Moss-petting in Portland (March, ’18)

Signs for deaf children, hand-painted Volvo’s, driving into Portland on a Friday night.

By morning the rain had brought down the cherry blossom blooms like confetti, and the children across the street were young enough they could walk on walls still.

They were closer to spring by a few days, further along than Seattle.

And the pitter patter from another room, Saturday morning cartoons, a little boy wrapped in the blanket of fancy and imagination, the art of distraction learned young.

In the mirror in my friend’s bathroom my face was flattened, puffy and pale, not as I remembered it, like my dad’s or my uncle’s, not mine. Someone had taken an eraser to my head and smudged it sideways a few degrees, a late night of male bonding.

Ginger tea, with turmeric:

Everyone on bikes, basically Holland.

Even the crows look cleaner…

And the hillsides and bridges take me back to Pittsburgh, another time:

Signs for Gresham, Mt Hood, Ross Island bridge

People driving with their windows down, smoking

The weight of life at different orbits, from children’s pizza parties at Chuck E. Cheese, balloons…hurrying through, spit out the other side, older.

Trees growing along the cliffsides, the look of kudzu, moss sweaters, knobby fists in the trunks, some of them dead but still standing, home to transients and nests.

A sign that just says CONGESTION, another WATCH FOR ICE.

Bad lawn art.

When we believed in leprechauns and made traps from shoe boxes, and the magnolia out front starts to bud, it falls like furry sentiment, a rabbit foot’s charm…and I pocket one for Charlotte, who still believes in good luck, the unbelievable, it falls at our feet.

Loren (48) now has a skateboard he uses to ride to the coffee shop on days he doesn’t feel like walking. His neighbor gave it to him after he fractured his hip, and broke his elbow trying to hop over a curb. Because the elbow break is on the same side as the hip he can’t use crutches, is in a wheelchair instead. We went to see John, who’s recently off opioids and has neck tats, lives next door. I recognized him from the Christmas card on Loren’s fridge, a picture of John and his wife holding their tabby cat Max, who’s quite fat. John does copies of abstract impressionist paintings and they’re hung around the house. He had a bag of Grateful Dead CDs someone gave him from the Goodwill, and a blanket with dancing bears in the same style. He and his wife said we could take the blanket too, along with the CDs, if Loren and I wanted to cuddle up later. They’re called Dick’s Picks bootlegs, and when Loren picked out which ones to borrow, I said there’s another “Dick’s pick.”

And when I got home later I sat outside listening to a woodpecker drumming a dead tree.

Signs advertising Kratom for sale…leaving Portland on a Sunday.

Raymond Street, Portland

Categories: humor, prose, writing

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

20 replies

  1. really digging this, a seamless (jointless?) impressionistic curve, just picking up a ton of observations along the way, visual and remembered. Keep on truckin’, really enjoyed this drive-by pointillism, RPT

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like what Robert said: “drive-by pointillism.” Perfect!

    Funny, I just read about kratom this week — never heard of it before. You’re on the cutting edge of cool, man!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The cutting edge of cool is not all it’s cracked up to be 😀. I like what Robert said too, speaking of “cutting edge of cool.” You and he, both. Rain drumming the gutters now to no end, its own Grateful Dead tireless tune.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Off opioids with neck tats is the worst kind of cliche. So is a fat cat named Max. But it WORKS.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. wtf is kratom?
    everyone needs a bag of grateful dead albums – I bought three vinyl boxes of dick’s picks last year.
    perhaps the kratom makes knobby-fisted tree trunks (my favourite description)
    perhaps the grateful dead make knobby-fisted visions.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. If a person’s essence can be distilled from their observations, I would conclude that you are a pretty cool person. And it is so properly nostalgic for this season of changes.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I didn’t know what kratom is, and I still don’t know what pointillism is, but I liked it. Makes me feel insufficiently hipster, though.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. like you were a sponge just absorbing all around you

    Liked by 1 person

  8. To paraphrase: practice random acts of observation and senseless acts of prose. Kind of like a cross between jazz and a documentary.

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: