Tag Archives: Portland

marvin gardens

the port, black and shimmering
what’s the difference between a pier and a dock?
something about our faces, familar
something about dimples
bikes, birds and blue ribbons
all that stuff we hate to love
IPAs half empty or half full
you made me forget how to dance
and tattoos
bodies as temples
a new tongue
and hands

marvin,
thank you for the memory

love, gardens

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s/ ladd’s addition

/I wanted to tell you I remembered that day in the roses/
 

I wanted to tell you that
I do remember some things,

I remember that night in the roses
a stranger turned friend at happy hour
with the drop of a whatever he’s having
a tweed cap and a journal to pass the time
while he waited on the lunar eclipse
scheduled sometime between
us eating chocolate, legs swinging atop a mossy ledge
and
slow dancing in the last of the wet summer blooms
confusing the steps and laughing up steam

I remember that night in the roses
too narrow sidewalks pushed us into single file,
two butts, one bike, past wiry wet lavander
I interrupted the parade to wax poetic about the Pleiades
recalling the seven sisters and other witches
while she schemed a surprise third-date-kiss,
that would feel like a first
something  a little less alcoholic to lift us, 
out of our indivudual and unspoken sorrows

I remember that day in the roses
sun glitttered the blood colored blossoms, fallen, dripping and done
a tender and light-footed pair,
we were penciling new maps, fingering mosses
through the newly hollowed structures of our past
I was shamelessly swollen and open, 
walking boldy on a half-healed broken heart
and you were somewhere between,
wrapped in new bliss and deja vu
and for the first time in two years 
almost content with I am just I
and you are just you.


potato bugs

we are potato bugs
and that’s ok

you are the most gorgeous person
gorgeous because I like the way
the word sounds thick,
rich and too much

I am blown back by the sun
you make me feel rich
like I should be
we’re so rich
like we should be


si

see, the thing is
the last time I saw you
you were fanning stars from your eyes

and I knew it was my fault

I remember the first time I asked to kiss you
summer on the porch

and when granpa died
and I crawled into bed and you held me

I remember asking to call you my girlfriend
wrapped around each other on the little acorns

I remember how you would taste
kissing hello after biking

reading your homework to you
avoiding mine

doing laundry together
holding hands on the bus

morning rituals of kissing you awake
and coffee

your patience
and forgiveness

and when we cried goodbye
in the shower

see, the problem is
I’m grieving all over again

because I’m remembering
all of you that I want
and cannot have.


egan saves christmas

Things with Friend had deflated a few days into the trip, with our plans to go to Forks, WA cancelled even sooner. Little Bird was upset that I was sleeping with her and other people at the same time and had asked me to find another place to stay. So I was laying on the big couch at Egan’s house fussing with my waistband. Cramping and singing quietly along to an old Tori Amos VHS , the sugar skulls on the mantle my audience. I felt like my guts were going to fall out, but I was happy. I was cradling a really really stong cup of coffee from the french press,watching the flecks of almond and coffee grounds swirling all together and knowing that the caffine might actually be making me feel worse.  I love that Tori looks like she’s getting off when she sings. She was singing about roses and I thought about all the roses in Portland, now dead wet rolled up brown pieces of paper. I thought of the gigantic dead sunflower stalks across the street with their squishy white button tops. Everyone talks shit about the gloomy, rainy Portland winters, but I love it. I thought about how I was to return home in a few days and how nothing on this trip had gone as planned. “You are so cute right now”, Egan said as he came into the living room. I thought he was talking to the cat sleeping on a puzzle. “Just sitting here bleeding and watching Tori…” I smiled and thought yeah, this is exactly where I need to be right now.

Later, I felt better and I rode the bus down to the Hollywood district to the dog daycare I used to work at. My ex co-worker had arranged to sneak me in to see some of my old dog friends. There he was, Quincy, my four year old vizsla boyfriend. He remembered me and so did all the others. It was an amazing feeling to be back with those dogs I had cared about so much.

I left the daycare with a spring in my step and sang out loud walking on the overpass on my way to meet Egan. We met outside Grand Central and he handed me half a grilled cheese because he thought I might be hungry. I thought I might marry him. We caught the MAX downtown and sat so that everything rushed by backwards. Pioneer square looked like a movie, all of the lights and people rushing around christmas shopping . We talked about Aden and love and sex and gender and the past and the future. Egan is my favorite Leo of all time and every time we spend time together I am reminded of how amazing he truly is.

We stopped by Jackpot where he bought a special Efterklang record he was really excited about. After some time at Powells we headed to the bus and were stopped by an old friend from Anchorage who called to us out of the fancy bar she worked at in SW. She invited us in and gave us beer. We gave each other the cliff notes of our life and showed off new tattoos. “This is why I love Portland. Portland just gave us free beer!” I shouted as Egan and I ran to catch the bus.

Over the next two days we watched the Efterklang DVD that came with the record at least three times and I became a fan. I finished the scarf I was knitting for Friend that I had put so much energy into, like a metaphor. And I gave it to Egan as a token of my appreciation for saving my vacation with all the laughter and love.

On Christmas Eve Elena came over and watched Queen of the Damned with me. I gave them a speculum I had stolen from the hospital and we talked about love, relationships, abuse, celibacy and the emotional space we’ve had between us this past year.

On Christmas day I packed up my things, ate too much great food, and laughed with good people. As Egan drove me to the airport all I could think over and over was

How can I leave you? HOW CAN I LEAVE YOU?


pin holes into the sky

here there’s a certain kind of light just at dusk
blue stacked on white stacked on pink
the bare trees reach backlit black, upward

I don’t know what to say

a tattoo is made up of hundreds of single needle pricks
we’ve been going to fast
so we sit on the dirty carpet and poke intentionally
into each other
each point is an action
a map
I think of the one on my knee
jess you can
jess you are

in the black sky out the window
I watched the same star all the way back to Alaska
head full and heart heavy
knowing I’d forget the taste of Aden’s mouth
knowing I’d forget the clear color of the sky
what were you like as a kid?
did you get into trouble?
were you shy?

Alex said
that hummingbird and elephant hearts beat
the same number of times their whole lives
and that’s what relationships are like
is it true?
we all have a finite number of chances?

I told Beautiful she was the kind of girl I’d drop anything for
no matter where or who I was with
but I didn’t kiss her in the cabin in the woods underneath a stranger’s quilts
even though I wanted to
I remember vowing to become a musician just to sing a song for her

the people we leave our back doors unlocked for
planning trips and scheduling intimacy
climbing through each other’s windows
the friends we love, the friends we fuck
the love letters we’re writing behind our eyes when we talk
over coffee, over beers
great loves and perfect moments
slipping through our fingers and up into the sky
time and chance and distance
and sometimes working, sometimes not

I want your

cactus
spiral
f note
sunflowers
blue stars
four squares
puzzle pieces
crass
catfish
black spruce
anchor
cupcake
paw print
buoys
roses
airplane
black bird
heart
sinchi warmi
bambi
highbush cranberry
ship
clock
totoro
don’t worry
diamond
imaginary moon phases
stars
stars
stars

I’ve never told you that I love you
I told you too soon
I tell you all the time
I don’t tell you enough


a version of home

What did it feel like?

It was more than physical pleasure, and different than regular penetration. I felt out of my body and I felt more in my body than I ever have before. I thought about birth, death, coming. But I didn’t even want to come, I just didn’t want it to end. The movement, the pushing, the twisting, the wetness of the lube on your hands. A version of home. I trusted you completely, but I was still a little scared. “Almost” you told me later looking at your hands.

It wasn’t our first time, but it was our first time face to face. I thought about how nice my First Time might have been if it had been with you.

Your nose ring kept falling out and you let me ride you on top. It felt amazing to hold you so close to me. Your body hard and soft at once. I was reminded of how nice it can be to fuck your friends. We kissed hard and soft. You pinned me back and pulled me back into your arms, I felt drunk. You bit my shoulder too hard, but I secretly liked the mark it left. We fucked with the lights on and I noticed scars, tattoos I hadn’t seen before. You made faces you hadn’t shown me before. Pressing up against you in the secret attic, I didn’t tell you about a forgotten crush rekindling inside me. You seemed to have enough on your plate.

In the morning you made us coffee and waffles and we talked about family and racism and cultural appropriation and cats and coming out. Outside it was dreary and drippy and dark, but I felt hopeful despite it. You made me feel sexy and respected and interesting. I walked home with music and noticed buildings and windows I hadn’t before.

On Christmas day there was bright sun above the trees outside the window of the empty bus. I watched the store fronts and people pass as I rode through parts of Portland I’d never really been through before. Hiking up my sparkly tights walking from the bus stop, I thought about holding your hand. I fantasized about you riding up on your bike as I clapped my boots down Interstate. You’d flash me that intoxicating smile and I’d think about how good you look in eyeliner. And you’d be thinking what I’m thinking: that I’m leaving today and it’s our last chance to make out. And you’d just kiss me right there and we’d laugh all the way to the party.