Monday, January 21, 2013

Southwest Portland on a Winter's Night

Nights in Portland, Oregon can hardly be considered sultry, even in the summertime. In winter, however, they are much less than that. The nights begin mid-afternoon and stretch on for well over fourteen hours. The rain falls. But occasionally, a clear night produces a sense of the wild in a city dweller. It pulls out the spirit by channeling the inner Bruno Schulz in all of us. We need only get from the opera to home to retrieve a wallet, and if on a winter's night under the deepest of distant stars, we return home via the Cinnamon Shops, well, all the better.

The Quest stands outside of the Standard Insurance building. Water pours over it all day, all night. Properly lighted and from certain angles it seem like the man will almost reach the woman's breast. By day, the fountain is photographed by all passing tourists. Apparently, in other places fountains with men reaching for nipples doesn't occur.

The night, frigid as it was, was not unbearable. My circular walk through Southwest Portland began at my home with the apex at an old and familiar haunt of mine. At the bar, I spoke with a young lesbian about books. She seemed to have a thing for the tough-guy writers of the days of yore. She spoke of Bukowski and Hemingway and moved to the softer voices of Grass and Vonnegut. I had to like her for that. I tried to get into the conversation the likes of Murakami, and Ishiguro and Brautigan and Spallholz. The reads I love these days. The young woman, and I do mean young, was 17 years old when Vonnegut died. He died in 2007, if you don't remember. Her girlfriend was not having it, the conversation, that is. The two left to slam junk, I was told. Sad. When they were born, I was nearly as old as they are now, and I doubt they'll live to the age I am now.

The return home, I figured on a snap shot of the world I know: the nighttime world of a boring, sleepy city plagued with drugs and myopic daydreams of a green world fueled by big dreams and small intellects.   

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