Cassin Finch

Made my way to the front door. The finch was sitting on the storage box, squinting its eye at me.
“Good Morning,” I greeted,
It chirped an exclamated cuss word at me as it flew out the front door and over my head.

An Early Saturday Morning,
walking out to my assigned bus under the pink glow of TMOBILE Stadium. I saw a fluttering behind the windshield of 7024.
It settled down onto the steering wheel.
We looked each other in the eye,
its little beak tilted, and its eyes seemed to squint at me.
I began to open the side window, which made the little finch flutter again and fly to the back of the bus.
I reached through the window, started the engine and, opened both doors, continued my inspection around the coach.
Made my way to the front door. The finch was sitting on the storage box, squinting its eye at me.
“Good Morning,” I greeted,
It chirped an exclamated cuss word at me as it flew out the front door and over my head.
I uttered back to it,
“Stuck in a bus all night is no place for you”!
I quickly lost sight of that Cassin as it fluttered back to its freedom of sparse trees, brush, and freeway underpasses.
I searched for droppings, just one near the rear door.

My second run of 106 was quite a bit busier than average.
A woman in her 30s entered the bus very thin, worn jeans, faded green hoody, tennis shoes with holes, no socks. Clearly high on some kind of nonweed substance, but she was keeping to herself and quietly sat down about mid-bus, put her head between her knees, and began to sleep.
I checked on her when I reached the last stop in Chinatown.
She was out. I did manage to wake her, let her know where we were. She wanted to sleep. “OK, but you’ll have to exit the bus when we reach Renton” I let her have her sleep and made my way to the layover, then began my 3rd run.
When we reached Renton, she was still out but, after several attempts, did respond to my loud voice.
She wouldn’t leave, I let her know she needed to or I would have to call this in, “Do you need medical attention”?
No, she said,
Mam, I have to ask you to leave. We need to take this bus back on the routes, and you can no longer stay.
” I need a DR, she said.
Mam, I’ll call that in if you do need medical attention. They will make sure you get off the bus.
She faked going back to sleep.
I called it in,
let TCC know she asked for medical attention, but I had my doubts,
He sternly let me know they take medical requests seriously,
“OK, she asked,” I said.
Shortly both the police and fire department arrived,
asked her if they could help her, she declined medical attention.
“We can’t do anything if she declines help.”
the responder said.
The police took her by the shoulders and removed her from the bus.
I quickly closed the door as she tried to re-enter.
Her head was down, looking defeated and confused in my right mirror as I pulled away.
Later that evening, taking my walk through Lincoln Park, listening to birds being busy with their mating and territory calls, fluttering and settling in amongst branches of Cedars, Pine, and Alders.
Walking on Dirt trails between duos and singles found their way through the crowd. We were all wrapped in coats and scarves, knit hats hiding foreheads, cell phones being held to ears.
It was a crowd moving and in mid-stride to their collective destinations.
The Sun began to rest on the slow blue horizon
the crowd’s shadows were long, then disappearing while the sky turned grey.
Waves on the shore kissed rocks and sand
another Cassin Finch flew by my head and cussed a squeak.
I thought of my rearview mirror, a figure, thin,
head down, quiet with no movement, her shadow on the pavement beginning to shorten as the sunlight was above her.


An elderly woman entered my bus just before the bridge in Freemont.

An elderly woman entered my bus just before the bridge in Freemont.
She asked what the best way to get to the convention center over freeway park was.
I responded that I could drop her off at 3rd and Pine, then she should walk to Pike, catch the 10, and let the driver know where she is going. The driver will make sure you get as close to there as we can.
“Thank you. She said”
A young gentleman entered after her; my guess is he is 18 or so, sagging jeans, a red jacket and hat, dark sunglasses. He didn’t speak as he walked by and stood next to her.
They started a conversation,
“My son is giving a presentation at the convention today; I’m going to watch him,
“That’s nice,” he said. They chatted on, and he shared he had just started community college until he figured out what he wanted to do.
They hit it off, she over 80, chatting it up with him, and his heart seemed to warm to her as well.
We arrived at the stop at 3rd and Pike,
He stepped off first, took her hand, and helped her off the bus,
explaining to her that he would make sure she got to her next stop ok.
Together they crossed through the crosswalk. He kicked a used soda can out of their way, trashed papers blew against the building in front of them that had its windows covered with graffitied plywood.

I continued south on 3rd to the Marion stop
and remembered a building that was recently replaced.
There was a mural painted on the side of a building.
It was an advertisement for Coca-Cola that had been painted long ago.
It faced north. Over the years, its red background softly blended into the wall of brick the building was made of. The white letters of Cocacola greyed of Seattle’s salt air and urban grime.
I had always imagined it had been there for decades facing north, it’s classic graphic lasting those decades from being bright and new, fresh in appearance and promise of being of the times.
A testament to excellent marketing.
Then fading with its nostalgia becoming part of the background, to fading that softened with its color as a newer building demands its space. Then one day, the graphic against those old, well-witnessed bricks are gone and replaced with new metal, glass, and stone that will take the oversight of Seattle’s buildings and comings and goings for the next any number of decades as it takes in the saltwater air and urban grime.
That is the task of our buildings as we walk in and out and pass them.
They are tools that are built for our convenience. Our current fashion will add paint decoration or slapped on attributes,
When they begin to lose their convenience, they have lived their life and will make room for another that will become the new witness in their place.

I often think of a phrase spoken by a Monk:
We are what we think; All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.
And I find all this humanity, In a Bus.

TT Chaufer
AKA: Eric Hall, 22673 Ryerson Base
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The woman sipped out of her campfire mug, the steam breathing upwards as the light rain dropped to the ground.


In the first hours of daylight savings, driving by Goodwill on 6th and Holden.
On their loading dock, a small campfire was burning. A woman in a wheelchair, red blanket wrapped her body, green knitted cap wrapped her head.
The fire was being attended to by a man in a plaid flannel shirt, jeans that had been rolled up over his boots.
His Trucker hat tilted towards the fire as he pushed pieces of wood into the fire.
I thought
The loading dock door must’ve been good for reflecting back the heat and the light.
The woman sipped out of her campfire mug, the steam breathing upwards as the light rain dropped to the ground, silent in the black sky and hum of traffic.
Winter had been stubborn to leave this year.
Its cold and wetness keeping spring at bay for a while longer.
I’m driving the D line up 3rd Ave that day.
Similar Fires have been made at James, the 7-11 at Marion, Pike,
then Virgina.

Street people standing or sitting around the fires,
drinking, eating, smoking.
Wrapped in blankets and coats,
trash feeding the fires.
Their conversations breathing steam upwards with no rain to wash it down again.
I head West onto Elliot, then North on 15th Ave W.
The clouds have parted for the Sun on our first day of spring; the winter air bites back through my cracked side window.
A slight smell of smoke in the air.
I listen to my tires against the pavement, then over turtles as I approach Dravus.
One of the regulars steps onto the bus, swipes her Orca card as I wish her Good Morning.
She says,
Happy Spring.

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

Hail and Cherry Blossoms Before Spring

It’s a Homecoming of sort’s, Robin’s and Cherry Blossom’s

Mid-day across Albro from Ruby Chow Park

Cherry Blossoms have sleeved branches.

White, Pink fluffs under the red belly of a Robin

It’s head darts left, right, up, down and pecks the branches sleeved blossoms,

It is a Homecoming of sorts, Robins and Cherry Blossom’s

It is a statement about spring spoken by creatures rather than a position of the Earth’s orbit,

And an adjustment of clocks while we chant “Spring Forward.”

The skies darken, the air chills, drops of rain, then sleet, then hail bounces off surfaces

Cars, Roads, buildings,

The Robin has left, blossoms loosened by the hail fall to the street.

Ice balls bounce and dance to the sound of applause.

A young woman crouched forward carrying her baby wrapped in a blanket runs across the street trying to protect her baby from the hail.


I recognize this state, have been there.

Last summer on Saturday Mornings I drove east on Columbia, then North on 3rd, She kneels just a bit back from the curb of the street.  Arms at her side, she rocks back and forth as she balls, completely, her tears compete with the drops of rain around her.  It is a cry of hopeless sadness, pain.  Her eyes wide, her arms loose, her gaze at nothing in front of her.  Her sobs are from what’s behind her that does not leave her.

I recognize this state, have been there.

In college, finals week.

Preoccupied with everything, paying no attention to the moment, I arrived at home, opened my car door and did not notice my cat trying to enter my car as I slammed the door.

It took her minutes to die.

I was completely, utterly destroyed.

My knees were also on the sidewalk wailing.

Her pain echoes across the worst of memories and possibilities.

I drive by her slowly, carefully, painfully, my window is open, the smell of salt water, seagulls cawing.

Diesel engine hum.

45 mins later, I drive by going the opposite direction.  She is still there, tears have not stopped.

Behind her now, a middle aged man in a wheel chair eats a hot dog.

This Saturday, another woman, small in stature, reddish tone to her skin, drops her cigarette places her bottle of Dom Perignon on the ground.  I notice that its about one fourth full of water.

She steps on the bus, screams Fucker!! Sits down rings the bell. I stop at the next stop. She does not get off.  I pull forward, she rings the bell and yells Stop!  I pull into the next stop, she ignores where we are at.

I continue my route.

She starts to yell the words from “Always and Forever”

She uses one note. Monotone.

She is angry. Yells it louder.

Then cries, leans her head on the window.

Cusses “Asshole”.

I arrive at Denny and 7th.

She steps off the bus, leans on a bench.

She sobs.

I continue on my route.

Behind her a couple are walking their dog, phones to their ears

Hesitate as the dog sniffs from a safe distance.

A lament or lamentation is a passionate expression of grief or sorrow.

Somedays I wish for a Zombie Apocalypse. The good news though, Seahawks are 4-0

I have more than once heard: A society is measured by how they treat the most vulnerable.
I think it’s evident how we measure up.

I’m going to rant a little bit.
I like my job. I find it interesting. It’s a job like no other if you’re a people watcher. It’s been said that bus drivers encounter more people than Presidents or the Pope on a weekly basis.
So, that is what gives me a license to rant.
Today, 3rd and Cherry, I have seen this man several times this past year. He sits in a provided manual basic wheelchair, the kind Hospitals give to people who need them just before they are sent back into the street or shelter.
He has no legs. He is far too skinny to look healthy.
He has one arm.
He struggles to use this chair. I have seen him trying to push the wheels forward. It’s, to say the least: Awkward.
Back to today. 2 pm. He sits on the street side of the sidewalk, facing uphill on 3rd and Cherry. His head is tilted to the side, his eyes vacant. His one arm dangles next to the wheel. He looks exhausted. He is in a dangerous place as a car speeds up the hill and misses him by a couple of feet.
I see a Prostitute that I have seen with him before. They have struck me as friends, not business. She is a blond, short polyester skirt, stained with street muck, white leather jacket; blond hair pulled back. White skin that is blotchy red, she is moving as quickly towards him as she can to help him.
My light turns green. I move south on 3rd ave.
I am repulsed by what I just saw.
A man with no legs. one arm living on the streets. His best friend, a drug-addicted Prostitute, who probably has a heart of gold. Nonetheless, her occupation creates a risk to her longevity, and her obvious drug addiction also creates risk.
Why do we allow this? Is this the best we can do?
I have more than once heard; A society is measured by how they treat the most vulnerable.
I think it’s evident how we measure up.
The same trip, on 1st between Holgate and Lucile.
Another man has his sweatpants down to mid-thigh, his jockstrap is down too, he is scratching under his testicles, he sees me and tries to wave me down. He has a grin on his face, desperately tries to get me to stop.
I don’t stop; I can’t have that on my bus, I have people that I am responsible for their welfare and safety.
I drive down streets, where both sides of that street have homeless, drugged, handicapped mentally ill. These streets have garbage everywhere, decay, destruction as we build high-end high rises.

I’m a little angry at this point. I have to say, this kind of sequence of events is not outside the norm. This is the world we have built, and its no different in just about any big city across this country, and I’m sure other nations as well.
We are Irresponsible people.
I am one person; I fully admit that I do not have the money or resources to change anyone’s life. I simply have enough money to get by day to day and save a little for tomorrow and hope for the best. There is also only so many good deeds that I am capable of doing and still take care of my own life.
I recently saw the Walking Dead.
It’s a great series, not just for the acting, writing, effects, and eye candy. It’s great because of the portrayal of what happens when we don’t take care of each other.
The people in that series return to tribal status. They have found themselves with a group of people; they work for the better good. When they don’t, things predictably go wrong.
So, they bone up; they take care of each other the best way they can. It’s not always about being a better fighter, sometimes its intelligence, creativity, choosing to walk away, or learning to enjoy the moment. Every person has a place there; every person is important to their tribe.
We obviously do not do this.
We have the wealthiest nation on earth. We have the most powerful nation on earth.
We have a divided nation. The have’s are telling us, that there is nothing to be done to help the homeless, the poor, the disabled, the druggies. Nor can we afford to educate people. They say we can’t afford to help people that won’t help themselves. We cannot afford healthcare; it is not a right; it’s a privilege.
They think these people are lazy, unworthy.
They say this while the rich, the extremely rich get more tax breaks, broader control over the planet, more overall control over consumers. In other words, we spend our money foolishly on the wealthy.
We are a sick Nation, there are days I try my best in my own world to help the people around me, and I do these things selfishly because my world is better because of it. Then I feel better about my world.
I am a Seahawk fan. I am thrilled that they are now 4-0.
Isn’t it great that we have young millionaires playing a game. Owned by the super-rich who makes more money from people with enough money to buy tickets and merchandise to support this lifestyle.
( I say this knowing that so many of those players and teams do good things in their communities.)
Is this the best we can do?
Seriously, who would you rather talk to about life?
A football player, or a teacher, or a social worker. Who would give you the most wisdom regarding life?
I pull into a stop at Chinook street under the West Seattle bridge,
I lower the bus for an elderly man pushing his belongings in a rigged up cart of a dolly and plastic milk boxes.
It tips and spills his items out of the top milk box, some toilet paper, a half loaf of bread, a peanut butter jar, some clothing. He cusses. The 2nd milk box holds a pup tent. A young man with a skateboard who was waiting for his turn to board bends to help him. The old man starts to cry, and it’s obvious he is embarrassed; the young man gets things stacked again, pats him on the shoulder, then boards.
It’s about 230 pm.
I am pissed.
I have tears in my eye.
I drive slow to Avondale, where I take a left, head up a hill.
I am thinking a Zombie Apocalypse just might be deserved.
I am not kidding.


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.