I met Blue on the Oregon coast. He ruffled and stretched his wings. Plunged his bill in the water for food. Moved with Tai Chi deliberation.
I followed Blue around like the paparazzi. When Blue caught me filming, he did not fly away.
I took hundreds of snaps. As if I could capture his bird-soul!
I, his pupil, still struggle to learn stillness.
On a walk in Myrtle Edwards Park, discovered poppies growing out of a nurse tree. Mother Nature is amazing.
A youth staples dollar bills to his bare chest.
A woman reacts: “I will pay you twenty dollars not to see that.”
The stapled man accepts the twenty, stays planted in his pain
between the Black Death All-Stars
and the Festival Food truck hawking Pennsylvania Dutch Funeral Cakes.
I imagine the stigmata of his wounded childhood:
Smashed arm off a recliner chair, crumpled beer cans, and his father’s leather belt.
In his Mother’s coffee cup, the ash heap of regrets pile high, turns green.
She once dressed him as Medusa for Halloween.
The bleat of a bagpipe drifts on the wind –
“It’s so lonely round the fields of Athenry.”
A young girl says “Let’s go to the fountain.”
Her friend wears a sign – “Willing to sell I-phone to buy ride home.”
On another stage, a young capitalist offers “Expensive Ass Hugs.”
His counterpoint, a maiden in white, announces “Free Kisses If You Measure Up.”
Centrifugal Force. Like a carnival ride where the floor drops out,
youth spinning, pinned, with no connection home.
Just open-mouthed shock, slack laughter.
“He travels fastest who travels alone.”
From Rudyard Kipling’s poem, The Winners
This is an homage to Alone. She has travelled with me from Chicago to my home in Seattle.
An ancestor painted Alone based on a copy from an original illustration. I know nothing about the ancestor. The painting has been in the family for approximately 100 years.
It seems fitting that I inherited Alone. She was a formidable presence in the home of my childhood. My sisters were not in my play arena. They are 15 and 11 years older than me. I joke with the eldest one that when I was growing up, I was an “only child.”
“No you weren’t,” she says.
But it felt that way. And so while my sisters hung out at the Sugar Bowl with pals, I made up imaginary friends. One of them was Frosty, pictured here with me, Mother, and sisters:
Later, in the basement of our house, I constructed my own wooly home made from blankets draped over cabinet doors where I snuggled inside to make believe this was my fortress which no one in the family could storm.
Eventually I re-potted myself and moved to Seattle and married.
But Alone is still with me. She helped me locate my imagination and realize that “home” — even if attached — is the domain of each individual to seek in his or her heart.