Grey day, and with much thanks.

Lazy slow grey day. The chill in the air is akin to home’s summer heat. Kind and gentle it is on my skin. I laid out and watched lizards and geckos like roaches scurry so fast my eye can’t track the motion. I on stuck in slow-motion while the little life is rushing in double-fast-forward.

Slow progress, slow bike ride into the bike shop, slow help at the kitchen table, slow life. In a couple more days, I’ll be molasses goo and you can make coconut-macadamia granola from my liquified brains. I’m a gooey sweet treat, roll me in potato starch, and eat me up for dessert.

Two outlines done. Still need to get around to that dog ghost with a red nose, and the pumpkin I’ll say “be kind to me” on. And the watermelon — tropical pumpkin — carved with maybe a grinning face, green lips, bleeding teeth. Authentic horror-movie shit.

And maybe the rain will come and wash all the yokai away?
Not a chance. They only dance in the puddles while we shake droplets refracting streetlights from our hair.

The evening spent playing characters via the web. It’s fun to bullshit and get close to the ones we make up and pretend to love.

Spoiler alert ===

I will be killing Charcoal soon. The outline like fate is already writ, the plan laid in place, the moment of destruction set. Oh how I will miss the muthafucker, too.

In each draft, you will shine brighter and rot quicker and I will only love you more, more, more.
But you destroy all the others, and I love them too.

Ah, the conflicts of life.

O’ahu rainfall

Went out in a sudden downpour. Skin drenched, bubbles of ocean rain speckle my arms, my hair, my face. The wind as I rush by doesn’t dry me but makes me chill. The air is still thick and warm, but I am cool as I pedal in my hardest gear, testing new wires. Installation was easy and the bike shop was friendly and we talked about the Chuckanuts and the rain, of all things.

I met a stranger neighbor mid-loop and we talked about the big island loop, and I was told to know where I ought to go. This is the sentiment I feel, again and again.

Oh pacific trapped island people, you huddle close together against the ocean and the cloud-topped mountain peaks. You lie in wet valleys and on simmering soft summer sand. You see the selfish spirits of the world encroaching and you know you have nowhere to go. It’s no wonder you feel closed.

I am not testing your doors, only waiting on your shore. I only want to learn, to love, to see.
I mean you no harm and I bring no weapons in my hands and no guns on my hip. Only this knife to cut wires so I, like you, can run another course. But we run in different ways, and that’s okay.

You are island, I am big land bay.
We share fog and rain but we diverge in the length of the night and day. We run winter in different routes. I have less time and you have less cold.

But we are not so different, drenched in the downpour — as we thought. I bow to you as I pass and I see you smile.

Sunset, sunrise, another day

Sunset on the eastern shore. The sun tucks behind mountains as they gather the clouds sweeping in overhead.The sky is powder blue and neon orange and dusty, night-tinged purple-pink. Clouds stand pure puffy white gigantic against the growing grey. Some make shapes, letters, characters, words in languages I can’t understand. Some are the hands of some sky-cloud god, I swear, reaching for the land. If I were at this sky’s mercy, I’d pray to you for rain too. I’d call to the wind, personify you, and burn fires to sacrifice precious charcoal to your made-up name.

ハワイ妖怪 (Hawai’i ghosts), I would sing and dance. And praise you when you gave me secret dreams of happiness in the night. But since I do not know you, I can only show respect.

As far as my eyes can see, it is open ocean. Nothing but water and cloud, water and cloud, on and on until you reach not Japan, but the Pacific Northwest. I reach Washington and home. I can stare out at the distance between us and realize it is farther than five hours makes it seem. Should planes stop flying, I’d be grounded here for months.

Adapting now is what’s cool. The thing to do. So I’m learning to drink my coffee the tropical way — raw cacao, coconut milk, and cane sugar. No milk because there are no cows or goats to be milked here. Eggs come from the mainland and are processed, chem-washed, and waxed. There are roosters and chickens, but you are hard pressed to find their eggs for some reason.

I wake and feel hungry, but I’m thirsty so I have a breakfast of water. Second breakfast of coffee as described. Third breakfast of fried apple banana, mangos, and rice.

Cats shouldn’t be locked inside human structures. They get angry. I know why, but I don’t enjoy their bitter and resentful company. They want things from me I don’t understand. When I don’t give, they piss on my bed — apparently.

All morning wasted washing sheets and pillows that still smell like piss. I had to wash my face because I inadvertently stuck my nose in it. Fucking sick.

I’ll get out soon and fix my broken gear-shift cable after a dragging uneventful ride down to the shop, stuck in the slowest gear possible. I’ll cruise along like I have nowhere to go, and when I get my cable re-installed — get back to life at the speed I like.

Venture down, again, to the beach. Funny how its proximity and the air here makes me feel guilty, strange, off if I’m not there. Maybe it’s preconceived notions. Maybe it’s just that nowhere else is as nice. Maybe, today, I will dive in the water. Maybe I will find sea swallows brilliant glittering white-blue on the sand. Maybe I will use seed pods like paintbrushes again and write in 平仮名 (hiragana) just because I can. Maybe I will leave マジック (majika) marks all over this mountainous ocean land.

No plans. Don’t need any. Just rolling with the flow.

A first journey, there and back

Rainbows hang in suspended water, beautiful above my head. I can see both ends clearly, but the arch disappears into a washed blue sky. I accidentally approach the base, the secret land three times. I have no fear of that — but I don’t know. Maybe I should. They act like I should. I ask, smiling, anyway.

“I’m trying to find the Pearl Harbor bike path.”

No-one really knows. An unknown route along the edge of the water that should exist.

Direction is three confused officials and two fellows pedaling like me. I follow where I can and listen when I need. And soon,I find myself pedaling not through paradise, but exile — trash cluttered and scented with rot and western social run-off.

Rust covered tarps and cinder blocks tied with half-broken twine. The smell of garbage layers deep is sweet vomit sick; it burns the nose like stomach acid, fresh and warm.

Cats like rats and little hard-pressed-to-fly birds like roaches. Roosters are dogs and dogs are vultures here under highway overpasses marked: No Trespassing, Government Land.

But this isn’t the high wood-planked walls with their secrets they want to keep safe. No, this is  wasted land. Around every shadow is a hardened exile gang. District privilege clings complicated cobwebs to my glowing skin. I try to wipe it away as I bike on through, but how can I?

All my inner-district rebellion has no place here, picking nervously through graffiti walls and rivers tangled with plastic bottles that smell like death. On boats and behind broken fences, with their lives sprawled across the mud are broken Jugglers and snapped Ash Trees. Canal hands and feet that scatter like timid cats around me as I and my metal steed rattle by.

Life here is not elegant, floral, pretty. It is not indigenous, ingenious, on purpose. It is lost and forgotten, poured-to-the-top full of soured bitterness dragging its heels through dead palm tree fronds and coke bottles and dirty plastic bins. It is abandoned, discarded, and left out to ruin. It is oppressed, pressed down, and scraping by.

Adaptation

Hot summer sun, hot only to me. Sweating underneath autumn layers from further west or east. Either way, we get back to where we were. There is no terminal point on a sphere, so we only go around once, around again until we figure that out. The interconnectedness we feel is the vibrations of this reality we experience together, one isolated instance at a time.

The first day, the air feels like a wool blanket I’m hiding under. My skin and my lungs remember the cold, the mold, chill autumn fog over the ocean. Sweat is wet, but not cold. The rain is wet, but not cold. The world is wet, but not cold.

And this is the days before Sam Hain? Strange.

Off into Air

Preparedness gets one far enough to fake the rest.

In all the ways I could have thought of, I’m prepared. Of course, its the surprises, the orange brown snakes in the autumn leaf pile that get you. Despite how hard I try, I’ve been gotten over and over again. Little divots and holes in my arms and legs where sharp needle teeth sank in. Poison coloring my skin. I turn into a sunset sky, then slowly, night.

Death is both black and white. I’m orange, yellow, purple, blue. My lines are colored outside the marks — you point out. Not with a hand or a finger but a gesture. Two bodies, ships passing one another in the silent bay. Neither captain calls because why would we?

Next, is a bike in a box. It’s funny complicated infuriating when you try, try, try and still can’t get the pedals off. The handle bars won’t go. The tires come off, go on, come off, twist round and tangle cables around your neck. Lift the body out one more time for the grave and this next time, it’ll stay settled.

Tape. One of those minor details easily forgotten. But the store up the street has got some and if you sell your ideologies to the devil — you can have it.

Got it.

Cab comes or already came? We drive off together and I don’t pay any attention. Now, why would I? Trust is a funny thing I like to just engage in. Jump off bridges and don’t look back. Stranger, watch my bags — but we’re at the airport and that’s a big no-no. Dump my tea down a sink because security says I can’t drink it fast enough. Wait while my solar bag is scanned because of just that. Books like bricks clutter the top, bottom, middle. A feast for a bag and bad for my back.

Dinner is crackers, dehydra apples, and sausage I cut hours ago. Tea that should stop my skull bones from separating from my nose bones from my jaw bone up in the air.

Metal needle pokes a hole in the sky. Inside, there’s cells that drink beer, water, wine. Pay the wrong cost at the wrong time and nibble on cheap, stale pretzels twisted by machine arms.

I’m no bird and I hate to fly. But this nomad heart takes the means it can to get me where I need to go.

Back home.

Gods and fires in bushes and swans are all the same to me

New versions of me and new versions of you meet on the street, two years in the future. It’s a simple collision. I am passing through. You are on your way back from somewhere downtown. I’m heading to a place I’m sleeping, and you’re heading home. I smile and you smile and we stop instead of just passing by. We touch hands, briefly; we can’t explain why. We both think to hug, but we don’t. We could explain why a thousand times, each.

“Are you alright?” I’ll ask carefully.

The answer will be yes or no or I don’t know.

And I’ll say good or I’m sorry or hm.

We won’t touch again and our eyes will cease to meet. One of us will turn away first. And we’ll go on, our lives woven in completely separate patterns, on winds that blow neither this way nor that.

This is what the ageing of loss feels like. I’ll see you in a handful of years again, maybe. And we’ll dance this danse again. Brief, balanced on the edge of remembering, speaking to ghosts of love past. Whispering on our tongues as we wander away, anew:

I hope your life is good.

I had imagined once, foolishly, I’d be the one to see it. You smiling peacefully, so warm and bright like a summer afternoon. But we are never a part of the end of the stories we begin. And so, I no longer imagine foolishly; I only hope.