Category Archives: Night Wanders

360 Degrees, 365.* days

The moon is waning, looking to the east from the bridge I stand on it is not quite the color of a blood orange. 47 degree crisp air swirls along my naked thighs, the gap between black knee high stockings and purple skirt. There is a gash on my right leg, from which I feel my ability to form blood clots is still at work.

Up the hill walks a man, who passes by me a little close, then perches a reasonable foot to the left of me for conversation. Deep face of umber, bright yellow coveralls & rain jacket, a matching hat with fur that drapes over his neck. He speaks with a deep and dry voice that rasps out his autumn parched throat, “Don’t jump off now, I’d have to go down there and scoop you up.”

And I glance down, past 30 foot saplings, and changing leaves, the abandoned train tracks over the bay that lead to nowhere, and the tidal flats…“Wasn’t about to,” say I, though yes, in idle moments, the idea will cross the mind as an unpleasant, “falling would hurt.”

And he mumbles on about how he does not know what I’m thinking as I gaze off like that, all contemplative like there’s something real heavy on my mind. So I gesture towards the moon, the landscape and it’s ports, stores, and lights unfolding.

“Thinking about being on the moon?”

“Not particularly, more the color of the moon…”

He goes on about how the moon and sun are two stationary stars, and the earth goes orbiting all about in a perfect circle – 365 degrees – no coincidence that our calendar has 365 days, one degree around the sun a day…

I don’t tell him that circles only have 360 degrees, because his world is more remarkable than mine. Besides, what the hell is a degree anyway? I contemplate the idea of telling him that the moon and sun are not stationary…Moon, sun, earth, falling dizzily towards god know what. He’s ranting about selling me air and selling water when a young woman, sheltering a shaggy cat within her coat passes us by.

He turns up to her, “What are you kids doing with that pussy?”

She keeps going, and he turns back to me. “I think she took that the wrong way…This woman once, I said good evening to her, and she looked at me and said ‘You don’t know me.’ I said to her, ‘Do I have to know you?’ and you tell me did I have to know her to say good evening? I know what you are made of. Know you by your bones and veins, know you down to the marrow, know your daddy’s daddy and your mamma’s ma…

He steps back and puts his arms out, spinning in a circle. From his backpack straps swing raccoon tails in fearful symmetry. “Do you know what this is? Do you know me?”

And I say “Sometimes yes, and sometimes no.”

And he goes on, “365 degrees, this is 365 degrees over and over, and if I spin enough you’ll become dizzy.”

And soon, another person passes us as he walks up the hill, and he sidles over to me and says, “Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go curse this fucker out.” Then, he starts pacing in parallel alongside the young man, and they travel up the hill together.

I take my leave in the opposing direction, and reconsider what knowing another person really might be.

Absence and I

Night time again. My bike is the color of forest in the full moon’s light. Pulses of photons waver off into the atmosphere beyond and behind my bicycle. The tires rotate towards me and away all in one continuous motion.  I think of the afternoon explaining away how electrons reveal the microscopic details of a sample much better than light can…how we still require scintillation to interpret all that information.

And?

I am lagging with the heavy heartbeat of the hills. Who rules the trajectory of my journey better than they and my asphyxiating rear tire? The test results came back in the mail, say my blood is just fine perfectly balanced. But still, I can no longer hang on to classes long enough to see them through. I must slow down sometimes. Not even trees stand still, at any moment they are pumping gallons and gallons of water up from the ground cycling organic nutrients through xylem and phloem, inspiring and exhaling, releasing volatile oils, rearranging their roots…

In the forest this morning, I stood with soggy feet as my phone rang with an unfamiliar number. I spoke calmly to a potential employer through the throb of my brain. A short cut that was to be longer than my original path pulled me through standing water. On I went, carrying bicycle over downed tree limbs, cutting paths through false lily of the valley.

Speeding down hill, wind chill. The high definition of the moon bracketed by two clouds like angel wings. The atmospheric shifts push them on. The water mass turns to a skull or half of a heart.

Earlier, I stood staring blankly at a crowded venue unable to recall the words of all the poems I’d etched into my brain. One judge scribbled an image of the grim reaper. Still, somehow, recognition found me. Forgetting everything is not embarrassing if you can pull together the strands. The woman poet I drove home intoned, “Meditation,” as I struggled with the road.

I got certified to play around with my schools Scanning Electron Microscope and Auto-montage scope pretty much anytime they are available. I regret not doing this sooner. But when is there time? Perhaps I will be able to share some pictures with you in the coming weeks if I ever find time and space of mind to take them.

The Path Was Traveled

It was a clear sunny day in Bishop, California. The date late November, 2008. As I placed my basket filled with squash, dates, apples, whatever the hell it was I deemed good to eat back then onto the conveyor belt. The clerk looked me in the eyes. “What happened to your face? You fall off a dirt bike or something?”

I smiled, “Bear got me on a bad day.” Shoved everything in my hand stitched sack, strolled out the door.

Explored the town for only a bit longer before assessing not much was going on. Drove onward into Death Valley as the sun set, found a dirt road somewhere off the map, and pulled over for the night.

I poured white wine into a purple mug, ate something I called dinner, fed the cat, and toasted the stars.  The lack of city lights, the perfect desert air. It always is those deadly landscapes that have the softest air.

The sleep wasn’t easy. The cold cut my sleep sack and blankets. I was breaking into sweats, trying not to itch my inner thighs, arms, my face. Trying not to dissolve all the way before sun rise.

“What happened to your face?”

“Systematic poison oak, actually.”

Uncomfortable in my own skin, I couldn’t shake it for a month.

And now, I’ve got another fun affliction to battle down. Hope it won’t take that long!

A Title Of Awe

My photos, in dim light are impressionist era paintings. Bodies climbing, falling, dancing under the low light. These images don’t seem to transfer to large lenses and bizarre aperture values. Years ago, when I had moved to Western Washington for the first time, I put away my fancy camera and forgot how to use it. “The rain,” I thought, “would surely destroy the electronics.” As a compromise, I promised to learn to write in a manner more vivid than any photo I could capture. The reaches of my attention were to be expanded so that I may fully appreciate a moment above one static image. I’ve moved many miles about this country since then.  I can’t say weather or not that promise has held true.

After learning more today about cloning, the applications of embryonic stem cells, the potential use of mushrooms for synthesizing important pharmaceuticals, how wood growing fungi snare nematode worms to consume their Nitrogen… after contemplating the remarkable chemical reactions that humans catalyze just by chewing on a piece of broccoli, hell, even just by living. I went out to behold the world for the evening. Three events later…

-tense shift-

The sound of my patella popping as I push into my bicycle petals is unnerving only for an instant. Two clicks and I’m alright. I’m supposed to be healing, but where is the “use it or lose it” line drawn? I could do one whole pull up today, an improvement upon one week or so ago. Water is falling from the sky, kissing my thighs, soaking into my coat. I feel a rain droplet hit my lip, the bridge of my nose, my left cheek. My dress flaps about in the 3AM air that I rush by, a feeling of utter content with the rain.

You would’t even hear a ghost whisper along the main street of this town. All that is left over at this hour is my Breath, a Bicycle chain whirring, my Spider mind pulling strands of the day together.

Closing in on my living quarters, the sound of rain bouncing off of carports is an amplified reverberation. Water flowing into the drainage proves an underground river. I circle and circle around the parking lot until utterly dizzy and then zoom on past my home to admire the lake, the rain, the night.

The Sound of Ice Falling

“Would you give me five minutes of your time?”

It’s at the end of an evening, a small poetry reading. I tell him  that I will share five minutes, but not give them.

He leads me out the front door of the house and around to the side car port where my bicycle sits waiting silently.

“Listen…”

Rain bounces off the roof, the trees speak as ice bursts off their weighed down branches. “This is Poetry,” he says. Would you like to go further? I nod. He takes my hand and leads me into the snow covered field.

I have barely spoken a word, trying to stand with the beauty of the moment, but also attempting to assess motives. Mist holds court as trees stand sentinel. The rain is catching in my hair, on my coat.

Still holding my hand, he narrates, “This is Poetry without Ego. This is nature present, and calm. Listen…All of this breaking and crashing, the land is experiencing so much pain right now, but it continues to speak…The trees, look at them, so firmly grounded yet they reach for the sky…And you, you shared your poetry and I can see you are so brilliant. Yet you have so much fear in you…” His voice sounds of the theater.

I think of how these ideas of nature are affirmations I immersed myself in years ago.

I think of how I almost cracked up earlier in the evening as a mutual aquaintance cued up Such Great Heights on the stereo while He and I stared into each other’s eyes talking. The line goes “I’m thinking it’s a sign, the freckles in our eyes are mirror images…” He said something along the lines of “You need to trust others while still knowing that they can not be trusted.”

And I’m still piecing together a jigsaw when he finds a knot the size of a tennis ball nestled in the blade of my shoulder simply by pulling me in for a hug. Mind you, I have a winter coat on. “I think my five minutes are up. Are you ready to go back?”

*
“You have so much fear in you.” is such a funny phrase to hear describe me. But mainly, what these human’s call fear, I call a skepticism of intent teamed with transient anxiety. How much naivety should one wrap themselves in while riding on a great big orb that constantly falls towards the sun?
Perhaps those trees aren’t reaching towards spirit & sky. Perhaps they are clinging onto the earth for dear life.
The joke of physics.
The joke of spirituality.
Perhaps it is time I finish reading a book my dear friend gave me. It’s name is The Gift of Fear.

Night Ride

As I carry my bike down the steps from my second floor apartment, the full moon light brushes my cheeks in silver. A soft atmospheric pressure change envelops my body. The night murmurs an ambient tone giving voice to this small city. The sky is clear for this one moment of awe and my mind is walking along a tightrope close to sleep.

As I glide through the parking lot onto the street I revel in the feel of my sore thighs, overworked abs, and aching shoulders. This is the proof that today I worked towards the closest thing I know to flight. The vertical climb of fabrics, horizontal occupation of the trapeze, and the rough hold of the rope were all embraced. Just so, the breeze on my face is proof that I am traveling through space much faster than I could ever walk.

I wonder about the year ahead of me, all of the possible futures, standing silently by the urgency of now.

Entering the Stream

I. It’s the second evening in a long legend of quiet retreat in which I’ve ventured to the outside world. Cigarette smoke begins replacing the air in the hall where bodies once were were-packed in tight to watch real humans in flight. After crashing a table of acquaintance gym rats I slip away silently into the night. My breath merges with the fog thick air. (I have resolutions to tend to this coming year.)

II. Ready for the Floor (play this)

III. I am sitting at a restaurant with two strangers I met moments before. To my right is a wall. To my left, a massive woman dressed in black. She is carefully put together with her short dark hair & pale skin painted over by foundation. Bubbling up from her soul is a full blown rant spiced by the salt of her margarita.

Across from me is a tall lanky man, shaved head in a beige trench coat as the evening wears on he dares to interject approvals and interpretations of her gospel.

“You are so timid,” she says, ” There’s a lot of fear in you…but you’re brave too. When you walk away I want you to take something with you. I want you to understand that tomorrow, when you wake up, you can choose to do whatever you want. Do you understand that? You can choose to do whatever you want.  This is really important…Every morning you start with a blank slate.”

They pick up the tab.

We part ways.