8th and Massachusetts

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”

How so?

“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.

As there is always Sun, there is always Waves

Then there is air,
A Spray,
A Full Light

It starts at the muffled bottom.

murky

Subtle pull back, then forth

Tumultuous tossing

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

And bubbles

Then there is Air

A spray

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,

Then Again

Then Again

Then Again

Then Again

And

Always.

As there is always Sun, there is Always Waves.

Molten then Rock

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

The Monolith

Dressed in white,

Placed center stage at a 45

Demanding its center stage as if it’s been to the focal point

Of our life.

We step forward, pause, step forward,

Like standing waste deep in that Ocean Shore so many years ago, the undercurrent weight of the waves push, pull,

Now we Lean on a walker, as we leaned on the big rock in the neighborhood to grasp the lower branch.

  Wheels creek with the weight, grind with the gravity of those memories that pushes each bone toward the ground.

There is a film we watch; one we have seen in the thousands of our days. Some in black and white, others in color, Scenes we have not seen in years rewrite what we thought the story might be.

It is time to step into the Monolith.

Remove the Gravity from our bones, look towards the sky,

Breath the air, smell it, taste it from each scene of that movie.

It takes longer now to close our eyes,

Light might not come back

Breath now we can hear and feel inside our body

There are shadows on the ceiling

Forming shapes, opening a door.

It is now when we decide that our Monolith is built.

In the Park

 

 

7 am at Westwood, the park across from Target, there is a woman lying face down, sleeping, she is brunette, grey hoodie, she has the brown skin possibly an Islander,  her pants and underwear are off, they have been folded, placed next to her elbow of the arm her head rests on.  Her right knee out and almost equal to her hip.

An empty bottle of Jack Daniels lays on the other side of her clothes.

I can’t help but to look at the details of the situation.

It was not sexual for me,

There was some concern of perhaps rape, but her folded clothes, empty bottle, her deep, seemingly comfortable sleep led me to believe she found a comfortable spot.

I pick up the radio and call TCC

The Grass is long in this park, it is due

for a mowing, dandelions are tall, some yellow buds are turning white at the end of tall stalks where one has found itself to be standing behind her entrance.

It’s a warm morning, nearing 80 at 7am, a woman in her 80s that I often see walking, stops, approaches her, tries to wake her. The sleeper raises her head, then turns it the other way.

The elderly woman has a cell phone to her ear as she reaches for the woman’s pants and gently lays them across her rear.

I open the door to the bus, call to the elderly woman that I have called this in, she responds, “I just called too, the police will be here, 2nd time this week I have found her like this”.

You ok mam? “I’m fine, I’ll stay with her.

Thank you, mam, have a good morning.

TCC responds, I tell them to disregard.

A male in his 30s is doing his morning run, stops where the old woman is, they have a brief conversation, he turns his back and faces the street keeping his eye open for the police.

I pull out, start my route, heading east, sun in my eyes.

Crucifix

Earlier that summer the President had people gassed out of a park so he could walk to a photo op, posing with a bible being held upside down and backwards.  When asked by the Press if that was his bible, his answer was “It’s a Bible”

 

On the corner of 1st and Lenora, South West corner there is a man passed out. Like laying on a cross,  Arms stretched out, legs stretched straight, and downhill, shoes had been kicked to the side, his face staring straight to the sky, mouth open eyes closed,  he slowly begins to get soaked as a light rain has started, his empty liquor bottle rests against the building next to him.

A ferry blows its horn from the dock below, as a car heading south on 1st rushes by whooshing a puddle that just misses the man.

Speakers are blaring Bible quotes spoke in a foreign language by a young group of men I believe are fundamentalist,  they hold the bible,  dressed in purple and gold Toga’s  the crowd walking by them are mostly homeless and druggers There is no interaction between the two groups it’s as if they are from two dimensions sharing the same street.

A young couple begin to cross the street towards the man, think better of it as they decide to go around him instead.

His mouth has gathered enough rain to choke and wake him, he spits out a bit as he lowers his head again, this time with his mouth closed. I see him blink a couple of times then return to his sleep.

I check my phone, then facebook, there is a post that has a picture of a Black Jesus, and a White Jesus, the caption reads, if Jesus was Black, would White men be Christians?

Below that pic is a cross that says, remember the Crucifix

She Sells Flowers

 

 

Flowers picked from roadside green spaces, Snap Dragons, Paint Brush, Cow Parsnip, Cut leaf, Coralroot, cut, arranged in found bottles that had been rinsed, but not washed, whiskey, mayonnaise, mustard, mason, whatever bottle found then arranged by height, 20 or so, the tallest in the back, short in front, a handful of flowers in each, not too many, less is more, amongst the offering of arrangements, small hand size American flags, coasters of the Space Needle.

A Red White and Blue ribbon weaves its way through the back row of flowers, the display sits on a tie dye silk throw

Her Mid length, non-washed brown curly hair holds to her head like a helmet, Green and white pin striped button down shirt, holes in the elbows, missing buttons reveal a black bra, her jeans dirty, worn in the knees, rolled cuffs, dirty feet wearing whitish sandals. I think she was once attractive.

How much for the arrangement in back? She didn’t look me in the eye as she said “the ones in back are $7 comes with the vase”

I like the one in the Jack Daniels bottle, “Lovely” she said as she reached for the jar, handed it to me with her eyes down, her body odor was strong, it had a back odor of excrement.

She had a small wagon that I believed carried her goods, her purse sitting in it. She reached for it after I paid her.  She struggled to slip the money in, a needle fell out, the kind they hand out for free at the clinics, orange tip and cap.

I had seen her on Broadway for over a week now and curious about her goods spread out, the staging was attractive, the arrangements seemed to be done with the “right touch”

I was driving by today when I decided to make a visit.

I think she is an artist at heart, there are people who you look at, see their work and it fits together, yes, you can tell they painted that.

As I walked away, I admired my new flowers, beautiful in their contrast of something pretty and something that was used and thrown away as garbage, unwashed, taken to be used for something perhaps better.

Walking towards the train station, a bike road by me, the handle bar hit my elbow I dropped, then breaking my vase on the cement.

I kicked the bottle together, picked up the large shrouds of glass, threw it away in a garbage can.

Ill buy again from her, maybe she will show me her eyes.

The Beautiful

Somehow the warmth of the air brings us inside the perfume of flowers, trees, breeze bringing us nearby kitchens, clicks of glasses with ice, somehow the light and shadow with its strong contrast creates a focal point.

 

 

She walks south on Freemont ave, Red Dress hangs just to the knees, small white floral pattern, brown sandals perfect with the summer dress, her dark hair pulled back to a pony tail, Olive skin, her right hand holding white daisy’s, her left gently swings lose, each step graceful like an ice skater, her head glides like on a rail, she moves through the shadows of the trees, the light dancing on her like she is center staged, people notice her, girlfriends holding hands of their lovers join their lovers in a long look as they hold their breath.

Summer is the time for such moments,

Somehow the warmth of the air brings us inside the perfume of flowers, trees, breeze bringing us nearby kitchens, clicks of glasses with ice, somehow the light and shadow with its strong contrast creates a focal point.

She walked through the sidewalk crowd lost in her thoughts, provoking thoughts of others

She is early 20s, she lifts her hand with the flowers and smells them as she passes an elderly couple, He uses a walker, she has her on his arm , white hair, white wrinkled skin fresh to the sun step into the shade of the tree and  watch her walk by, he kisses her hand then they turn back slowly moving on their way.

A 40sh male riding his bike slows to look at her, loses the rhythm of his pedals, he shakes his head as he regains his rhythm, energy well spent.

I turn my bus west on 46th, 12pm on a Monday, its quiet on this street, not so many shadows as the sun is now overhead, not so many trees, cars on each side.

I think of the time I met my lover at a QFC, we bought Sushi and Ice Tea, we walked to a near by park and talked, we had winter jackets on, hers a light blue, mine kaki, I did not notice it was cold.

The Ladder

Driving South on the Aurora Bridge, Lake Union on the right,

Puget Sound on the Left.

 Chesheeahud was a renowned Duwamish chief and travel guide to Lake Union, Lake Washington, and Lake Sammamish in the days before roads were built in the City of Seattle and its suburbs of the “Eastside”. Chesheeahud was the leader of a Duwamish village on Lake Union. Chesheeahud had a cabin and a potato patch on land given to him by pioneer David Denny at the foot of Shelby Street as late as 1900.

 Landscapers have been busy at the “Canlis” Shrubs have been trimmed, lower branches from Maples removed.

There is a ladder that is leaning against a Juniper, left behind as the workers moved on.

 Crossing the bridge,

A Black Lives Matter sign hangs from its right side and drapes over the sidewalk the breeze picks up, it swells like a sail similar to one of the boats below.

Chesheeahud’s to become also known as “lake John” (canoe was a full-sized Salish style canoe, with gently up-curving bow and tapering, angled stern.  Carved from a single huge log of western red cedar, large canoes of this shape had almost disappeared by the end of the 1800s. This was by the Nuu-chah’nulth from the coast and western.

 A young man, 20 something, dressed in white shirt, vest, tie, nice  jeans leather shoes leaves the bus at 39th and Freemont, I pull forward he slaps the bus and waves, he has left his computer behind.

At 46th and Phinney, then drop him at 65th and Greenwood, I pick up a regular, older man, 70? Wears a grey flat cap, light blue jacket, jeans, white tennis shoes, his line before Covid was to pay a $1, say to me “its only fair” we both will shake our heads with appreciation for the corny greeting,

He awkwardly enters the back of the bus now and seems to feel he is missing something before he sits down.

 

“John was a Lake Indian. His illahee [land], which was given to him by his cloish tillicum [good friend], “Dave Denny,” was on Portage Bay, Lake Union, at the foot of what is known now as Shelby Street. There he had his cabin and a small potato patch. He buried his chickamin [money] at the base of stumps. Back among the stumps he built his “sit down” house,. of which he was very proud and which we would not allow any one else to use.”

 

One person is left on my bus, an older Japanese woman, English her second language sits in front with her cane and mask, I had picked her up at 4th and Jackson by the International District, she leaves my bus at 100th   where I pick her up in the mornings, Her husband is with her , his White Fedora, White Jacket that matches his white hair, he pays her fare, walks her to her seat while he does, he makes sure to let me know he is leaving and where her stop is.

Her Husband is now at 100th, there to greet her, helps her off the bus and both bow and wave goodbye to me.

 Chesheeahud and his wife, known by her Pastid name “Madeline”, were often referred to as “the last of the Lake Union Indians,” since they were in fact the last Duwamish family to maintain residence on the lake as the city grew up around  “Debadidi” (David Denny) and moved with many of his people to the Suquamish Reservation across Puget Sound.

I have continued the route, left my layover at Shoreline Community College, a dozen or so people on my bus, I cross the  Aurora Bridge Southbound, the Olympics are still white with shades of blue as they meet the sound.

On my left is the “Canlis”, with a ladder that has been left behind as workers moved on.

 Sources:

Dailey, Tom. Coast Salish Villages of Puget Sound, http://www.coastsalishmap.org/

Gould, Jim, Professor Emeritus of History and International Relations, Scripps College, Claremont CA. The Montlake Neighborhood,  http://montlake.net/mcc/mcc_history_Jim_Gould.htm

King County Landmarks & Heritage Commission, Change of Worlds, http://www.changeofworlds.org/object.cfm?object=

Thomas Speer

The Bindweed

 

 

 

Seattle has two stadiums that sit on either side of a street in Seattle, not so much now a street as a walkway.

It is landscaped on one side, small perennials, ivy, juniper, bark dust

A Bindweed sends a vine through a small gap between bricks reaches towards the center of the sidewalk, its leaves uncurl, white trumpet flowers, the end of the vine is curled.

People step over, step next to it, occasionally step on it, through the weeks it continues to grow longer. I walk this area again; landscapers have cleared the vine.

Pine street has a walkway between 3rd and 4th.

Today a mid-30s man has stalled in his walk, one foot in front of the other as if in a normal walk, his jeans are muddy, shoes are dark, long coat, beard, long hair dark hair that hasn’t been washed in months. His arms are in a natural swing state but stationary, he is looking at the ground maybe 3 feet ahead of him. He looks like a freezeframe who’s next step is into the crosswalk. People pass him both on the left and right, some step around him glancing behind them, wondering if maybe his is a street performer.

My light turns green, he is to my right as I drive by him. I continue on my route to 2nd, south bound, then east bound back to Madison Park.  I layover for 20 mins, then head back to Pine street about 50 mins have gone by, he has now crossed the street is on my left, a few feet from the crosswalk, frozen, or moving incredibly slow.

The old woman who dresses in black, grey hair spraying out beneath her hoodie pushes her grocery cart of belongings around and past him.

My light turns green, I continue on my route to 2nd, south bound, then east bound back to Madison Park.  I layover for 20 mins, then head back to Pine street