Friday, February 28, 2014

Seattle Edition: Rita

Seen on the ferry to Bainbridge Island at about 3:30 p.m., February 27th, 2014

Rita rides the ferry daily, its floating concrete sturdier than land, unsinkable. She eats popcorn. The cloud-choked mountains and black pine shadows are better from a distance, murky symmetry shadowed on a rippling glass floor. She cannot see the people on shore, and the people on board are safe like her, silent, island-backbone-mesmerized, wind-strewn, soft-motor-lulled.

More of a vignette than a story, but that's okay. So exhausted! But sleep is for the weak. Must take in as much of Seattle as I can while I'm here.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Seattle Edition: Essa

Seen at Elliott Bay Book Company at about 3:30 p.m., February 26th, 2014

Essa's father was a tree and her mother was a botanist. When he rocked her in his limbs, when he shook fruit from his branches for dinner, when he cushioned her head with his moss, her father rustled her heritage, the slaughter of his family, all for a paper mill, all for the printed word. Then Essa's mother would kiss her cheek and say that she didn't need books because all the stories she could ever want already lived in her head.

Essa's father died a few years ago--Asian Longhorned Beetle infestation--and her devastated mother went soon after, convinced she would never find another tree as sturdy and green. Essa moved to Seattle then, moved in with an anarcho-punk squatter who loved the outdoors and viewed written language as a tool of the Capitalist overlords. Today she found him sleeping with a young lithe tree, a sapling really, and when sap oozed from her eyes he said he was sorry but half just wasn't natural enough.

Essa is in the bookstore now, she is angry, she is flipping through the pages, eyes skimming over the shapes of words, feeling the paper, searching for family.

Today I ate nothing but meat, potatoes, beer, and an ice cream cone. I hate myself a little bit right now. I love Seattle, though. Gorgeous town.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Seattle Edition: Marge

For the next few days I will be briefly reviving Pretending to Know You while I attend the AWP Conference in Seattle

Seen at Seattle Coffee Works at about 4 p.m., Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Marge likes to pour her own milk in, make sure it's just so. There is such a thing as too hot for her drink, and there is such a thing as too cold for her body--stump neck wrapped and round head covered, despite the sun. No rain is better than rain, but no rain isn't good enough to make her stop thinking she should have moved to Florida with Jean when she had the chance. There is no such thing as too close to her sister.

Marge owns one pot and one dog and she buys two large stalks of broccoli, one for her pot and one for her dog because lately the hills have been reminding her to watch her weight. There is such a thing as too heavy, there is no such thing as too much butter. And that's Marge's problem: her suches and her no suches are her closest companions. Not even her dog is closer--her dog likes his broccoli just so, and he can't tell Marge how to make it.