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

THE SUNLIT UNKNOWN

Certain days, it
feels more real
than others.

Sudden understanding,
moments like a
wallet filled with
a finite number
of bills.

Curiosity asking:
“Just what will
I miss most?”

Young adults
everywhere wondering
what it takes: to
enjoy a job or to do
a job to enjoy life?

Intense but brief
relationships offer a
certain pattern–
patterns become the only
long-term investment.

Curiosity asking:
“Is there a moment
when you finally
feel adult?”

Turned off by the
idea of ‘waiting’
for damn near
anything.

Minds plugged into
computers, envious
of the coffeeshoppers
tapping feet to music,

Possibly reading,
researching, reflecting–
something personal
to gain.

Stretching ‘breaktime’
like a theraband.
Who’s watching?

Kiwi awnings at, I
admit, my favorite
coffeeshop.

Certain fondness,
a certain unknowing–
“What will I miss most?”

Never underestimate
the gravitational pull
of the place where
you gained financial
independence.

Also: where you
curated a fine group
of ‘adult’ friends.

Even when it feels
real, this hawk-shadow
of swooping change,
I can’t deny my
giddy disposition:

Us, hand in hand,
walking confidently
into the sunlit unknown.

 

Written on February 11, 2014…shortly after Brenton & I decided we would quit our jobs and relocate from Philadelphia to Seattle. We made the move on June 23, 2014.

 

 

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,
so stilled 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.

This poem was written on January 25, 2012, before I could even conceive of moving out west.

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