Friday, June 22, 2018

Georgetown Part Five: Hat and Boots

When I was little, one of my favorite books was a version of 'Puss in Boots.' The book itself was interactive because it was a pop up book and on certain pages there were levers you could pull to make the pictures kinetic.

Well it would take a pretty big cat to fit into these boots!

I've been to Oxbow Park before, but the delight of the giant boots and hat does not get old! My friend Ces and I had fun taking pictures of the strange giant objects on our Georgetown photo trip day.

I like human's desire to make skewed versions of normal objects by altering their size. My grandmother was pretty much an expert at making doll houses, which is a small version of normal sized things. She made me a grand dollhouse where the lights actually turned on! I had asked for the toilets to flush also, but that was one request too far!

Making big versions of small things as tourist attractions is a commonly used ploy to rope in passing drivers. Where I use to live on the redwood coast, we had a tourist attraction of a giant Paul Bunyan and his Ox. It was called the 'Trees of Mystery.' I lived there before I obsessively took pictures, so sad to say I don't have any pictures from any of my visits. But I remember they would have someone inside the Paul Bunyan who used a speaker to talk to the passing tourists. It was pretty hokey and funny!

I've always thought of it as an 'American' thing to make giant objects as roadside attraction. But I learned Australia has it's own set of notorious giant objects! It is called 'Australia's Big Things' which is such a nice, simple and direct title. There are 150 big things that span across every state in Australia. Some of the big things include a giant mango, pineapple, guitar, gold panner and dinosaur!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Oscar and the Nightmare

Oscar sleeps on the bed. Not everyone agrees about dogs sleeping on human beds, but I think it makes a sleep more cozy and the heart feel safer.

The other day I woke up to Oscar having a nightmare. He was whimpering in his sleep and twitching his paws. I spoke to him gently, waking him up slowly with soothing words and scratches to his back. He woke up, seemed relieved, resettled himself and fell back to sleep at the foot of the bed where he usually sleeps.

Later in the night, I had a horrifying nightmare of my own. Luckily for me, Oscar woke me up! He was returning the favor. He snuggled up against me and we fell asleep with his head resting in the crook of my arm. He rarely sleeps like this. I really think he knew I was quite distressed by my nightmare and was comforting him. He's so sweet. 

Dog's are kind of magical that way. They know how to be there for their people. They know how to comfort you when you need it most. 

Monday, June 18, 2018

Quarter Life Poem: Someone Else

Someone Else

In front of me
on the bus
sits a woman.

She has yellowing hair-
like aged lace.
like forgotten chicken bones.

In my lap
I hold an open book
The pages smell like basements
(a handful of moss.
Cloth soaked in sour milk.)
It is a dreary book
full of lonesome characters
in cloaks of charcoal gray.
Of musty cities
always faintly shimmering
under the constant drench of rain and
dim streetlamps.
It is the type of story that reminds me
that everything ends someday
and everyone I pass
is made of blood and bones.

The woman on the bus
turns around and looks at me
with wild raven eyes
they're round and blue
but still reminded me of
the little coal eyes
of a misanthropic bird

She says to me,
"You sound like someone else,
and you remind someone of someone else."

When she says 'someone'
she says it like a beat of a drum-
the rat-a-tat-tat of existence,
of being yet another someone
in a world full of someones.

I know she is right
with billions of voices around the world
everyone must sound like someone else.

She says it again,
"You sound like someone else and
you remind someone of someone else."

I remember strangers on the street
and how their gait or a simple gesture
summons forth the memory of people
I thought I forgot years ago
not realizing their ghosts linger
in the limbs of strangers.

Maybe I would have seen her
as an oracle of simple truths
if moments earlier
I had not seen her hollering
at the teenagers slumped carelessly
in the back of the bus.

She yelled rolling elegies about
infants on beds of ice
and humans in the shape of animals
whose eyes are so black
they swallow in the night.

While the bus pauses at the stop light
the woman points with one thin finger
at a man on the street corner
waiting to cross the street.

The woman declares
(with a knot in her voice)
"that man has satanic finger tips."

The man has a round belly
and a gentle slouch to his shoulders
his fingers look stubby and rough
like they are used for nothing more
than to help him navigate
through a chaotic world.

When I get off the bus
she stares at me through the window
she looks like she is made of ice
she looks like the whole world lives inside her

the bus jerks forward and rolls away
just before she disappears from view
I see her raise her bony finger
and point at me.

I look down at my fingertips
hoping they will look like they always do
each one with a swirling print
and an uneven fingernail.

I clench my fist
and dig my fingertips into my palms.

I close my eyes
and listen to the voices of strangers
as they pass me by.

Listen carefully.
Each one sounds like someone else. 

Friday, June 15, 2018

Georgetown Part Four: Windows and door

Windows and doors...portals from one place to another. Connecting the inside from the outside, one room from another, this realm from that realm.

This door looks like it leads back in history. It looks like you can open it up, walk inside, and find yourself in the 40's or 30's or 1890.  On one side of the door- people gazing at their smart phones or listening to music through ear buds, on the other side of the door, the clickity clack of horse hooves against the ground. All the people would be austerer yet bedraggled, as they made their navigate life in olden day Seattle. I never opened the door so there is not way for me to know for sure if it is just an ordinary door leading into a building or a door that is a portal to the past. 

While for the most part, these sorts of whimsical wonderings are thought to be ludicrous- some people do claim they have experienced time slips! There is a street in Liverpool England called Bold Street that is notorious for the amount of time slip stories involving it.

An officer of the law named Frank lost track of his wife while spending a lazy day shopping. But he didn't just get lost down the street, but it seemed he got lost in an another century. Stores that no longer existed were suddenly there and bustling with business. People wore clothes that were in style during war time. Modern cars seemed to be replace with old time cars only. He went to go inside a clothing store he had never seen before, and when he stepped inside, he was suddenly in a familiar bookstore, and back in his time again.

In another instance, a woman entered a store to find amazing prices! She gathered many items and went to pay. When she handed the checker her card, she was greeted with both confused and suspicious looks. She was told that the store accepted only money as means of payment. The woman had no money on her and was forced to leave the amazingly priced items behind....behind in history! When she told her mother of the experience, her mother claimed the store she spoke of went out of business years ago!

Another time, a thief was running with all the speed and endurance he could muster. He was escaping the police officer close behind him. The police officer was close on his tails when he seemed to see the man disappear into thin air! The thief was thrilled he had shook the eager officer. His joy soon turned to apprehension as he noticed something was off...everyone around him was in old timey clothes and the very landscape itself had morphed! He walked by a newsstand and saw in bold letters the year: 1967! The thieving rapscallion really started to panic. How had he ended up in past? What about all he loved in the modern world, not just modern conveniences but his loved ones living in the modern era? Luckily, he made his way back into his time, and hopefully, reconsidered his career path as a thief to that of something with more purpose and less deceit. 

I have not heard any stories of time slips happening in Georgetown, but who knows, maybe such accounts have been kept hush-hush. Georgetown always feel a bit anchored in a different time, a certain collision of pasts and present. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Animal Stories: Hoover the Talking Seal

Seals are one of the few creatures that combine a lumbering sort of goofiness with a majesty and an air of deep, soulful mystery. It makes you really wonder, what would a seal say if given a chance to speak his mind? Many years ago, there was a seal that could talk. His name was Hoover.

When Hoover was just a pup, his mother succumbed to the brutality of nature. Hoover was an orphan. A baby seal is just too young and innocent to survive in this great world unassisted. Hoover would have surely perished himself without the intervention of his human foster father, George. George was a true man of Maine! A lobster man, living by the seashore, he had probably grown quite an affinity for the beautiful creatures of the sea. Out at sea, your only friends are the gulls and your sweaty and salty fellow crewmen and the seals that peek up their friendly heads from the sea. Maybe once, when he was young and extra lonely in the isolation of a sea bound ship, a seal swam beside the ship and made him smile. Suddenly the sea wasn't a place of gloom and potential disaster, the sea was a place where sweet creatures made you laugh on a sunny afternoon.

George took Hoover home, where the orphaned pup lived in Georges bathtub. George and his wife Alice fed the pup ground up fish and he ate it like a Hoover vacuum, hence garnering his name. Alice and George probably felt very close in that moment, leaning over the rim of the bathtub and feeding the mournful seal. Soon his grief at the loss of his mother turned to joy at being cared for by his new family.

Hoovers ravenous delight at fish consumption helped him develop the trademark seal rolls of chunk. Soon, he was just too large for a bathtub. So he was moved to the backyard. George set up a tent for Hoover and Hoover spent his days swimming around a pond in the back of George's home. Sometimes, Hoover would get lonely. He would leap from the pond and waddle toward George's home. Hoover would use his strong fin to knock on the door, demanding company. George would open the door and smile down at his seal friend. "Hello there." George would say. The smiling seal was tenacious and charismatic and George couldn't help chuckle at his friend.

Hoover soon established himself in the roll of 'family dog.' Just like a pooch, he would ride in the car with George when he went into town. His shiny, whiskered face, hanging out of the window as the sea breeze blew all around him.

George and Hoover had a very playful friendship. Sometimes Hoover would hide. George would say "Get out of there and come over here." George would sheepishly reveal where he was and come bounding toward George who he would greet with seal smooches.

George already thought that Hoover was an amazing seal, but Hoover soon outdid himself when he began to speak like a little human. In Georges thick New England accent, Hoover began to mimic some of George's catchphrases. "Hello there!" Hoover said. and "Get ovah here!"

Both George and Alice loved their friend Hoover, but the little pup kept growing and craving more and more fish. In order to provide for Hoover, they set up a contract with a company in Portland Maine that supplied them fish. But it soon became clear that they could not keep up with Hoover's ravenous appetite. Hoover was too domesticated to be a seal in the wild, so Alice and George made a difficult decision. They decided to relinquish their Hoover to the New England Aquarium.

George bashfully but proudly told the aquarium staff about Hoover's great talent but his words were brushed aside. The aquarium staff were biologist and people of science not whimsy and seals don't talk. But five years later he shocked all by speaking some of George's catchphrases.

What did George think when he heard that Hoover had started talking again? Hoover obviously still carried a little bit of George in his heart since he was still speaking George's catch phrases. Maybe George would have preferred that Hoover was speaking in the voice of a new human. Then he would have known that Hoover had made new friends, instead of longing for his old pal George. Maybe George worried Hoover felt abandoned. Or maybe George's heart twinkled with delight. His old pal still remembered old George. You could take the seal from the man, but the seal would always keep a little bit of the man with him.

What did Hoover think, swimming around in the aquarium, mimicking phrases from his long lost friend? Did he miss George? Did he think that maybe if he said the things he said to George it would bring him back? Or did he find joy in his new life where everyday he saw new people? Hoover spent the rest of his life in the aquarium and he garnered the admiration of many people. Maybe for Hoover, no other human meant as much to him as George. But Hoover meant a lot to the people who visited him. He reminded straight laced business men about the magic and the wonderment of aniamlkind. He taught children that animals were not so dissimilar to the humans in this world. He taught old women that mystery was alive around every corner. And now, even years after his death, his story still inspires the imagination and the heart. He was ordinary in many ways- a blubbery seal sunbathing, swimming and gobbling up fish. But even the most ordinary animal is extraordinary. Hoover just was one of the few who could verbalize it. 

Monday, June 11, 2018

Quarter Life Poetry: Inside the Botanical Garden

Inside the Botanical Garden

In the succulent room, Joanna
examines the strange and bristled plants
plump with protected water.

She wants to gently press her finger tip
against the sharpest spike.

She wants to tear open each succulent
to see what is really inside.

Outside, it is Winter.
gray clouds huddle together
and hover across the sky.
But inside, it feels hot and dry
Just like the real desert.

Joanna has only been to the desert once.
She drove along the straightest stretch of highway
that she has ever seen.
She never really believed anything
could be so straight, so singular.
In the infinity of straightness
she comforted herself
by thinking
everything straight
must bend somewhere.

Inside her car, she kept the air conditioner on.
But she could still feel the heat
trying to push it's way through.
The rays of the sun
still warming her bare shoulders.

When the flatness and straightness made
her too lonely
she stopped at a market
sturdy and dry as petrified wood.

Bells jangled as she swung open
the dust smudged door
The woman behind the counter looked
up from a magazine
and watched Joanna enter the store.
Joanna bought a soda and a candy bar
the chocolate already melting the plastic wrapper.

"Just passing through." She said while
shuffling through her purse for change.
The lady behind the counter moved her mouth
her skin was golden brown
and creased with dozens of rippling lines.

Joanna left the store
trudged through the heat
back to her car,
still the only one gleaming in the parking lot.

But in the distance she thought she saw
a person stumbling toward the endless horizon
steam and blurred light surrounding him.
But when she squinted her eyes
she saw there was nothing there at all
except for gold sand and a few bristled succulents.

When she got into her car
the steering wheel singed her palms
she didn't leave the car again
until she reached cooler climates.

But in the botanical garden
Mary looks at the succulents and thinks
none of them
could be mistaken for a human
and what if somewhere out there in the desert
are the bones of a man she mistook as a plant.

Wanting to forget the desert drive,
she shakes her head and rushes into the next room
where she finds herself surrounded by orchids.

She sits on a bench
next to an old woman.
Together they admire the orchids
while their thoughts tumble around inside of them.

The orchids look like the head of make believe animals.
Each one strange and rare and beautiful
But together all in the same room
they begin to look ordinary.

"Oh Lucile." the old woman says.
"aren't they beautiful?"
The old woman stares at Joanna with watery eyes
her chapped lips turned up in a crinkled and demure smile.

"Yes." Joanna says and nods her head.
"They really are."
and for a moment, Joanna wants to pretend
to be Lucile forever.

Outside, it has started to rain
the drops gently thud on the enclosure
and slip down across the glass.
The old woman turns her head back to the flowers
while Mary looks past the orchids
at the windowed wall of the garden
where she can see her own pale reflection
streaked with falling rain.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Georgetown Part Three: Houses and Buildings

Georgetown has lots of interesting buildings, both businesses and homes!

The 'Jackson' has a neat mural with a cowboy. 

The drum school has interesting colors!

This building looks covered with orangey rust!

This building has a nice highlighter yellow stripe!

This delightful house has lovely, colorful scalloped-shingles!

.....and this house is......haunted!!!! I found this out after  I took this picture. I wish I found out because I saw a ghost's face in this picture, but alas, there are no ghost faces. I was thinking to myself 'Georgetown's buildings have an eerie haunted feeling to them.' This thought inspired me to do a google search and low-and-behold...this house came up as being haunted!!!

This house's spooky history all started in the early 1900's when Georgetown wasn't a thriving community of blue-collar artists, but instead was a seedy haven for the depraved or the lonely. This very house was once a brothel where hollow-eyed ladies-of-the-night withered away under the decay of their collapsed dreams as they tried to make ends meet in a time where women had little means toward self sufficiency. The owner of the brothel, Peter Gessner, met a grizzly fate. Maybe he was haunted by his role in oppressing so many young and hopeful women into the life of sexual servitude. Maybe he looked into the eyes of one of his newest prostitutes and was suddenly reminded of his little sister, and looking into the young woman's eyes he could see her future rolled out in front of her, and it wasn't a pretty future at all, and he thought to himself, there's got to be something better out their in the world for them and me! But he couldn't just figure out how to get there. Maybe it was this, or maybe this isn't how he felt at all, we can't know for sure. But something led him to take his own life by drinking carbolic acid. Or...was he murdered!?! 

Maybe Peter Gessner had a very fulfilling life as a brothel owner. Maybe the prostitutes were vivacious and empowered by the freedom to indulge in delights in such oppressive times. Maybe the women new the strength of their own sexuality and felt utterly in control of their own existence in a way women seldom did back then. And maybe Peter Gessner saw his contribution to this and felt content and proud. But maybe his wife didn't feel the same way. Some think she murdered him to be rid of him and to pursue a relationship with her secret lover, a chicken farmer. She probably saw the way her boyfriend doted and gently nurtured his chickens and liked this life better than living with a husband who doted on the prostitutes who worked at his brothel. 

Does Peter Gessner's ghost roam the corridors of this haunted house? If so, he might not be the only one. One story claims a baby was thrown out of one of the windows and was then buried underneath a porch. Do the current residents wake up to the shaky cry of an infant, even though know infants live in the house? The newly painted orange and yellow adorning the house makes it seem more cheerful, but it still feels haunted just looking at it. The house doesn't seem like it belongs here in this time of boxy apartments and boxy computers and boxed up lives. But there it stands in Georgetown, proud and bold and full of stories!