The case for solitude

What do we really
lose when we are
n o n s t o p
entertained,
distracted,
stuffed full
of other people’s
ideas, words, pictures

What do we really
gain?

Anxiety: but am I
doing this right?
Confusion: where
shall I find direction?
Malaise: does my own
voice count for anything?

 

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Elliott Bay, Seattle

WILDFIRE SKIES

Once again,
in the height of summer
mountains shrink behind
curtains of haze
conjuring the familiar dread
of winter’s opaque skies

But it’s different, ominous
the way the sky brims
milk-white
replacing the meticulous
clear blue of
Seattle summer sky

Collectively we wonder,
the air feeling thicker
than usual, if this is
our new normal

The dim sun pressing
neon rays through
layers and layers
of crispy trees,
houses, anything
flammable

 

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Seattle, WA • Photo by Ryan Adams

PHILADELPHIA, NAKED.

It is a wonder that my eyes
may see the city from such
varied perches, day to day:

By bus: elevated so that
I may gaze indulgently
into wet, dirt-caked
cavities of construction sites
hidden when I am

By bike: so that the flawed
contours of road, frenzied
traffic patterns spill soft
city breath on my cheeks,
ever still when I am

By foot: so that I may watch,
observe, stop at the apex of the
Walnut Street Bridge and see
(for the first time) clumps of
bright clothing, remnants
of bicycles, water bottles
sticking to the concrete
embankment below.

 

INTACT

There is no convenient
time to start over, share
bad news, be ‘off’ at work.

No convenient
time to be heartbroken,
a fact that keeps some
relationships dutifully
intact.

After seeking the abstract,
we search for absolutes.

Routines.
Fresh fruit.
Woven blankets on the sofa.

We labor over mutual interests,
Myers-Briggs compatibility,
and shared domesticity.

Moreover: affection!
Freedom from gender roles!

Still, the Venn diagram:
You maintaining your you-ness,
me maintaining my me-ness —
it’s what keeps our relationship
beautifully intact.

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Greenlake, Seattle

HER ELUSIVE NAME

Is it terrible
that I have to Google my
grandmother’s first name
when I send occasional postcard?

Marian, Miriam, Marion – I never
remember. But Google’s ‘Marion’
has his own Wiki page and
wrote a book, something my
grandmother only ever
aspired to.

Something I only ever
aspire to. My own Wiki page,
my name in print on shelves.

Perhaps we’re not so dissimilar.

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Somewhere in Philadelphia.