Thursday, February 23, 2012

i was riding the subway last wednesday when i noticed intermittent groupings of people that had a black mark of the cross on their foreheads. i was slightly unnerved, thinking charles manson was making a comeback in boston. i told gannon, about my sighting, or my jacob's ladder-esque hallucinations, and he told me it was ash wednesday.

Response to the landscape: Point Roberts

Jeff Downer
Horizontal, Forever.

The guy behind the bar uses different recipes everyday. Todays menu was hot dogs on toast. The only customer other than us was a man who ordered a coffee and stood staring at the wall with a goatee that was long and braided. He looked like he just got out of jail. He sat there for at least an hour, as we ate the plate of toast, cheese and weiners. We then asked the bartender about him. Apparently he visits the bar a few times per night ordering coffee and using the toilet. Panning back, you see us at Breakers, “A Gamblin’ Bar;” written in nostalgic blue and pink neon that reflects off the empty tarmac parking lot, wet from the Pacific's tumultuous, autumnal, clammy haze of moisture, that seeps past your woolen garments and into your bones. This bungalow, townie bar is established upon a rock face with sinuous shrub, fir, and arbutus roots weaving in and out of amber colored dirt, like dark curly hairs that find themselves nestled in a damp sponge. This establishment overlooks a horizon of a remote ocean; its like staring into an envelope: two-dimensional planes of grey that merge in the dark center, the furthest point from your eye. Sitting up at the bar, on a red vinyl stool, you are enclosed by windows that invite you to consider the landscape of infinity -- where an endless grey ocean meets an overcast sky -- that is often veiled, or obscured by the smoke screen, created by the crackling cigarettes that those around you clutch between their fingers, as they emit smoke and mirrors, like a magic trick, from their mouths. The sun washed flower print curtains may not be the ideal frame to this vast, oceanic, environment, where you melt into your chair, experiencing existentialism first hand, as you realize your place in the world and your own personal (in)significance, by staring across the water to Japan, but it will have to do.

You finish your Rainier lager, pay, and clamber through the doors into the outside, leaving the three middle-aged regulars and their vodka cokes with their vibrant yellow popcorn machine and three televisions: Komo 4 News Seattle, a disconnected hockey game, and the food network (inspiration for the chef’s rotating menu). Your struck by the silence that surfaces in between the rhythmic cacophony of the salty waves crashing into the sharp, grater-like rocks, covered in barnacles and torn seaweed. Your breathing synchronizes to the waves (or you would like it to) and you notice your gait, as it slices through the misty fog towards the looming, up-rooted trees, that are being endlessly clawed at -- naked, deprived of their protective bark -- by the monotonous hands of the ocean’s waves. You have a hard time keeping your balance when you reach the gelatinous sand, maybe too many libations (but your lips aren’t numb) or you have been haunting the city’s cement sidewalks too long, and find the natural ground somehow, unnatural.

The horizon exists only because of the large ferry in the distance, that, like a paper-slicer, glides along the ocean’s surface, and visually cuts it from the sky, leaving you with two planes of infinity: as above, so below. The always odd but familiar foam, that peeing mimics in the toilet, lines the shore, and with it, are the ocean’s trinkets and knick-knacks: kelp, bird gutted crab shells, and an enormous myriad of rainbow plastics that have been disjointed from their original purpose, and become artifacts of distant, romanticized cities: Hamburg? Piraeus? Kobe? Barcelona? In one direction this ethereal landscape is enclosed by a barrier; a chain-link-fence, a reference to society, the very thing you came to get away from. Beyond this mesh screen, where air flows fluidly from a public sphere to private one, is a seemingly forgotten, weathered patio furniture set covered in bird shit that seems to resemble a somewhat natural form of graffiti. It’s as if the birds purposely use Mr. ____’s plastic adirondack chairs from Target as a toilet, lets hope so.

The beach is laden with sand dollars, like a jackpot payout at the crazy diamonds slot machine when the tokens overflow your collection basket and spill onto the geometrically patterned carpet covered in chewing gum and cigarette ash. You reap in the winnings, and put the sand dollars in your white plastic shopping bag that is adorned with an image of the stars and stripes above the text “Proudly Made in the USA,” that you got at the USA Mart to carry sundries that you can’t find at home: canned bread and collard greens, vegan tamales, and three bottles of wine for nine ninety-nine. The cashier, the one you love seeing every time, but sympathize with, because you know that he hates his job, with his thick New York accent and resemblance to Don Knott’s character on Threes Company. Or the time you were scanning the bulletin board’s classified section and found an add for a portable Underwood typewriter, which you called, and you ended up getting the USA Mart customer service desk, who transfered you to a voice with his dialect.

Darkness approaches fast during these autumnal months, and the sun that you haven’t seen in weeks is dissipating in a similar vein as a balloon’s when the air is slowly released, only this is silent, and you will find yourself set adrift in the darkened night. Getting on your bicycle, you cycle your way through the wooded path, uphill, passed the cemetery, two decorative plastic deers, apple orchards that have gone to seed, and the abandoned house where you found that mug with the sixties psychedelic landscape painted on it, when a spicy thick pother of smoke gets lodged between your eyeballs and your glasses, causing you to tear up, in the best way possible. The source of this smoke is billowing from a large teepee shaped fire in a cul-de-sac that several faceless shadows are huddling near. You are as helpless as the moths that hurtle themselves at the fluorescent lights outside of the 7-11 at all hours of the night, and find yourself leaving your bicycle on the sidewalk and joining these figures in the primitive art of fire staring. You find out they had a late spring cleaning, and they are burning their old pieces of furniture: love seats, coffee tables, and worn out shoes. They hand you a bag of Tostitos chips and a plastic container of seven-layer bean dip that is making its way around the fire.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I have lived this, and loved it.
and i have a fortune from grandma.