We start in a parking lot, between two white lines.
Car radio sounds are heard: music to talk to music to talk…
Raw aluminum-alloy lamp posts, tall as prison towers, uniformly point toward the sky.
Women and men with bags and babies. Big mess. Obeisant, humanoid-faced cars wait, some humming mechanical lullabies.
(As if watching someone do voiceover for a Disney animated movie we cannot see.)
I am at home between the loving arms, these white lines. These silent boundaries.
The trouble with Tacoma, there’s a sleepy veil of depression billowing up and drifting back down, daily. Never quite enough to keep the crows and jays from flying, or the people from driving, but stellar association isn’t ever what it might be elsewhere.
Second strange plane flying overhead. So low and quiet, so flat and colorless, most folks don’t even look up. Don’t smile.
If Wells Fargo were Safeway, would the money in its vaults taste like Death by Chocolate and cheap beer? Would midnight to 4 AM see an endless queue of drunk, snack-craving depositors and closing-shift employees ready to night-drop bulging till bags of Teriyaki vomit and tattered twenties?
As the ejaculating cars thrust forward, piercing the diaphragmatic intersection, the red glow of the stoplight grows old, blurred and meaningless with the wait. Peak pressure. Full aperture: green light. I remain balanced, track standing for an extra moment next to the street’s vacuous storm drain. Will it rain on Tuesday?
How long could a vulture capitalist scam like Target exist in a society that prized quality and authenticity over quantity and expedience? And, if so realized, would its people’s feet rest easier in socks from manufacturers that supported rather than preyed on the majority of citizens?
Green to yellow, it’s such a brief intercourse, and then yellow to red. I remain balanced on two wheels with two narrow tires made in some other country with softer, less healthy, manufacturing and export regulations for a company that craves a “slight” increase in profits for a slightly increased chance of success … of raises to engorge its top two percent’s cushy wealth.
If Bank of America were Defiance Bicycles on Fawcett Avenue, would its half-dead denizen debtors slowly but assuredly progress into healthier, balanced and self-empowered people on a true path to prosperity?
The red light bursts into an emerald green, blinding all eyes trapped behind windshield glass, and I push forward with a dynamite enthusiasm born on pedals and steel.
K. Shawn Edgar | Limited Edition | Tiger Lily | Mars Rover
M, do you remember the line of puckered spider bites along your backbone? I said they were there — four or five — touching each one with my thumb tip. You said, French Dip; and we threw on yesterday’s clothing going out the door.
In the lobby restaurant at Toby’s, we soy-sauced our sour cream apple flapjacks. You had a second breakfast of French Dip on a club roll with pickle spears, and I followed up with a French tricolor banana-split-malted milkshake.
M, do you remember our walk along the greenways after breakfast at Toby’s? Interlocked fingers, a breeze from the East, and a brief string of kisses while sitting on the bench next to the sleeping homeless man. We are and are not alone and together. One from one, out of many. More or less.
The green spaces and parks here act as lungs for an aging city; we’ve smoked too long from the broken pipeline of crude oil and coal. More parks — green, unfettered, biodiverse spaces — would mean more filtering capability. More lung power. The Boz Project for UP Tacoma is our only hope.
M, do you remember the words syncing our footfalls as we walked? More or less:
And then came the opposing cry, or barking, of the street-side cryer. It disjointed our unity with its repetitive banality. Bark, bark, bark!
The words thudding like the hammer of a sick drum: convenience, satisfaction, discounts, definitive delights. Inside, inside, inside — all the things you need, on sale! Satisfaction! Trust our representatives. They’re people just like you.
M, it seems we all need a helpfully healthy dose of helplessness… don’t we? To get us moving forward with purpose.
Our desolate Madrid is in decline. So be it, or be it so? We are at fault. The barker and the listener, alike. The fruit we poop does not simply decay and reenter the living sphere, it stains and remains. So we must be the balance. We must be the keepers of the greenways. The cleaners. For our body, for your light.
M, do you remember?
K. Shawn Edgar | Nightwatchman | Howard’s End | The One True Cog