seattle scenes

Wind tearing at my helmet, I let it pull my head back and up, as if hands were cradling me, and stare at the star rich sky sliding above my mother’s head as we thrum up the highway North. I know I’m likely cold, blood slowing and a chill setting in, but I can no longer feel it, I’ve been sitting perfectly still for too many hours. My body has fallen into stasis, it’s merely an organic part of the machine we’re riding, one hand locked around the passenger handle, the other braced on the gas-tank, motionless, and it has nothing to do with me. The only things that move are my eyes, as if the edges of my helmet are the edges of a screen and the stars are a hypnagogic film spun out of my memory.

“I’m sorry your girl left you. It’s hard, sometimes.” “This one was the special girl, I liked her even more than I liked sex with her.” “Though I don’t relate to some of the background there, I do understand. Want to know my sad-hearted secret?” “Sure.” “I knew he’d started seeing someone else, months ago, before anyone ever thought to tell me.” “How’s that work?” “He stopped writing me back.”

An old man three tables down keeps raising his tired voice to answer moments of our conversation. We are five slumped at a table which seats four, geek t-shirts and utili-kilts, politics, software, and video games, tired from dancing, hoping for food. Our perfect, tragic waitress, dark haired, pretty, looks over us to him, frowns, shakes her head, and puts the pad away as we order. “Don’t mind that,” the antique sound of a scratched phonograph, “How was your night?”. She’s a friend, warm, kind, and brings us extra whipped cream in the milkshake we split.

When the man stands up and shuffles past us to the back of the cafe, the dim light erases his face, so he seems made of darkness, only the shape of a man inside a worn thrift-store suit.

I’ll embed myself later, for now this is the surface I work from

A list of common misconceptions.

Something is falling. On my desk, to the left of my keyboard, is a small plate with meat, a pen, a cup of red tea so dark it’s ox-blood, and David’s hat like a black ikon, the object everything else is arranged around. Today I wore it like a talisman, not against the weather, but against myself, as a ward against memory, against remaining asleep. I missed him when I was gone, but couldn’t imagine how he’d fit where I was, where his place might be.

I arrived late by five hours, and felt lost, though my mental map of the city is beginning to be more accurate than that of some people who live there. The accident threw my nerves, the never-ending wait at the border had softened them, and my head hurt from hitting the window. Thankfully, I like the city I was left in, like it better than the one I currently call home, so I stayed happy, refreshed by the place rather than the trip to. Joseph didn’t pick up when I called, but Adam did, and plans were made to meet, to find haven up on Capital Hill. By the time I got there, however, what with Seattle transit only running on a half hour schedule, (which is mad), Joseph was on his way. Clever boy, calling my obvious second shot in the dark.

By the time I got to Broadway, we were four over dessert, sitting as two couples, but three relationships. Cousin/not-cousins, ex’s who never were are’s, connections described in tiny arcs, sparking, amused, created from joyful assumption, certain history, and fact. Over cake we decided to head out to a birthday party, a burner thing up on yet another hill, new people, a new house, somewhere I had never been. I rode with Adam and Anna, as Joseph was nervous of me on his new bike. He’s only a neophyte driver, two months in, on a bike I wouldn’t call a starter. Later I would ride with him, later with less people on the roads, less complexity to our uncertain route.

The party was nice, pleasant people in a pleasant house owned by a famous circus performer who was unfortunately out of town. We sang Happy Birthday, ate cake, and sat in the attic, then in the hot-tub, and got used to being in the same place again, our names transformed into something more colourful, a little more happy, flowing like water from each other to ourselves, warming the hollow under my ribs. Life as a you-had-to-be-there joke, like the importance of soapy water and “thank you, I work out.”

By the time Joseph and I peeled away, it was late enough to go dancing, a staple of our visits, something I haven’t done since I was last in Seattle. We went first to Noc Noc, where we spent an entire night once, but the music was terrible, so we headed off soon to the Mercury, the private goth club, where we had spent out New Year’s, back before we knew each other. Unfortunately, it became private to skirt smoking laws, so it might have better music and friendlier clientele, but that only goes so far when it comes to dancing in carcinogenic fog. It was wonderful to finally move, but eventually I had to give up, so it was there in the black nail-polished dark that I finally pulled out Joseph’s lap-top and got in touch with David, somewhere around three in the morning.

I kind of like this guy. He just seems happy.

post midnight update from a nightclub

Quick version: Vancouver->Seattle bus hit by semi. Result: a five hour border wait and a nasty knock to the head. Missed NZ David, was rescued By Adam. Okay now. At the Merc with Joseph, who is a darling.

Now to get back to dancing until I drop from smoke inhalation. My lips have already begun to tingle.

the only theme I could find is black

Sidewalk Psychiatry graffiti.

365 day one hundred & eight: have a nice day

This is a story: ink hair, Queen street, where the roots are, I walked barefoot, crucified by how beautiful he was, how beautiful he could be, I was unknown, achingly young, it was perfect enough for me. Learning the boundaries of narrative, learning the theme and flow of biography. Another: ink hair, on stage in love, wings as wide as geometry, meeting, a lobby, a lost book, a romance of hotel rooms and late night cameras, smoked with his passions, it was more than it seemed to be, and sometimes less. Summaries, diagrams, lists. An old project is percolating in my head with a newer idea, photographs, coloured string.

He doesn’t like it when I chew gum, but he watches me take out my hair pins as if the act carries the same intimacy as removing my clothing.

Being constructed naturally of disciplined angles, his only defense was to move with a maximum of constant, weightless grace.

Chapter headings in the shape of their hands, page count off how much poetry I can wring from their skin. Something is taking shape: ink hair, a familiar bar, an unfamiliar feeling of awe, music parallel to skill, traveling the next day, his unmatchable grin, every day always too far away, a myth, circling the world twice to end everything thirty feet from where it began. If I took a photograph of every one and layered them, there might be details submerged, but perhaps a clarity for all of that. It looks like: ink hair, eyes meeting, singing in the street, a miracle, his poetry, his children later on the phone, impossible, the sweetest thing.

Digital culture-inspired oil paintings.

“thanks, I’ve been working out”

365 days seventy-four: getting better

From where I sit at my computer, I can lift my left arm up to point at the sky and directly impale the moon.

I came out of Seattle on the wings of swords, dizzy from lack of blood, thin with anemia, in love with long hair and laughter at three in the morning. How is it that we slept so little and said so much? Sheets stained, a hallway, dancing in the main room, ghosted in, refusing to exist for three days running, the colour of his hands in the sink. Revitalized, starving, everything blurring into a week of living out of town, trying to learn where all the streets joyfully go and how they knit together. Red like bricks, white like sheets, windows running, the darkness of a night-club, an arcade of easy decisions lain out to take, simply, delightfully, right.

Monday I arrived and Monday I left, a line on the calendar, traditional and far away, a sweet stretch of time, between an inhale of wind and exhale of sunshine, just long enough to remember what I want and how much of it I can create.

Back in September, the Brickhouse was crowded with loud, unexpected, off-season patrons, drinking while on their way to a club. The bartender glared at them as I took Mike past the main area, the 70’s upholstered couches cluttered with shaggy pillows, a short row of inaccurate pool tables, to the close seats lining the back where our group generally collects. There’s a Ms. Pacman there and murky fishtanks in-set into the wall full of dubious looking fish we always feel mutely sorry for.


I could see the taxis had been quicker, already our friends were there, a pitcher of dark beer resting on every table. Our evening, as the only people who didn’t smoke, the two playing accordion with language, slid from them into late dinner at a Pho place that played porn on a small television in the back next to a table of beat-boxing Korean boys. Laughter, neon, mirrors along every wall. With dawn threatening, the clock reading older: “Where are you staying?” “Nowhere yet.” “So what you mean to say is that you’re staying with me.” Four hours in a bed together before working up to the common revelation we call a kiss. He looked at me like a child who’s seen something truly marvelous, like the astonishing miracle of a talking sock. I felt like a gift, a treasure worth having, a lesson learned well enough to speak a new language, which was an old language, which was exactly a story waiting to bend itself to fit the confines of my personal mythology as well as my bed.

Seattle, where we met-went next, as architecture, as a patch-work of memories I am beginning to sew from day to day. This is where I took a picture of a walk/don’t walk sign, next to where someone grinned and played the rake, taller, thin, dry, not as everything as I knew before, but better, improved. This is where I stood for the bus that took me to Ballard, where the streets are paved in brick, Norwegian History, a story of a dead son, an Italian dinner, and the sound of back-stage banter at the Tractor, “give me your hand”, climbing the fence and staring down at Nicole as she argued with the buttons of my camera, as I wore Mike’s hat and smiled as if the expression were newly minted just for me. How everywhere is named the spot or the dot or the spatter, from sex clubs to breakfast places to all night diners, dark, noisy, crowded, and low. Dancing all night, walking past another day, sitting on the floor of the beating heart of the downtown library, knowing which bus route will take me back up the hill. Refusing to use anything but his full name, two syllables, originating in Hebrew, meaning “he will add”.

365 days seventy-eight: what happens at half ten?

Who was that naked in the fountain? It’s doubtful we’ll ever know, but it is a friend os the family who lives in the pink house basement a block away from the full force impact of forgetting how beautiful his eyes can be, I’ve never seen him need such a shave, December could never be so far away as this moment here, again recognizing my lover and finally feeling my heart breathe.

I am meshing with the city, overlaying memory with memory – a hotel, how strange, sleepless long nights, better than last time, the changes in my life forcing me into a little more. This time with friends, watching my ties as they grow, thrusting roots into the unknown pattern of streets. Eyes stinging from the water as the stars walk by, lights I can’t even pretend to see. Blind. Sitting in a car in a parking lot, realizing that I’m apparently talking to a Jewish martial arts expert composer who runs a store where everything sold is purple and thinking that’s entirely normal and more than a little bit okay. Obviously. Evident like walking through snow, the shape of movement imprinting in the weather. Fire in a room, the shivering unlikely, improbable, and unexpectedly matched up like polarized film. Collected moments accruing into a future avalanche, an altar to where we’re all be next year.

It was nice to meet you, I hope to see you again. With love, and everything else the heart needs around. Knee deep.

visions of fire, of his clumsy explanations our first night

I am a canadian
I am a canadian
Originally uploaded by Foxtongue.

I received an odd e-mail today, proving that relationships may end but mailing lists never die, from Joseph, the rock angel I was with when I lived in Toronto. Zye, his band I lived with in the crazy converted storage hanger in Scarborough, is having a reunion concert July 20th at Holy Joe’s, a place at Queen and Bathurst above The Reverb that I’m almost certain I’ve never visited. Apparently it’s a double-bill with one of his newer projects, Camel Joe. If the MySpace is to believed, Camel Joe is some sort of rock-metal nostalgia band.

If there’s anyone in the Toronto area willing to go take pictures, I would deeply appreciate it.

I don’t ask that you stay for the music, though I would be thankful for a simple hello on my behalf. A connection back to my most beautiful lover would be priceless. Everything I treasure was born that golden summer. It was like my world was set spinning. Everything was perfect, even properly crying over Brenda’s death for the very first time while I crouched between the seats of his orange van as we delivered magazines in the Gay Village. Linger on, your pale blue eyes. His eyes are gold and they drowned me in fire. We never were alone long enough, not once. Now I wonder, but not very often. His hair in the shower went down to our waists.

Marvin Gay won’t get out of my head.


After the Mongolian restaurant that had neither Mongolian food nor (apparently) staff, we climbed out of Chinois Town and left James to go to bed. He’d taken ill with whatever camouflaged “ethnic” food that he’d eaten. Joseph and Michel and I were left unscathed by our meal, though perhaps not by the restaurant, and continued bravely onward, collecting Johnathan and finding Saphir. Mistake. Hipster kids. Hipster kids and hipster goths. If possible, hipster 80’s music. Heavy metal upstairs with a live band and too much badly dyed black hair. Eventually, it was simply too many kids with trendy boots and ironic cut-out plastic earrings and not enough silver lame short short pirates.

So we went on a quest to find funk.

Unsurprisingly, as we’re a fine cluster of geeks, we failed. Not being able to find Rouge, (though I have on good authority that it does in fact exist), the newspaper led us to walking up St. Denis to Mont Royal and the Que De Quat, (sp? Sounds like Kitty Cat is all I know). Also a mistake. Twenty minutes trudging through snow to find that the club had canceled the show was a bit of a disappointment. Lucky for Montreal, next door had red strawberry jell-o. Otherwise, aching ankles or no: bloodbath. Actually, they also had clear plastic dishes of butterscotch pudding. That might have been what really saved the day as the jell-o, though shiny, was terrible.

  • Bob Dylan tries to win over another generation by being DJ and presenter for XM satellite radio.
  • is now offering a special “community” rate, (subject to terms of service), for people who have obscene numbers of people downloading off their site.
  • Other Music, an excellent alternative NY music shop, has listed their impressive End Of Year Best.