Rider, pt 1

Posted in Uncategorized on April 7, 2012 by Aran

The ride home is always an adventure right around midnight. Even — maybe especially — on a Tuesday night. The old #44 isn’t full of weekend drunks and party-goers, just your hardcore, day-in-day-out crazy annoying fuckers. The trick is not to sit too close to any of’em, and to make sure you don’t accidentally touch their stuff on your way in or out of the bus.

I don’t know. I’m feeling funny. They warned me, told me, it’s not uncommon to feel a little groggy. Maybe even a little bit nauseous. It’s more of a shock to the system than I would have ever thought, getting tattooed. Not just a skin burn or scar. That’s what Billy told me it would feel like. Feel like I’m getting sick, really. Only deeper than I’ve felt that before. Not just a scratchiness in the throat or whatever. Not that at all… there’s a dreaminess like a fever… This is like a serious drain. Like something’s sucked some life out of me. I dunno… maybe just rack it up to a really long day.

Fuck, I’m starting to sweat. But why? It’s damn cold in here! Can’t wait to get home. Only 12 stops after we get over the bridge. Hope we don’t have to hit every one of’em.

Wow… check out this guy just getting on, his tattoo. Cool kinda tentacles running out from under his black t-shirt; out from under the sleeve, all around his elbow & on down his forearm. Must have a full-on octopus or something on his upper arm or shoulder. He’s a fuckin’ bruiser that one. Wonder how many hours he spends in the gym every day; standing there watching himself pump iron in the mirror day-in-day-out to look like that. Very cool, though, his ink… very realistic. More detail the more you look at it. Seems to gain more depth, become more real… but then I look away and then look back and it’s just a tattoo again… think I’m still kinda drunk or buzzed or something.

Guess I’ve gotten in the habit of eyeing other peoples’ ink all this time I’ve been trying to figure out what I wanted. Finally thought I knew; had it all figured out when I went in the shop. But the guy — the artist — he sorta showed me why that wasn’t such a good idea. Suggested something real different… in fact, now that I think about it, he didn’t so much ask until after he’d started in on my tattoo… Almost like he never intended to do what I wanted. Maybe that’s why he kept handing me Jaeger shots. Least, tasted like Jaeger, little sweeter. Probably should have eaten dinner. Do tattoo shops usually try and get you drunk while you’re getting worked on?

To be continued…

Slide

Posted in Uncategorized on March 31, 2012 by Aran

The River that runs through Elevenbridge — like all rivers to some greater or lesser extent — resonates like a plucked string with all those other great Rivers: Time, Styx, Lethe, Jordan & the so on… Each laying down layers of sediment as they go, sliding from out of where and when like a snake shedding its skin. Each layer of sediment that’s shed might grow to bemoan a Side or two or more of its own, and perhaps even coax a Bridge to step upon it. And like all good sediment, Where and When — once anchored — encourage and embolden enough of their fair share of happenings, dreams, births and the aftermath of drownings to carry on, just like always.

Shanghaied, Blackbird

Posted in Uncategorized on March 23, 2012 by Aran

 

shanghai  (ˈʃæŋhaɪ, ʃæŋˈhaɪ)
vb  , -hais , -haiing , -haied
1. to kidnap (a man or seaman) for enforced service at sea, esp on a merchant ship
2. to force or trick (someone) into doing something, going somewhere, etc
[C19: from the city of Shanghai ; from the forceful methods formerly used to collect crews for voyages to the Orient]

 

shanghai 

1854, Amer.Eng., “to drug a man unconscious and ship him as a sailor,” from the practice of kidnapping to fill the crews of ships making extended voyages, such as to the Chinese seaport of Shanghai; lit. “by the sea,” from Shang “on, above” + hai “sea.”

Online Etymology Dictionary. Douglas Harper, Historian. 23 Mar. 2012. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/shanghai>

 

Historians have stated that although the tunnels exist (underneath Old Town/Chinatown) and the practice of “Shanghaiing” was sometimes practiced in Portland and elsewhere, there is no evidence that the tunnels were used for this (and no evidence for Portland being a center for this kind of practice) – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanghai_tunnels

 

Blackbirding is a term that refers to recruitment of people through trickery and kidnappings to work as labourers. From the 1860s blackbirding ships were engaged in seeking workers to mine the guano deposits on the Chincha Islands in Peru.[2] In the 1870s the blackbirding trade focused on supplying labourers to plantations, particularly the sugar cane plantations of Queensland (Australia) and Fiji.[3][4] The practice occurred between the 1842 and 1904. Those ‘blackbirded’ were recruited from the indigenous populations of nearby Pacific islands or northern Queensland. In the early days of the pearling industry in Broome, local Aboriginal people were blackbirded from the surrounding areas, including aboriginal people from desert areas.

Blackbirding has continued to the present day in the Third World. One example is the kidnapping and coercion at gunpoint of indigenous people in Central America to work as plantation labourers, where they are exposed to heavy pesticide loads and do back-breaking work for very little pay – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackbirding

Slow, Slow Tread

Posted in Uncategorized on March 20, 2012 by Aran

Most who live within the many cities that are this single City are unaware of the stance — the timeworn and slow, slow dance — of the Bridges. Small and brief and moving at most along their single-most blindered configuration and orientation. Moving back and forth in a straight line along a small and well-worn daily track. Brushing up far more often than they would ever like to know against others who travel more widely, as it were, but still nowhere near widely enough to truly know; likely traveling these wider byways without consciously knowing how, or even that they do. None ever at all aware of the greater City clustered close and expanding ever around them. All patiently measured by the slow tread of the Bridges along the edges of the River.

Little Wren

Posted in Uncategorized on March 15, 2012 by Aran

She sat
Perched between
Wrist & forefinger,
The little blue wren

Sat up on her wrist,
Looked her in the eye
With first her left
Then her right
Chirping some
Sometimes talking.

I could not make out
what it was they said,
One to the other,
Something small
and private between
the two of them and none

In a blink
The little wren
Falls

Drops into the milk-white
Skin of her lady’s upheld hand
Artful pigment blends
upon body’s lines

Tattoo…

Skips then hops
From wrist
To elbow
To bare shoulder

Suddenly
To fly
From out her
Left shoulder blade

Off and away
Blink and gone
A fully formed
Fragile and flying bird

‘City’ Means

Posted in Uncategorized on February 24, 2012 by Aran

Another word for Armageddon; for Ragnarok

Legions routinely slain every day, only to arise fresh the next morning
The site of countless battles, daily… Hourly
Count them off… one apocalypse down on the hour, every hour
A myriad small and constant wars
Played out day to day season on season and year upon years
As the city lays itself down like sediment to sleep
over and over again along the banks of the River
Ruin upon ruin ever renewing and ever new…

And the Bridges straddle them all.


Time & Times Are Done

Posted in Uncategorized on November 17, 2011 by Aran

There are as many Bridges as there are sides to set foot or wheel or steel upon them, and as many Bridges as there are Cities for them to serve… which I suppose presents us with something of an infinite digression — really more a procession — through space, if you have time enough…

Ah, and there’s a wrinkle… Time enough indeed. Where is Time and what is Time and who ever has enough of it and where is it flowing? Well, I say it’s time — High Time, just not yet Tea Time 😉 — that we start trying to tackle these questions, because some will have you believe that Time is running out…

Time flows…

The key to understanding all of this is the key to the Bridges, themselves. And of course, they each have their own key (some would say, sets of keys). But understanding is key, nonetheless.

Names

Posted in Uncategorized on October 24, 2011 by Aran

The City sits on a host of names… Stumptown, Port town, p-town, Port Inland, City of Smiles, Bridgetown… Most of them, you have to dig for the meaning behind the name, the history… All except that last one — Bridgetown — that one’s pretty obvious just driving through on the interstate; bridge after bridge across the River. Like it’s stitching the land together. Like the two sides would just drift and widen and open up a maw of water that might one day rival the very ocean that this River is itself ambling toward if they weren’t sutured together.

But while that may have more truth to it than many might even dream, it’s not much in the way of a visual metaphor for the many bridges in this town. The ones most people mean, the ones most people noitice are in no way quite so uniform as the stitches on a wound.

No. These were all built as organically as any City gets built, one after the other… each designed for its primary purpose of getting folks and getting there stuff from one side of the River to another. But also each with so many other purposes built in: service to vanity, service to aesthetic and style, service to more places and powers than most anyone crossing them might ever guess or dream… much less know.

Some bridges are tall, others shorter. Some go up and down. Several are bridges to only one apparent mode of transportation, where most accommodate at least two or three.  And it is extremely important to know how a Bridge ties into each of the sides that it joins if one is to traverse a Bridge successfully; to get to the place that you are intending to go. For there are always more than two Sides to any of these coins… I mean, Rivers.

By the way… remind me sometime to talk about the coins placed upon the eyes of the Dead… a fascinating digression indeed!

Rain

Posted in Uncategorized on October 23, 2011 by Aran

It rains here, more than in most places. Some would have you think a lot more. It’s not really all that bad, though. Weather changes a lot, is all. Just the talk doesn’t.

No, it’s more that folks talk about the weather here… Talk about it a lot. Possibly more than in most places… just like the rain. What with the weather changing so often, I guess it gives’em all quite a lot to chew on, constantly moving their jaws up and down… Some days I’d say it’s more “whine” than “talk” though. ’cause it isn’t just the rain. It’s the temperature, too. Or the humidity. Or the wind. I’ve never lived in a place before where people were so particular about their environment. One of the City’s monikers is “City of Roses”… City of Orchids, more like.

Begin Again

Posted in Uncategorized on October 22, 2011 by Aran

And so it begins, though it’s never really stopped.
Can we really say anything has truly begun if we do not remember a time when it wasn’t already there?