Please download this free ebook as a thank you for reading my posts and a wish for a Happy and Joyous New Year, the beautiful illustrations are by a friend and HS classmate, Cynthia Jones Maglaqui
a pit bull, a rough looking guy, whose bones seem stiff, he is grey with white spots, big barrel chest, skinny legs, his demeaner is somewhat attached as he watches the humans sit, there is a collection of dog food cans, I see him pee on the fence behind the RV, his collection of feces piles around the garbage.
My mornings usually start with my cat Sheba letting me know its time to wake up, step outside, take our walk around the yard. She does want me to follow her around her path, then sit and enjoy the morning with its stars with her and listen to the birds waking and beginning their day.
She gazes at me between her bushes of territory, her look of that connection that loving pets have, this is home and life is good.
When the time is right, she lets me know when its time for her to receive her breakfast.
We step back up the stairs, into our house, I feed her, then begin preparing for my day at work as she gives me a disappointed look and reminds me, she has the track ball, bird on string, and other games that have no possible equal of fun and importance outside of those doors.
As I step into my car, then turn onto the street,
Its difficult to find an argument with her.
8th and Massachusettes has been a “layover” spot for me for a number of months now.
Its also a rather permanent tent encampment.
There are a few RV’s, trucks with campers, and a dozen or more tents.
All in various and continuous states of decline.
There are early mornings I drive by and see a few sitting by a fire or “rough made” BBQ making their meal or coffee but sightings of people there are rare.
The evidence by their comings and goings is evidenced by their garbage and their constant addition of “stuff” broken furniture, lawnmowers, various metal and wood objects, things that make no sense to me, as it seems there is effort at carrying this stuff to the location for no reason at all except for the possibility that it makes a fence around their dwellings, a trip hazard, or lose definition of their space.
Garbage begins to fill in between the spaces of the objects, paper, unwashed clothes, food wrapping, boxes.
The height of this “fence” begins to equal the height of the tent.
One of the RV’s is in rough decline, it started out ok, then windows break, panels fall, tires leak then go flat, the garbage and collection of stuff around it gather high. They have a BBQ, a pit bull, a rough looking guy,
whose bones seem stiff, he is grey with white spots, big barrel chest, skinny legs, his demeaner is somewhat attached as he watches the humans sit, there is a collection of dog food cans, I see him pee on the fence behind the RV, his collection of feces piles around the garbage.
He makes his way around the perimeter, sniffs, on guard as he seems to know its his job to keep a look out, be ready.
I am confident, that whatever the humans do not notice, he does.
Tarps will stretch across multiples of these homes, there are walkways inside and under these tarps ties to the garbage and collections of stuff.
Seagulls, Crows, Rabbits who keep wary of the dogs, Rats I see often scamper from one point to another.
There is a woman I guess to be in her 30s that lives in one of the better kept RV’s, she has found a business across the corner of her parked home has left their spicket available. She access this water for filling cooking pots, general water for drinking and cleaning.
She drops her gray sweatpants relieves herself as she leans against the building. A rat makes a rush for her grocery bag she leans to her left, picks up a rock and is able to hit the bag, the rat darts away, she pulls up her pants, her dirty white t shirt is sweat soaked and no bra.
A man riding one of the red rent a bikes rides begins to ride by, he is gliding a rent a scooter in his hand as he drives by and says something to her, she flips him off.
A small unhealthy-looking Rat makes a run across the intersection, a dirty brown grey gull dives on it, they fight, the gull picks it up in its beak and shakes it dead, two other gulls, a bright white one and a dirty grey one fight the hunter for its meal. They tear at the Rat, but the hunter makes off with the Rat in its mouth while its tail dangles out of its beak.
The woman with the grey sweatpants opens the door to her RV, a can falls out, she kicks it under the RV, then steps up, closes the door behind her.
I begin my route again heading to Northgate.
It’s a busy day, more people than usual for our “covid period”
I hear an older male voice talking to another passenger about what a great looking dog she has and is it ok to pet?
“Yes! Please do… he loves to say hi, they begin talking, her stop is next and she exits.
He starts talking to me about his dog. A dog he lost 4 months ago,
She was the best dog in my life, tells me stories of how he got her at a rescue kennel when she was maybe 9 months old. She always went to work with him at his Martial Arts Studio where he was a sensei.
They ran together, vacationed together and had a bond that the special pet of a lifetime gives you,
He was hit by a car, it ended his career and he was homebound for an extended period of time.
“She was everything to me, she was home.”
He started crying, bawling, “I’m so sorry he said.”
Sir, I understand, let it out, its ok, I’ve had that special pet, I know what your going through. Its really ok,
“She saved me once, she didn’t have too”
“I was downtown, it was late, my back was turned on a group of guys, and one reached out to mug me with a knife.
Before I could knock him down,
She grabbed his arm then tore into him, he stabbed her down her side, she needed 25 stitches and almost didn’t make it.
She was so gentle to the vet, as she laid on the table, she licked his hand as he cleaned her, she was always so sweet, I had no idea she was a fighter until she did that.”
Wow, I said, she really sounds amazing to me,
At the next stop, his hand appeared under my covid clear plexi shield and showed me a picture of her, she was a beautiful brown and white, blue healer, sitting proudly next to her sensei.
He told me more about her, he cried some more, saying, he hadn’t cried since she passed and again, he was so sorry.
We arrived at his stop, he asked me, “do you mind if I step off the front, I don’t want people seeing me like this”……
Of course sir, take care of yourself,
He silently stepped off, he was older than I first thought, may have been 80, dressed in black, black baseball hat, dark sunglasses, his skin stark white, he looked smaller than his voice, he leaned on the brick building and was breathing deep as I pulled away.
It took me a few minutes to recover my breath,
I thought of my previous cat and how long it took to get over her.
I thought of Sheba, and how she greets me when I get home.
Laying on the floor, stretched out, belly open waiting for a gentle rub, her ears perked, her eyes gazing at me with praise that I am home again
And its time for a walk in the garden with her, sit listen to the birds,
Then time for her to receive her dinner.
I will be home.
I have seen them as I drive by, sitting on their mattress, eating, drinking, laughing together, chatting.
For Better, or For Worse
Just south of the overpass called Freeway Park
On the West side of the freeway is a space between columns,
It’s a small incline that ends with a cement wall that separates the space
From 6th avenue.
The freeway just beside it exits to James.
I watch it as there are a homeless couple who have made a tent there,
Or rather a collection of items that include a broken tent. Of which
Stands next to their mattress, which is surrounded by increasing amounts of garbage.
Paper, food containers, plastic what nots, cans, bottles.
They dress like they may have blue collar jobs and keep clothes somewhat in reach of their mattress.
Of which is bare, weathered, stained.
I have seen them as I drive by,
Sitting on the mattress, eating, drinking, laughing together, chatting.
One afternoon about 5 on a Saturday, I finished route 5 and was deadheading back to base
As I drove by their place
They were naked, making love on their mattress amongst the garbage and trash,
It was sunny out, near 80.
They were vigorous and passionate.
Seeming unaware of the freeway as
traffic was heavy, busy as cars changed lanes vying for places in line.
The next Saturday,
As I drove by again, finished with route 5
The area had been cleaned,
The broken tent was gone, the mattress gone.
The area had been raked clean of all the garbage.
In the area where the mattress had laid,
The Dirt seemed darker, barer.
I remembered the look on her face as they made love,
Her open mouth, eyes closed, brow furrowed.
Her feet laid on garbage,
For better, or for worse,
For Richness or poorer,
Sickness or in health.
Then there is air,
A Full Light
It starts at the muffled bottom.
Subtle pull back, then forth
There is pressure, then release
Pulled up towards the light
There is sound with it
Wider, then tighter
Freedom, then confinement.
Light, then Dark,
Like a pendulum, a swing,
A dance that swirls
Then there is Air
A Full Light.
A Wind Carries Droplet’s
Each a prism under the Sun
Some Evaporating into the air,
Some will become
the Hiss that Covers the Shore, then goes silent.
The Water recedes as it gets ready to release its spray again,
As there is always Sun, there is Always Waves.
It is a Rock that feels warmth, then cold, then warmth.
This for the Rock is how it began.
First in fire, then cooled.
Pressure formed its shape.
Constant churning of
Atmosphere, layers of earth, dirt, water, more stones
Tumbled from the depths to the surface over
Centuries, over Eon’s
Over a vast, endless period of time
The churning is a constant
To the Stone,
To the Creatures that walk upon it,
Toss it, build with it, Carve it
It is a constant in their lifetime.
Solid as a Rock.
The Rock will feel the light of days,
Coolness of Nights,
It feels the duality of time,
Creatures that speedily
Live their lives above the ground, then return to the Earth
As waste, then repeat their cycles through dirt,
Grass, Plants, Bugs, Prey, Predator
It will feel the landmasses float on magma as they
Crash into each other
Push up mountains, bury and squeeze Oceans into
Rivers and lakes.
The Rock will ride a land mass below the surface, be
Churned into hot lava to be spit up again,
Churned with other Molten Rock,
Spit up again to cool under the Sun, then the Moon
As they take their tangent infinite spins.
This is the Nature of Rock
It’s sense of time is not Daylight then Nighttime.
It is to be Mountains, then Stones, then Landmasses
Then Lava, then Mountains, then Stones, then Landmasses.
Molten, then Rock
Molten, then Rock
Molten, then Rock
Leaving room in the air
It was between Stars missing its Moon
and on a field
Of once Sun-Drenched Grass
Crickets stopped rubbing their legs
Leaving room in the air for the sound of
the Breeze as it finished its brush with the tips
Of the Grass
It’s a Pause
Empty Air looking to be filled
By something long distanced
That is missing its Moon
Its Sun-Drenched Grass
It is a sound that doesn’t come
The Pause of the Grass Hesitates
The Sun Missing Stars Blink
It is a moment of Nothingness
As broad as there is Horizons.
The Breeze enters from the North
Begins to move the tips of the Grass
The Stars Blink
Restart their Stridulation
All Edges of Land Meet Water
It is Eons of Ion’s and Rock’s
All edges of land meet water.
With the rotation of the Earth,
The Breath of the Wind,
Waves Splash on Rocks.
It is a Shield and Spear Paradox
That makes Sand.
This is why Sand is appropriate for an Hourglass.
It is Eons of Ion’s and Rock’s
It is the way of creatures to be busy doing what creatures do
It is the way of creatures to be busy doing what creatures do.
Single Cell creatures modulate and pulse,
As they are subjected to the currents of gasses and liquids that contain them
Tardigrades perform slow moving acrobatics,
As they feed, breed exist in their ever-resilient skins
In extreme temperatures of hot, cold, full oxygen or no oxygen
Ants and Bee’s work gather and build,
They make patterns of their paths,
Trailing their chemicals to communicate
They Hum while they work.
Birds Sing, call,
They find their mates through a Dance,
Or with a well-built decorated nest.
Then spend their lives in tandem.
Humans sing, dance, make art, build, write.
We leave our trails in concrete, or in sound.
We believe our patterns make our history.
It is the way of creatures,
It is how we keep busy,
It is how we
Keep tethered to each other.
And we reach to other species
Cross each other’s paths for good or ill,
It is what creatures of Earth Do,
As it is surrounded by air and clouds
That move and dance as the Earth spins
And defines its seasons as it rotates
And circles the Sun,
As the Sun
Pulling its orbiting and dancing neighbors
With the force of its gravity
Because We Sing, Dance, Build, Make Art and Write.
Summer begins the wait for Orion’s Belt
I have always felt it was ironic, or perhaps unfair that summer starts with the longest day then shortens with each daylight.
It is Summer that speaks in light.
Memories of glistening Beach Sand,
Then waves lapping on rocks
Clear Blue Horizon with Orange burned in its center.
We close our eyes at a day at the park,
Behind our eyelids burned red orange
We hold a blade of grass in our lips
Maybe the 4th of July
This is a memory,
It is a day that lives in Barbeque, Trumpets and Drums, a Guitar strum’s.
A Balloon has caught its string on a power line,
Fireworks clumsily play with classical music.
And it is a time for Diesel engines.
Around the field marching dust covers footsteps,
That just made patterns.
Patterns of the stars are called constellations.
Each constellation has a story, a myth,
A lesson to learn.
It is placed in the sky for us to see.
We just told many stories while we made patterns in fields.
But those were the days when summers were something different from the rest of the year.
Something different from just another season.
Seasons are what tracks the sky.
It is the entrance of stars in their grand parade over our heads.
As you stand on your grass crouched to your telescope,
Aimed to the heavens with its stories that have been told and waiting to be heard and told again.
It is here that you sip your wine, or your brandy and remember
The waves deepening Blue horizon and Orange burn.
You listen to your stories again as they run again on the patterns made from the craters on the moon
Her Dark hair run through your fingertips in a morning in Santa Fe
Like a Pattern by Georgia O’Keefe
It flows perfectly, abstract, but with direction.
And, there is that story.
Like so many stories that is now being shared with those constellations,
Your place under, with those stars.
It is a procession.
One that could be played by a
Koto, or a Guzheng
As only those instruments could describe your peace, or place or your time underneath these stars
In a way that would connect your stories to theirs as something that does not end with your story or theirs.
It is part of the cosmos.
And I will ramble on as a mind will,
And speak of Fireflies near midnight on the edges of a field in Kansas
The Top of Mt Spokane under full moon getting ready for a midnight run down through the trees at full speed for the fun of it.
Sitting with my Design Teacher at a Japanese Garden feeding Koi talking about Godzilla
My mind wanders and wonders, what my favorite story of summer is
I simply remember warmth,
Being spoken to me by light.
That is my memory of summer,
As I aim my telescope to the southern sky and see the edge of Orion’s Belt.
It is the apex of the arc that we see as a horizontal event.
This paints the picture that we are wrapped in.
You cannot see yourself in Dreams.