeing, but these bridges aren’t complete, and the view only goes on so far.

She is a glass of water too full — beautifully full — splashing onto a floor during a strange afternoon when the sun is bright, yet hard rain falls into a quiet harbor nearby; smell this perfect boarder where salt water tumbles into the air with a fresh water lover.

It is at a moment of sunset like sunrise, that she looks to a road that is as wide as the moon and as long as a summer daydream and she begins to walk.

boy looking for cosmos

There is a moment in my life that comes to mind every few weeks: I’m in a gray truck barreling across northern Nevada; desert reaching out around me in one large sandpaper hug. The air is dry, so dry my teeth are just bones in my mouth, and they are timeless and presenting me as some archeological wonder. I AM the perfect example of some epoch that will be written about in the future. The horizon is all brackish water and drunk light coming from a party on the horizon, where there weren’t enough mixers but plenty of booze. The Sierras are exhausted waiting to see what will happen next. They are parents that have given up, as their children run into a world with the matter of their brains just a tangle of sex and guns; neurons firing wildly into a night sky that is the inside of a skull. The air is so dry; my palms a series of tectonic plates with my love and life line grinding against each other with the urgency of teenagers at prom. Love and life so desperately wanting to make something of purpose.

And as the engine continues to sound relentless, everything is somehow so still. The wind whipping through an open cab, the pavement making an urgent growl (it’s a dog on one side of a door as an uninvited guest comes knocking), and I can see my hand pressed into vinyl seats with half of my head out the window. And each little tick of the second hand is one more moment god has decided to rest. In that moment — there with bitten finger nails feeling a sprouted seed, whose roots reach down to the very core of the earth, no, to a single atom — the expanse of sand is a perfect blank photographic frame. Drag into that frame all that is loved, all that is longed for, and all that has been dreamt. Develop and don’t forget the fixer.

My eyes cast down and I catch the wobble of the fog line (but this line has never seen fog), and my memory stumbles back to an image of a girl in a bucket seat, her hands reaching up and over, onto the back of the head rest, so her elbows jut out like large triangular ears. Her body coiled, with a tiny glisten of sweat on her brow, and I know this is the first time I find something sensual. She is in a coral top and she laughs with eyes a bit sideways before looking out the window, because we both have no idea what is happening in that car. It is simple, but so loud and sudden like things in youth are, that a handful of details of a scene splinter and suddenly turn into a cosmos. I am engulfed.

But there should be a lecture that at some point is given, called “things that each engulf each other”, and the cover will be a man on a beach wrapped in a blanket that is made of constellations, and we know that on his mind is a simple walk he once took among the dunes. The dunes, these rises and lulls of narrative as he thinks about who he has become, and as night falls he navigates by a star that he and his sister once pointed out to each other while they ate grill cheese sandwiches on a deck where the wood splintered into comically large pieces; splinters that thought they threatened, but could almost be used as walking sticks. Threats that guided. And teeth gnashed in moonlight, smirking in their own way at a sensation of destiny.

The desert, though, will always be cast in the same light in my mind. This moment of desert holds me, holds how I hope my life will be. And as I pull my head back into the cab of the car, my ears have a pressure drop, and I flex my jaw open to try and make them pop, and nod my head to the plodding march of the center line.

I will one day go back.

the pigeon

I was walking along a boardwalk in front of a row of fancy restaurants. At the edge of the patio of one of the restaurants, there was a man and woman who sat too straight and frowned too much. They had sour faces and they held their forks like they wanted to break them in two. A seagull flew over head, and dangling from its mouth was a half eaten pigeon. In a delicate rolling motion it flew over their table and dropped the bloody pigeon about a foot from the woman's foot. She gasped and immediately raised her hand and snapped her fingers at a waiter who had witnessed the entire event. The waiter made a disgusted face, shook his head "no", turned, and walked away into the restaurant. The woman's sour face grew, and she jumped up to storm after the waiter. 

When she left, the man's face became slack and he looked sad and grew old as he looked down at the pigeon. He set his fork down and continued staring at the dead bird. What had started off making me laugh incredibly hard, suddenly made me feel that this man had very painful thoughts in his head. 

He was the pigeon.

an arrival of nothing special.

She looked at me with an anesthetized face, and I am sure we fell in love. I mean, I think we fell in love. She was hardened to anything that would give away an impression of who she was. Her eyes looked at me and scanned and digested. Only in little moments when she forgot about the people in nice clothes on Sundays who she shared twenty dollar french toast with, or how she had dated someone who once was famous, would she tell me something that was full of warmth. Her face would turn into a collection of detailed constellations as we sat on the bow of a memory that slid across a silent slab of water. She would tell me about wearing only a decorative mask that hung in the entry hallway and dancing naked across the couches in the living room. She would talk about leaning against the large wooden beam near the kitchen, while cooking breakfast of bacon and toast, and singing a song dedicated to the tree that it came from.

She would talk of these things until the clicking of shoes on hardwood floors, or an eruption of shared empty laughter, brought the heaviness back to her. She would pull the weight onto her face, her mouth, her eyes, and the boat would sink, and the stars would fade in the deepening water, and it would be another night of one too many glasses of wine.

The next time we spoke, we shook hands briefly outside of a small cafe, and she recommended the special for lunch. She told me to take care, waved, and turned around to walk towards her car while pulling her phone out of her purse to check for new text messages.

Somewhere there was air escaping a sunken ship, and the languid motion of bubbles made my mind forget how she and I had first met.

order in the night

 we slept in rows of threes and fives, on a damp forest floor. a wild fire burned in the valley to the east, and the horizon shone of stained glass in an empty church. trees shrugged and huddled in the bus stop of a forest, waiting for news of where tomorrow would take them. shoulders hunched, and the thoughts of newspapers blown astray on a wind that was hot and angry and had nowhere to go. 

It was a night full of sap whistling hot out of the bark of charred wood. 

we slept in our rows under the slate slabs of a sky that was broken and wanted to promise us everything, even though its pockets were full of stars spaced further apart than a single thought could travel; further than love had ever bound even in a teenagers lost days of summer. we were rigid this night, waiting to remember what it was like to be alive.