Walk Without Words

SE Portland Triathlon Photo Essay

For the first leg of my triathlon event yesterday, I boarded Line 15 and rode down to the river, disembarking at the east end of the Hawthorne Bridge. I sat in the last seat of the bus, in the left corner, with this week’s New Yorker fiction issue. I had read on the bus stop the Langston Hughes story, written around 1960 but only recently discovered. More about that in a subsequent post.

On the bus, an ad caught my attention, a woman in a red dress, orange hair, the copy: “Be More Brilliant.” The ad was up front, behind the driver’s seat, and I was too far away to read the smaller print. Note though that the imperative doesn’t suggest you are not brilliant. If you are not brilliant at all, you can’t be more brilliant. But why be “more brilliant”? Don’t I attract enough moths already? I thought of the two books I recently put out. Maybe my writing should be more brilliant. I took some pics from the bus of the south side of Belmont.

The afternoon was still overcast, and I felt a few drops of rain as I began the second leg of my triathlon, walking down the ramp from the bridge to the Eastbank Esplanade, a more brilliant name for the shared sidewalk with bike path that runs along the industrial, east side of the Willamette River.

I walked south along the river, a little under a mile, to Susan’s work, where I started the third leg of my triathlon, a short drive to Em’s place to visit the girls.

I didn’t get any pics while driving, driving a car these days multi-tasking enough as it is. The few pics I’d taken of the south side of Belmont, from the bus, came out blurry, not too brilliant. I tried to get a few murals, and a couple of the old buildings, the ones the developers, none too brilliantly some have been arguing, are in a hurry to tear down. We passed a typical east side tavern. I realized I have my shutter delay set too long. I had to anticipate where the bus would be when the shutter finally clicked. At the river I saw the lean-to boat setup again, and tried to get a contrast pic of the east side boat in the foreground with the west side yachts in the background. I paused at the OMSI sign to repeat Oṃ maṇi padme hūṃ a few times, feeling even less brilliant as I moved on. I never tire of the sign of Theory, and took yet another pic of it. The blue building was brilliant in the soft afternoon overcast light.

At Em’s, I snapped a pic of her copies of “Penina’s Letters” and “Coconut Oil,” sitting on the shelf next to her cookbooks, and I wondered if my covers were brilliant enough, or brilliant at all. I think so. But to some, brilliant might suggest shiny, and I went with a matte finish.

In Em’s yard, I took some pics of a flowering tree and a tricycle rained in rose petals. It’s almost dragonfly season here, and I thought how nature always seems sufficiently brilliant, yet also always seems to be becoming more brilliant. Nature is superlative, while we can only ever be comparative, until we remember that we are also part of nature, where we are most brilliant.

Optotype

Line 15 currently detours across the Hawthorne Bridge due to a temporary weight restriction on the Morrison Bridge, which is under repair. I hopped off the bus at the west end of the Hawthorne Bridge, passed the Salmon Street Springs Fountain, and walked south along the Willamette to the eye clinic, just over a mile upriver. I saw some strange markings on the sidewalk, as if math really is fun. A gaggle of signs befouled the views, whispering orders, dangers, and cautions. I noticed there were no warning signs near the mooring bollards, and wondered how many people walking along ogling the view have tripped over them. Rarely do I have to yield to slower traffic.

Just south of the Hawthorne Bridge, I noticed an interesting, kind of improvised, lean-to-dock moored just off the west bank between the bridge and the park beach, downriver from the yacht harbor. The boat and dock set-up reminded me of Anais Nin’s “Houseboat,” and of Penelope Fitzgerald’s “Offshore.” And the usual gaggle of geese casually befouled the park beach area. I don’t mind the geese, though the city has been taking precautions to minimize the goose poop problem. But I was wearing the new Fila walking shoes Susan recently scored for me, and I wasn’t sure the goose path was how I wanted to break them in. Portland is called the City of Roses. You would think the roses wouldn’t mind the geese.

Modern accommodations for travel, appurtenances for getting around – what a mess! Just north of the Ross Island Bridge, workers were just about finished dismantling the Project Pabst Festival. It was a little early to be thinking of a cold PBR Tall Boy. I walked along “River Place,” above the small harbor, and passed by the “River Walk Cafe,” enjoying the cliches, and at the corner of Meade and Moody thought, how about “Mead Place,” or the “Moody Walk Cafe”?

A rowing crew rounded the pilings of the Marquam Bridge (a concrete brouhaha that spans and expands the definition of bridge), the submarine moored behind them on the east bank, below OMSI and the Portland Opera. The Pabst Horse trotted off on a trailer. The Portland Aerial Tram (constructed at a cost of $57 million), juxtaposed with the old Ross Island Bridge, reminded me of the 20th Century: “Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season)”.

Word Pics

MapleTurtle butterfly rock
Petunia seashell ceramic
pot candle wire stand
Gas meter downspout blue
slate red bricks green
hose
Blue wall with painted white
wood door with window
of six small glass panes
framed
Electric meter "Nutone"
metal stove exhaust fan
duct
double spotlight wall
fixture no bulbs wires
grub green fern
blue green blue fescue
grass.

ShellsChain link cedar planks
Redwood boards bamboo
Flower trash cans green
yellow and grey
Sheets glossy green laurel
hedge golden chain bench
Grapevine clothesline
Wire pool cues hall chalk
Ivy baseball bats raspberry
Green wine bottles
in yellow bin.

Azalea if you've read
this far.
Canvas sails to you gentle
reader and happy
Fish nets.
And may your day be free
of commas and other fences.

A Cat’s New Year’s Celebration

“Are you napping through the New Year again?”“Have you a better suggestion?” “Par-tay!” “Surely you jest.”

“Are you napping through the New Year again?”
“Have you a better suggestion?”
“Par-tay!”
“Surely you jest.”

“We’ve been invited to a New Year’s celebration. All the cool cats will be there.”“The gentrified cats, you mean?” “These are hep cats, the kind you should get along with.” “Get along is for doggies.”

“We’ve been invited to a New Year’s celebration. All the cool cats will be there.”
“The gentrified cats, you mean?”
“These are hep cats, the kind you should get along with.”
“Get along is for doggies.”

“We’re supposed to bring noise makers. I got this kazoo out for you.”“What are you bringing?”

“We’re supposed to bring noise makers. I got this kazoo out for you.”
“A kazoo? What are you bringing?”

"Ever hear of rock-n-roll?"

“Ever hear of rock-n-roll? Hee, hee!”

"Move on over and let Jimi Cat take over!"

“Move on over and let Jimi Cat ring in the New Year with some rockin’ hallelujah cheer!”

“I think I’ll stay home and reread ‘A Cat’s Christmas in Wails’. I love the part where the cats attack that little punk with the snowballs.After that, I’ll get out some old Sing Along with Mitch records. Maybe I’ll ask Archy and Mehitabel over.”

“I think I’ll stay home and reread ‘A Cat’s Christmas in Wails’. I love the part where the cats attack that little punk with the snowballs.
After that, I’ll get out some old Sing Along with Mitch records.
Maybe I’ll ask Archy and Mehitabel over.”

“You going to the party?“I’ve way too pooped. I've been blogging all day long. I think I've got the Blogger's Blues."

“You going to the cat’s New Year’s party?
“I’m way too pooped. I’ve been blogging all day.” “Sounds like you’ve got a case of the Blogger’s Blues.”

"OK. I'll go to the party on one condition.""What's that?" "I don't have to wear one of those silly hats. And I don't have to go outside in the cold at midnight and blow that silly kazoo. And I don't have to have fun." "Yes to all of that. And no New Year's Kiss for you, either." "OK, OK, maybe the kazoo. The kazoo for a kiss." "Happy New Year!"

“OK. I’ll go to the party on one condition.”
“What’s that?”
“I don’t have to wear one of those silly hats. And I don’t have to go outside in the cold at midnight and blow that silly kazoo. And I don’t have to have fun.”
“Yes to all that. And no silly New Year’s Kiss for you, either.”
“OK, OK, maybe the kazoo. The kazoo for a kiss.”
“Happy New Year!”

A Cat’s Christmas Carol

"'Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro' the house, Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse."

“‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro’ the house, Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.”

That's because I'm standing on his tail, hee-hee.

That’s because I’m standing on his tail, hee-hee.

Why can't you just sit on Santa's lap like everyone else?

Why can’t you just sit on Santa’s lap like everyone else?

What a mess! Who put the lights away last year?

What a mess! Who put the lights away last year?

Dig it! We got a Christmas card from Jimmy Carter!

Dig it! We got a Christmas card from Jimmy Carter!

Remember the year that cat in chains showed up? Claimed to be a cat from the past. What's the past? I asked.

Remember the year that cat in chains showed up? Claimed to be a cat from the past. What’s the past? I asked.

Won't Susan be surprised when she opens this one! The cat of Christmas present...hee-hee...

Won’t Susan be surprised when she opens this one! The cat of Christmas present…hee-hee…

Is this a good place for this one? Why do you have to hang on my head?

Is this a good place for this one? Why do you have to hang on my head?

"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night."

“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.”

Cat Couple Vacation: A Photo Trip

“Just once I would like to go somewhere for vacation,” I told him, “and not just sit around the house watching you with your whiskers in a book, your tail as still as a surfboard on the Oklahoma Panhandle.”

At the Wild Animal Park. It’s a Dogoneus. It’s on the Endangered List. “You’re going to be on the endangered list, if you don’t start showing some enthusiasm for this trip,” I told him.

At the Cat Dinosaur Museum. “We’re getting smaller and smaller,” he said. “Soon, we’ll be as small as mice. It’s called Existential Evolutionism.” “Is that why you’re always so bummed out?” I asked him.

Finally, he had some fun. Here he is on the Cat Teacup Ride.

In Japan. “No, it’s not The Beckoning Cat,” I told him. “She’s beckoning me,” he said, “to take her on Antiques Roadshow.” “I can’t take you anywhere,” I told him.

At the Colossus of Cats. “It’s not size,” he said, “but the sharpness of claws.”

Back home again. He’s doing some research on mice and re-reading all his Black Cat Books. Next year, he wants to visit all the great libraries of the world. I told him he can do that on his laptop. “I want to go dancing across the tierra of Los Angeles,” I told him. He looked at me like I might have cat scratch fever. “There is no earth in Los Angeles,” he said. “Yes, there is,” I said. “You just gotta dig it up.”