Mid June, PNW

Pouring down I-5 into downtown Portland, an endless mid-June evening, river glassy, brick city, top down Camaro and I’m flinging from one lane to the next and onto the offramp towards Morrison Bridge, Belmont St, east Portland of chestnuts and maples.

Another morning. Walking to Oblqiue to meet my friend for coffee. Rush and bustle of annoyed commuters heading up and down Belmont, heading out of this East Portland. I walk by the cafe and see the tables set for dinner tonight and think of James Joyce in Paris, think of young Hemingway looking into a restaurant window and seeing Joyce and his family delighting over a chicken. Hungry young Hemingway.

Laying in the yard. Dreaming. Dreaming 2009. Dreaming 2008! Abbie Berry. Creative Cusp. Dreaming 2006. LifePro. Bill Z and Ned Dear and Dave and my Blondes. Sitting in the side yard. Looking out at the Olympic Range and the finely defined river valleys: Hamma Hamma, Dosewallips, Duckabush. “a bottle of white wine. a table made of wood.” Listening to the buzz of bees. Looking up to see if a vee of geese are flying overhead, northbound to Canada. Looking all around at all this nature just fecund and alive. Looking, looking, looking.

Emily Dickinson:

A SOMETHING in a summer’s day,
As slow her flambeaux burn away,
Which solemnizes me.

Trying to write about Marseille. Sitting at my window seat at the Whiskey Gulch Cafe, Port Orchard WA, looking out at the silver sky and silver ships in the Bremerton Yard and the silver Sinclair Inlet and the foot ferry taking the men to work. The well-wishers wish our barista a happy high school graduation. Window’s open, the stray kit-kat bellering out on the balcony, can’t feed him though or I’m the bad guy. Consider the flavor of people here, the gravel in the man’s voice, the dress she’s wearing. Considering calves. Sitting over my macchiato and strawberry scone. Trying to write about Marseille.

Kant and his walks. The same route, the same time, each day. Me and my macchiato (plural ought to be macchiati). “I have measured out my life with coffee spoons”. Moment as a collection of moments and how to singularize: of all the moments being experienced right now, the most interesting is this one moment in which I’m having coffee and writing. Cars are flinging by up and down Hawthrone, Joy Division on the stereo, the bang and phuss of the espresso machine, there’s conversational topics and Twitter and Facebook on the phones, there’s a meeting going on in the corner, there’s ants in the dirty and flies on the ceiling and termites in the walls all in their extraordinary moments, but what I want is one. Just this. To have coffee. And to write.

2014. Mid-June and the fruit is set. Early summer peeling away, the June growing diminishing each day, the majesty of mid-summer approaching.

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