Drizzle Rain

A trip of plovers paused wading
in the wet sand of an ebb
tide each one after another
across the sloping beach
stopped and pecked and ran on.

Up on 101 a swarm of workers
on a wet sidewalk in winter
huddled at the bus stop waiting
and each one hopped aboard
and nipped and gripped.

They feed with their eyes
and only pretend to be
where they are,
falsely brooding,
but amusing, all the same. 

SE Portland Triathlon Photo Essay

For the first leg of my triathlon event yesterday, I boarded Line 15 and rode down to the river, disembarking at the east end of the Hawthorne Bridge. I sat in the last seat of the bus, in the left corner, with this week’s New Yorker fiction issue. I had read on the bus stop the Langston Hughes story, written around 1960 but only recently discovered. More about that in a subsequent post.

On the bus, an ad caught my attention, a woman in a red dress, orange hair, the copy: “Be More Brilliant.” The ad was up front, behind the driver’s seat, and I was too far away to read the smaller print. Note though that the imperative doesn’t suggest you are not brilliant. If you are not brilliant at all, you can’t be more brilliant. But why be “more brilliant”? Don’t I attract enough moths already? I thought of the two books I recently put out. Maybe my writing should be more brilliant. I took some pics from the bus of the south side of Belmont.

The afternoon was still overcast, and I felt a few drops of rain as I began the second leg of my triathlon, walking down the ramp from the bridge to the Eastbank Esplanade, a more brilliant name for the shared sidewalk with bike path that runs along the industrial, east side of the Willamette River.

I walked south along the river, a little under a mile, to Susan’s work, where I started the third leg of my triathlon, a short drive to Em’s place to visit the girls.

I didn’t get any pics while driving, driving a car these days multi-tasking enough as it is. The few pics I’d taken of the south side of Belmont, from the bus, came out blurry, not too brilliant. I tried to get a few murals, and a couple of the old buildings, the ones the developers, none too brilliantly some have been arguing, are in a hurry to tear down. We passed a typical east side tavern. I realized I have my shutter delay set too long. I had to anticipate where the bus would be when the shutter finally clicked. At the river I saw the lean-to boat setup again, and tried to get a contrast pic of the east side boat in the foreground with the west side yachts in the background. I paused at the OMSI sign to repeat Oṃ maṇi padme hūṃ a few times, feeling even less brilliant as I moved on. I never tire of the sign of Theory, and took yet another pic of it. The blue building was brilliant in the soft afternoon overcast light.

At Em’s, I snapped a pic of her copies of “Penina’s Letters” and “Coconut Oil,” sitting on the shelf next to her cookbooks, and I wondered if my covers were brilliant enough, or brilliant at all. I think so. But to some, brilliant might suggest shiny, and I went with a matte finish.

In Em’s yard, I took some pics of a flowering tree and a tricycle rained in rose petals. It’s almost dragonfly season here, and I thought how nature always seems sufficiently brilliant, yet also always seems to be becoming more brilliant. Nature is superlative, while we can only ever be comparative, until we remember that we are also part of nature, where we are most brilliant.

November Day Along the River

How are you? You are how
this is too easy
a still gift of photographs
almost like a real letter.

You like flowers, flowers like you, like
Peonies, purple green red yellow mopped hair
Marigolds, red orange bites
Red geraniums in a real clay pot
and those little white hanging threading flowers,
I don’t know their name, whispery white.

I am 1,000 characters
all so small you can’t see them
like tiny little squiggly bugs.
You are 1 bodacious character
like a lobster on the ocean floor under
blue waves under an orange sky,
or a swell cat, an orange tabby
with blue eyes,
who never scratches but purrs
and curls in your lap for a nice nap
on a hot sunny summer day,
a sleepy breeze cooling powdery sky.
Evening comes and a glass of white or red wine
and dinner and the sun goes down
and the moon comes up
up and up and up and up
so the path is lit.

But now is not summer
now is the beginning
of a long winter
without you.

A Cat’s New Year’s Celebration

“Are you napping through the New Year again?”“Have you a better suggestion?” “Par-tay!” “Surely you jest.”
“Are you napping through the New Year again?”
“Have you a better suggestion?”
“Par-tay!”
“Surely you jest.”

“We’ve been invited to a New Year’s celebration. All the cool cats will be there.”“The gentrified cats, you mean?” “These are hep cats, the kind you should get along with.” “Get along is for doggies.”
“We’ve been invited to a New Year’s celebration. All the cool cats will be there.”
“The gentrified cats, you mean?”
“These are hep cats, the kind you should get along with.”
“Get along is for doggies.”

“We’re supposed to bring noise makers. I got this kazoo out for you.”“What are you bringing?”
“We’re supposed to bring noise makers. I got this kazoo out for you.”
“A kazoo? What are you bringing?”

"Ever hear of rock-n-roll?"
“Ever hear of rock-n-roll? Hee, hee!”

"Move on over and let Jimi Cat take over!"
“Move on over and let Jimi Cat ring in the New Year with some rockin’ hallelujah cheer!”

“I think I’ll stay home and reread ‘A Cat’s Christmas in Wails’. I love the part where the cats attack that little punk with the snowballs.After that, I’ll get out some old Sing Along with Mitch records. Maybe I’ll ask Archy and Mehitabel over.”
“I think I’ll stay home and reread ‘A Cat’s Christmas in Wails’. I love the part where the cats attack that little punk with the snowballs.
After that, I’ll get out some old Sing Along with Mitch records.
Maybe I’ll ask Archy and Mehitabel over.”

“You going to the party?“I’ve way too pooped. I've been blogging all day long. I think I've got the Blogger's Blues."
“You going to the cat’s New Year’s party?
“I’m way too pooped. I’ve been blogging all day.” “Sounds like you’ve got a case of the Blogger’s Blues.”

"OK. I'll go to the party on one condition.""What's that?" "I don't have to wear one of those silly hats. And I don't have to go outside in the cold at midnight and blow that silly kazoo. And I don't have to have fun." "Yes to all of that. And no New Year's Kiss for you, either." "OK, OK, maybe the kazoo. The kazoo for a kiss." "Happy New Year!"
“OK. I’ll go to the party on one condition.”
“What’s that?”
“I don’t have to wear one of those silly hats. And I don’t have to go outside in the cold at midnight and blow that silly kazoo. And I don’t have to have fun.”
“Yes to all that. And no silly New Year’s Kiss for you, either.”
“OK, OK, maybe the kazoo. The kazoo for a kiss.”
“Happy New Year!”