Black birds sleek as polished metal, black as crude oil are dominating the cityscape.

Perhaps you have missed the murder, at least two hundred strong, flying overhead. Perhaps, you have missed the pairs and triplets sitting on wires, pecking up lawns, perched on the edges of building ledges. Perhaps, you have not heard the incessant cawing. Perhaps, you have forgotten to look up from reflectors and screens and bright lights burning from the inside of your palm.

In the morning fog, the bay and sky merge into one. A white wall off on my right behind a screen of autumn organge and the burning red of a slow, cold death. Along the edge of a curving road, grey human eyes meet black crow. Metal beasts pass us, unaware of each of us. We catch one another for a brief second before the fog swallows us whole.

I nod and smile and hope the crow recalls, in the next winter, my bike, my purple hat, my quiet “ohaiyo”. I know those black eyes have the capacity to remember faces, voices, significant moments. I hope that — in the fog and bundled up cold of the quietly coming dark — I am one of them.

You are welcome to this city. Take and tear and tease apart whatever you please.

It’s coming

Bleached white sky and mist that blinds the eyes hangs like lace across the sky. Droplets frozen cling to rooftop edges and the tips of my metal deer. Every moment outside smells, now, like the heart of winter. Something, underneath all of this, is stirring. But it will be half a cycle before we even see it again.

The cuts don’t stop on tree branches where leaves turn gold, orange, amber, and flame. The flamboyance of their growing lack of life. Blood stoppers up inside everything, choked out from ice cold extremities, pooling instead in the core of the belly, where the warmth is.

Just today, I stopped speaking, mid-sentence. Just stared across the room and wondered if the broken, lost, misplaced things of summer would ever come back together. The season changed and the sun hides, while moving physically closer. Nothing to mourn but the mourning over things no-one ever owned.

Every turn of phrase, every ritual, every scrap of some distance spirituality, some flicker of some flame burning on a candle lit with some dark-shedding intent in mind stirs me. The sensation is like a limb, an entire body, life waking where it had been seized.

I, by the approaching winter, feel seized.
So, to stand it, we stand outside and breathe out slow so smoke and inner warmth mix and mingle together. There’s no way anyone can tell, from here, which is which. We ar both warm and cold. We are both alive and dead. We are phsycial and ghost.

In another seventeen days, we both welcome and ward off the yokai, the teasing spirits of the dark and the night and the long dying season without much light. Find some green to keep your hope and drag it to your center. Light a candle or burn a bonfire, and hope you know what you are getting into.

We are on the edge, the verge, the brink of the dark.
I, burning up and frozen down, am ready.