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Saturday,11:59 am

Window Shopping for Mirrors

"Window Shopping for Mirrors"

My yoga instructor
might be the only person in the world

who can turn a playlist
from Loenard Cohen and Victor Jara

to Sade and Enya
in twelve hours flat.

A Friday night
alone with my week’s exhaustion

opens to a morning hour
of performing the gestures of mountains and cats,

horses, frogs, and even a moment
in which I unabashedly imitate a star.

During breaths and twists and density
of weightless asanas I recall

a smat of associations:
a tea slope

in Shimizu, the kitchen of a beloved aunt,
and the opening notes

to In a Silent Way, track 2,
hush.

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Vignette 7

An African woman, hunched
a bit beneath her headdress
in cold, wrapped in a thin robe
and dress all patterned thoughtfully,
holds two frappuccinos
with caramel cream,
saccharine structures of
whipped ice, gold textured snow,
straws ready,
does not take a sip of either,
looks toward the grey
and snow-wet road,
seated west-facing
on the southbound bus,
calm, cool, steps off with ‘thank you,’
confident, accented Somalian…

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Running From Home, Volume 2: [Brief Nocturne]

By a series of small leaps, I manage to make it five miles tonight, through moonlit neighborhoods of hill country where I am saved several times from Death by Dog, often by only a single chain link or a patched-up hole in a plank fence.

Keep in mind, this area is a chaos of foxhounds and terriers so lonely they would eat your feet if you let them. The moon burns a hole in a passing cloud. The sky, 7 at night, is still a blue that baby boys would recognize.

In another place I am threatened by a thin wood cow fastened to a mailbox, which nearly takes my ear. Is this a dangerous neighborhood? They say that goats live in the fields.

I remember running once in a foreign country at night, and suddenly hearing a menagerie of animal sounds around me. Only when I got home did I see on the map that I’d been running the parkway through a zoo.

The worst that could happen, and the best, is getting lost. You build your lungs up that way. For ten minutes I lose myself in cul-de sacs, later realizing they surround a dense forest.

I finally make my way back and around them, then turn toward home, covering fine, fresh-laid gravel, moist, moss-filled grass, five-foot sidewalks fronting tall houses, and strips of dirt along the roadside trailing the edge of a long park.

My feet are happy. No matter how the ground changes. Looming above me, one iron tower stretches media wires to another, playing hopscotch with the wind. Or trying to. The wind laughs, rolls once around the wires, turns backward with a tired but knowing glance, and moves on.

–January 17, 2011

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Saturday, Central District

While hopeless men who never got over hope wander streets without searching for jobs, and loveless men who never got over love wander streets without looking for love, in the neighborhood everybody seems to be cutting their lawn in half top-wise. This causes a scent with no other name to rise into the air, nose-height exactly, tempting allergic hysteria, but for the god-blessed who have none, creating an aura almost unconsidered in the advanced stages of life past twelve.

There are, of course, workers here.

People with compliant and noncompliant mowers, tools rusted in hibernating sheds, and pliant fingers whose smallest grooves will carry red stains for a week. Workers who, without the dignity of minimum wage, a suited gentleman who nods as they clock in on time, or a guaranteed hour to abandon labor in favor of rushing off to television and love-making, nonetheless emerge commuteless into private yards, wearing obscenely practical shorts and sexless visors.

They adore the utter closeness of an outdoors they had barely remembered owning on the other side of their doors–without, of course, a single wall…color rosing and flexing not from an artist’s fingers, like Michelangelo’s hands of God and man tentatively touching,  but from the contact of a stem or branch blooming out of green and tan.

I have nothing to do with any of this, just stumbling by, a person without land stretching half-tired legs and lifting eyes from a week of logging in and out, reckless phone calls and mechanical appointments measured strangely in minutes. It’s rising past 80, a lot of people aren’t home, blackberry vines spill through short fences, I keep going despite a slight tendonitis, looking for what it is I might be looking for. 

Twenty-first and Yesler, a dental clinic, to 23rd & Jackson, an errand in a drug store, 23rd to Judkins, Judkins up east to Martin Luther King Junior Street and down over north to a park with pathways weaving between playgrounds and knolls of grass, tricyclists and pale-legged women reading novels in black bikinis.

King Junior Street down slowly back to South Washington, and South Washington, which is an entirely insignificant street on which it is therefore possible to reside, brings me to Main, then 23rd again, where there is, what else, a coffee shop decked with crazy blue and yellow jazz murals and newspapers fronted with citizens dancing.

For three dollars, I take a seat and take back a few old addictions, noticing how dark it is despite tall columns of well-intended windows, and how the smell of roast coffee compares poorly to that of completely uncooked grass, and how the air inside is completely even, balanced and lifeless without the June breeze, sporadic and soothing…

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