In 1996, when I first arrived in Seattle, I happened to find a balled-up piece of paper on the car floor. On it, I came upon the number of a New York friend’s Aunt and Uncle who lived in North Seattle. Out of nowhere, I called and showed up, and they took me in, fed me dinner, and handed me imported beers; they only had a six pack, and I clearly remember craving more. Actually, I felt panicked. See, back then, I always needed more.
But Aunt and Uncle gave me the whole guest room, and I was stoked, because before that, I’d been sleeping on beaches, forest floors, and mountain sides. Literally, no tent, nothing but my sleeping bag, my body, and the ground. Well, then trusting Aunt and Uncle asked me to house-sit while they went on vacation, so I had a place to stay for another week. Nightly partying downtown at random places, I vaguely remember a smart, skinny boy with dark hair in the picture. Ah, yes, my friend P. He was sweet. But then he was gone. Before Aunt and Uncle and the kids returned, I disappeared as well. I did scrawl a half-legible thank you note, but in my world, in those days, there were no real goodbyes.
When I was hanging out in Capitol Hill, I met L. at a yellow-tinted coffee shop, and we hit it off. That girl was always hyped up about something, but she was super friendly, and when I think back on it, she was probably hypo-manic, but she let me stay on her couch for a short while. Certain mornings, we waited in line for food at the Seattle Food Bank. On a good day, there were bagels. On a bad day, there were huge bags of beans that stunk up her whole place when we cooked them. But L.'s roommates hated me. So one day, I left. I never saw that girl again, but I can still picture her face -- her dark bob, cropped bangs, pale skin, freckles here and there, and how she was always talking about some self-help seminar. When she talked about it, she had weird, googly eyes.
Alone again, I was sitting at some small, dark, artsy bar, when I saw a flier for a hostel, so I rolled in there with no more than one bag, a few books, my journal, and a guitar. I had enough cash for a few nights, so I paid and checked in. This is what our homes looked like, and this was it -- just 4-6 people in a closet-sized space:
My three roommates constantly rotated from day to day. Some of the guys had seven. Sometimes, people crashed in the kitchen or the office. Often, I slept in the backyard with G., the maintenance man, and Ishy, his dog. He was a heart-close friend. For years after I left Seattle, we were dedicated pen pals. G. is in heaven now. Man, he could play:
The original hostel was beyond chaotic – 60 or more people living in the house, and they were mostly all hard party people from all different countries. To give an idea, I remember one girl, C., who stood out because she was semi-normal. Extremely loud, no alone time, lots of music on the back porch. Sometimes, raucous fun. Other times, terrifying and dangerous. Nightly, the neighbors complained. Despite the insomnia and noise, I stayed there on and off for months, sometimes paying by the day, or the week, depending on work or no work.
My friend A. lived on the third floor. We shared the same birthday, and I guess he thought of me as his depressed, hang out buddy, and he always found me beer to drink and food to eat. We were together much of the time. The two peas thing. Most days and nights, I sat on the bench outside the hostel, watching the Space Needle elevator go up and down, writing whatever. Whenever A. saw me sitting there, he’d poke his head out of his third floor window and yell, “You are never going to make it in writing!” Then he’d laugh and come down and we’d play guitars together. Everyone around wanted to "make it." Actually, he was a talented musician and showman, and he was quite handsome, and he could’ve rocked the fame thing. Funny and dark wrapped in one. Maybe he did rock out more later, I dunno. See, there was a fight, and then A. was gone. Back then, people around me often vanished. Maybe they "made it," or maybe they died, or maybe they found some sense of a path, a solution.
I suppose we all have our ways of navigating this ridiculous thing called life. But today, I guess to me, “making it” has to do with love, inside and out, but when I say that, I don't necessarily mean saving the world or becoming a spiritual gaga giant. I mean this: nothing big really -- just want to try to listen to you, to do the right thing, to be honest, to go to the movies, go for a pretty walk, and hang out on the couch with you or whatever. And let's be real. A personal sweat lodge would be nice someday, ha. Actually, if I were big time or whatnot, and I had my choice of amenities, for real, I'd probably choose to have a vegan cook, because I hate cooking, just like my Mimi. :) I know she's laughing and giving me the thumbs up from heaven.
Making it or whatever,
Note: I do remember every name and place, but I omit them out of respect for others' privacy.
A new one for you. All of these poems would make great songs...I always have song rhythm in mind when I'm writing. I've written a bunch of songs in the past, so it's still on my brain when I do poems. I still mess around on piano, but I don't have a guitar right now. I'd like to collaborate with someone on this -- I think I could help make lyrics fresh, give it a little juice, you know. I've always thought that'd be a good kinda job for me. I could write these things all day long -- longer, shorter, funny, sad, cute, you name it, ha. Back to bed for me. I don't feel well. Anyway, here it is.
Over here, one death, over there, one flash of life. Perfect skin. Icing. The blank shots, the followings, the gods, and the bullshit magazines. Cake.
What really happens inside lookers and close-ups, true shades made by true lights, or the others -- inside scenes on TV screens, one reflection in the pan.
Where is the damn place. Looking for directions, head held high, like a storm horse, he’s sliding down her street, looking famously nervous.
Just reposting some photos & such, the ones I like. For me, really, ha. Without Facebook to promote this blog, I dunno what to do. I gave it up, see. Too much info for my already fast-paced brain. Onward and upward. I suppose I'm going to do things the old school way -- talk to people in person about my work, business cards, I dunno. For now, I'm creating just to create, chilling, hoping I'll figure something out. It's frustrating, to say the least. I keep praying for direction and for something to give.
Suggestions are welcome. I'm always open.
But I believe in it, and I believe in you and you, if anyone happens to read this. Hilarious. :)
My kind of church, I suppose. My churches are outside.
I spent the day at a lovely farm working as a groom for a dressage trainer. The horses were all so well-behaved for me, so it was pretty easy to work with them, but I must say, I'm tired and sore, ha. I'm always extremely active, but horse work uses different muscles. Tomorrow=pain. Not sure who my favorite horse is yet. I usually have a favorite. There's a fancy, enormous chestnut gelding with an anxiety issue -- Tuck. It might be him. He was skittish around the trailers and the hose, and I laughed and said, "Wow, Tuck, that is SO scary." And he looked at me with big eyes as if to say, Damn, she's got my game. I like her. He acted embarrassed, and I swear he grinned. After this little convo, from then on, he was all-chill.
Horses' personalities are amazing. It was nice to communicate with them again. They can totally sense (just through feeling) if a person knows what he/she is doing, and they take advantage of people who don't know. They respond well to tone, but better to silence, touch, and easy movements. It's totally about respect. If they know you're "a leader of the herd," and you establish that from the get-go, it's smooth sailing.
My meditation for the day: Feel what's there inside the silence.
Deep, low, and rumbling, through thick lips, your voice poured out like the lonely cave echo. After rolling, star years on the rising road, some days your sound slid into a sleepy whisper, a gravelly grumble, a drowsy drawl.
Bad nights melted into sick mornings, but you
were alive, young, and the songs were clear. Each show, you fought the mean crowd's undertow, and how the wild, slippery fingers grabbed at your long, dark hair, tearing out pieces. Skin and nails were lost and found,
becoming souvenirs, and after a while,
when you were beaten by the relentless war of touch, you didn't feel it; you were all so skinny and numb. All around, wide-eyed officers brushed knuckles against cuffs, slapping palms against sticks, caressing
tasers and guns. When all crowd mouths
opened, when all heads tilted, when all eyes looked up, watching you climb into the rafters, creating a massive yawn, a gaping world, the unexpected tour of all tours, everyone, even the largest men, reached for you.
In 1996, when I lived in Seattle, each morning, I walked all the way from Queen Anne to Pioneer Square, which was a long haul. Each afternoon, I walked back. It took forever. I never rode the bus, because I was constantly flat broke. It was ridiculously dangerous, because in those morning hours, it was still dark out, and the route included some filthy, sketchy streets, but I was incredibly lucky. I never had too much trouble, other than that my feet hurt a lot. For months, I took that same dark route, and I mostly sidestepped danger; however, there were some hazy days, and I know something happened, but I'm still not sure what it was. In recent years, different scenes have crept up on me in the form of flashbacks, but they are still blurry, and I must say, I'm glad. Overall, I was blessed. Unbelievable.
On the way, early morning, I stumbled into the Five Point Cafe for coffee, a smoke, and sometimes an egg sandwich, if the bartender was in a good mood. "Mickey, like the mouse," he always said. Every day, he shook my hand as if we'd never met, and I kept right up with his rude sarcasm. "Christine, like the car," I always said back. Mickey's left ear was so stretched, he had a cork stuck through it. Probably the worst server I've ever encountered, and he cracked me up, but what a dick.
The Five Point was attached to a Laundromat, so from the bar, I could space out and watch the clothes spin on big screens. It was loud as hell in there -- they often played Soundgarden, even at five a.m. Usually, bands hung out in the back -- funny, tattooed guys still partying from the night before. Huddled in corners, they whispered about gigs, sound systems, bodily fluids, drugs, and songs, and there was the occasional scream, laugh, or yell. Someone was always giving someone else some shit. Sometimes they looked familiar, but mostly, I'd see four or five strange guys dressed in tattered t-shirts and pants littered with pockets and holes. Thinness was common. So were burns, track marks, tats, Mohawks, locks, sweaty heads, tattoos, piercings, and except for me, there were rarely women around. Constantly, they yelled at Mickey, but the band guys never talked to anyone else who wasn't sitting with them; they kept their stories close. Looks, scowls, half-smiles. That was about it. In those days, there was a certain wall of angst that covered up any and all fear.
On the way out the door, I passed the young Goth kids. Like true vampires, they stayed up all night and slept during the light hours. Clearly, I remember one girl who couldn't have been more than thirteen. She had stick legs and huge, eight ball eyes. Her face was caked with white foundation and clownish, stark black/white makeup. Eyeliner was smeared all over her cheeks. Whenever I saw her, she weirdly stared at me with those looming dark eyes. Nearly purple. She never said a word. Who knows, maybe she was a vampire. You know, the real thing.
Quickly, with purpose, I kept walking. People asked me for money. Not change. Usually, they asked me for five or twenty bucks. Sometimes rain trickled down, and I never used an umbrella. I just got wet. And so did my backpack -- a weight strapped to my back, one loaded down with clothes, journals, books, and food I'd stolen from the hostel or wherever.
By the time I made it to Pioneer Square, the bicycle taxi boys were getting ready to go, and the pizza man across the street waved and flirted. When I opened the coffee shop, it was quick. Music choice was first, and then I got ready for the breakfast rush. But after the breakfast was over, the regulars started wandering in. A music producer, a slew of musicians, painters, a hair designer with rainbow-colored hair, artists, cartoonists, and people who worked or played at the OK Hotel around the corner, a famous rock joint. It was a wild crew.
Often, the artists were mean, stern, or mysterious. It was the kind of look that was a step beyond aloof, as if they wanted to stay inside their own worlds all the time, even in public. A wall of sorts. But day after day of serving these artists, often the walls came down. Mostly, I went to clubs, ran around the streets, and I was hanging out with a music producer and a painter, but I was always in love with someone else. Because back then, true love wasn't really "on the brain." Because when a person is always in love with "someone else," a person is never really in love at all. But of course, now I know what it feels like when the heart is true, solid, and aching for one, and I am not afraid of it.
On the way home, when I stopped at the Pike Place Market, I watched the random street musicians play, and they were usually so good, they raked in the cash. Many of these street musicians were more talented than the club bands. Out there, playing street music was a whole different ball game, and people were very serious about it. Musicians often fought over the good street corner spots, the money maker locations on the sidewalk. Fist fights, haggling, nasty looks. I was one of these players. At the time, I played in clubs, on the streets, and at the hostel where I lived. I played anytime, anywhere. I practiced constantly, writing song after song. I thought that maybe the music could save me. Something, anything.
Usually, Seattle afternoons were clear during that summer. About halfway back, I always stopped at Lux coffee shop, where I used my tip money for an Americano that was in a cup the size of a soup bowl. Lux was reddish dark and creepy, and the servers were all assholes, but people kept going back for the abuse.
When I finally returned to the hostel in Queen Anne, I was usually beat, but there was no possible way to get rest. See, there were 60 people (give or take a few) living in the house, and there was usually a party going on somewhere. Even my living space was noisy, dangerous, filthy, and at times, violent. Again, I was incredibly lucky.
My walks lasted for months, but then I couldn’t keep up, because the streets took me by the neck. By late summer, the streets took me over completely. Now, years later, I’d like to go back there and visit, knowing what I know now. Actually, when I think back to those times, it seems almost like a dream.
I went to the woods today, like Thoreau, ha. Didn't get any poetry out of it, but I did see the most beautiful meadow ever. Spent some time there, walking in circles. Also, I've totally revamped this site, so I hope to spread the word. Pass it on! And I've added a SYNOPSIS FOR THE HOUSE OF ANCHOR.
Rad. I like it.
Pass it on! Any help would be appreciated. Thanks so much.
is better. You catch me singing at my window. High-pitched, neck stretched, my lids are pressed shut as if the lashes are skin-stuck. Shades hiding your eyes, you look up and smile, wildly waving your arms. Muscles shake and twitch as your fingers rise and fall, cooling my blink, forcing it open. Your hands move for us, changing our air like two paper fans swiping the way through the iris of the world, suddenly turning it all human.
Good morning to you. Lately, I've become rather obsessed with planes, birds, tree tops, and all of the
sky things; I suppose that looking up -- at the sky and the winged ones -- always fills me with a sense of freedom. Indeed, I absolutely love to travel, and I do a fair amount of road-tripping, although I haven't been
on a plane in ten years or so...there have been roadblocks, and I
haven't had the means, really, not even to see my brother. I've never met three of his children. Strapped. Just the reality of it. Unlike many people, I don't feel stressed when I travel. I feel free. Of course, when I'm centered, I can feel that way at home as well. But most of the stress, the fear, the panic, and the tornado that I've felt for years mainly comes from feeling "stuck;" however, I've had to face this fear, sit with it, and deal with it.
Maybe I've been frustrated for what seems like eons but in the past few days, I've realized that perhaps this whole time, the frustration was wasted energy, because something interesting has been happening all along, and that is this: all of these years, I believe that the Creator has been preparing me for a new, more challenging life. Now I see that I needed to be grounded to heal, learn, and build strength so that I would have the tools I would need to best press forward in the future. I may not know yet what form this new life will take, but I feel ready. Through hard work, persistence, and being willing to show up (messy or not), this year has blessed me with freedom from so much fear baggage. And now I feel a new sense of gratitude, a new sense of unbelievable strength.
Which brings me to this: sometimes, I have no idea why things happen the way they do but later, if I keep on following my heart, I can look back and see the miracles. As a human, I may fight the course of things, but eventually, if I give up, get in tune with my spirit, and allow my path to settle in the right place, the divine nature of the life course reveals itself. Like a rare, exotic, white bird.
So I guess I spend time around fliers
because I feel like I'll be up there someday soon. Man, for such a long
time, every time I've walked near them, I've had this hope, the hope that I will be free
to roam and live out a purposeful, meaningful, artistic life. And true
love and whatnot, the whole shebang. Ha, had to throw that in, because I still believe in it fully, even at 41. I always have. My heart hurts, just saying.
They say that a person should hang
out around those things that she/he would like to bring into his/her
life. And so I do. I hang out with the fliers. Today, I will stay focused and keep looking up.
The skies were brilliant yesterday. I thought these turned out lovely. See what you think.
This storage center clearly boasts a certain measure of unsurpassed brilliance with its unique, yet diverse ad campaign; I believe I'll venture to refer to this sign as the "EXTREMELY VAGUE" sign. What business could ever top this masterful, graphic creation? The sheer artistry in the placement of the letters, as well as the primary, vintage coloring have pummeled me with an air of pure, authentic wisdom. In a biblical sense, no man could ever possibly guess what these crafty sign bastards mean. From the outside, there is absolutely no possible way to distinguish what may be occurring inside this facility, which means that any and all passersby are forced to mull over the following thought: I just gotta go in 'cause what the fuck is in there?
Welllll...got pretty thirsty on my walk route today, and although it was a well-maintained, city path, for miles and miles, there were no fountains and no drinks at all, so I decided to head on over to this sign, jump the fence, obtain my permit, shake off the maintenance guy who had a choke hold on me, and climb into the treacherous, nasty, swampy, threatening, confined space for a sip of some fuckin' cool H2O.