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August 20, 2007

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Rainy summer day in Seattle. Really, a rare occurrence.
In the nurseries they sell drought-resistant plants
because traditionally there has been a long dry season
to complement the even longer rainy one. Whatever;
I've only been here 9 years. But maybe it's the rain
that got me thinking you can predict the future by
looking at people's faces. Not that they even know,
but some unconscious premonitory cast plays out
on strangers' visages in the in between moments,
out on the sidewalk between doom and destination,
the faces I saw don't bode well for civilization.
Maybe it was the rain. That's enough to make most
people gloomy. But after 2 pints I was curiously happy.
Sarah was there, we walked down the sidewalk hand
in hand. Maybe we were the cause of their miseries?
Blueberries were scattered on the sidewalk, dropped;
we paused to photograph them and I brushed one off
and ate it. Why not them all? Bad habit to leave it. I
turned camera off just as woman came up sidewalk,
clutching a CD, peeling its clingwrap, she looked like
a robot, something missing from this moment of triumph,
another purchase successfully accomplished. Her face
looked as if smothered by deep layers of diaphanous
plastic, a slow invisible accumulation of murdered days.
Other faces looked lost, angry--or was it just me?
Maybe suppressed stress is coming to the surface,
the days of beer and chocolate hang in the balance.
A face that could carve granite scolded her whining dog
tied up outside Mad pizzeria, finger thrusting like a gun.
Her anger was perfect, as was the man's in the pickup
truck, government-approved music turned up just loud
enough to make him the center of the universe in, of
all places, the self-proclaimed center of the universe;
something was impeding the next 15 feet of his progress
and he didn't know what it was, so anger bloomed,
fueled by confusion and a cultivated self-righteous fervor.
He had never been wrong and wasn't about to start.

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Their anger warms me, like walking on the sun....