home is a human-shaped hole punched out of empty space

Picture of the Day
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May 10, 2000

The oldtimer two tables over at Yak's said, "There are two types of people from New York in Seattle: those who accept it and fit in and those disappointed who want to go back. Which one are you?" Which was an unusual thing to say, seeing as how I hadn't mentioned New York to this eavesdropping old man--full white beard and full head of hair, eyes inscrutable behind thick round glasses, he reminded me of an Ewok wearing goggles. He'd recognized my accent--not so much the sound as the vibe behind the words, which he described as self-knowing, typical of New York, the city he called home until a great sadness forced him to leave and he chose Seattle ten years ago, a good place to disappear. These things happen, encounters suspended in time, a mythic creature straight out of Joseph Campbell who arrives bearing a sign, posing a question, sharing a potion, whatever is needed to guide the hero home.
Just returned from New York, Baltimore,
Wilmington, NC, the question of where
home is is much on my mind. Walking
back up the alley with library books and fruit
in my backpack, I stop by Hal's tower-in-progress,
have a laugh, and help carry a heavy window--the Beast--and get a big sliver in my finger. A little blood, the pain is punctuation, a nail to hang my hat on. No windows or doors yet in the empty spaces looking out from this man's house.