Portland… (It’s Nice and Warm In a Bar)

I woke up yesterday in Portland with interstices.
Fragments. Mental Polaroids. Clips of conversations.
A bricolage of buildings and people. Erratic images…
It’s almost as if I lived two days in a dream.
Nothing seems whole.

“You have to try a food cart before you go,” they insisted.
Holiday lights were festooned merrily through the trees.
They said to forget going to Voodoo Doughnuts.
“It’s too ghetto there. Overrated. Skip it.”
Happy shoppers crowded busy Christmas streets.
“Let’s go to a  bar instead,” they said.
“It’s nice and warm  there.”

There were big rain-soaked boulder clouds overhead.
Scarves hugged our necks. Winter coats warmed our backs.
We meandered wondrously. Jellyfish tourists. Taking it all in:
sticking parking receipts to our windows and watching our breath
turn into ice crystals while eating reindeer meat in our mittens.
Distressed signage clung desperately to the buildings above.

It’s all just a vague memory now.
A ship in a foggy harbor.
I remember excellent coffee,
and chilling wind.
Everybody had a tattoo and there
was fresh food always at hand.
The streets were obsessively straight
and orderly and full of grit and history.
The people were kind, and kind of weird.
There was a lot of personality. Style.

Portland offered the feeling of a really good croissant.
Proving there’s something tasty in simple and light.

We drove 16 hours to get home. North to South.
We arrived just as the rain left town.
Los Angeles was freshly laundered.
The stars shined like diamonds.
The street glistened like a car commercial.

Three days driving for two days of staying.
I ate too much salt and chocolate.
Drank two too many microbrews.
I feel mathematically exhausted.
But I’m consumed by the road,
my heart is asphalt,
my soul is a diesel truck,
my brain is a flickering neon sign.

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve.
It’s time to hang up the keys and
light a candle, play a record.
String some misletoe.

Its time to sing a holiday song.

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