Short Talks on My Favorite Portland Destinations
by Hadara Goldsmith
The scent of freshly printed pages and crinkled old papers wafts into my nose as I step inside. I stare at walls of spines and rainbow rectangles on racks as I brush wet bangs from my eyes and unzip my soaked jacket. I walk slowly past the cashiers, across the pink room full of children’s books, up the stairs, through the aisles of history books and arrive at my favorite section, the little corner on the second floor where they keep the lesbian literature and queer studies books. I drop my backpack on the floor and immediately start scanning the shelves, stopping at intriguing or familiar titles and pulling them from their places, forming quite a sizable stack of books beside me as I search. I choose a book and dig in. The floor tiles become grass beneath my back, and every so often I squiggle like a worm out of another customer’s way. I no longer get lost in the maze, just roam and read and stroke and sniff, and I breathe in characters and plotlines and exhale morals and answers to discussion questions, and I taste every letter, swallow every serif.
Metal chairs and tables on the sidewalk, I am greeted warmly by friends, furry and four-legged, two-legged and smooth, criss-cross-applesauce on the sidewalk. Eyes and hands held together, two sad separate days joining on concrete cracks and cigarette butts, shoes make imprints on my legs, we are sad today, we have been sad since Tuesday, the warm weather made us cry. The didgeridoo hums behind us, we listen carefully.
Face to the glass and eyebrows lift, arms wave, lips spread, violin through the door and strings vibrate
I am bombarded with hugs and exclamations of love, I am inside, I am outside, I am inside, I am outside, I am the notes of a trembling violin string, frantic and screeching, fickle, I want to be the hum of a didgeridoo, steady and constant, grounding
I am outside, criss-cross-tomato sauce on the sidewalk, twisted spaghetti thoughts spiral endlessly through me, tangle up in my hair
I am inside, musical chairs between performers, napkin scribbles,
“you are beautiful, you are beautiful, you are beautiful,” I am here.
On the SE Holgate Max Station~
Cars whiz by, loud,
Heavy rain pounds, loud,
Drowns out sound,
Fog drifts over mountain, blocks off view, blur,
It is all a dim blue blur,
Timber truck races towards mountain fog, city bus teeters towards city center, train tracks twist delicately, it is all a beautiful dim blue blur
A bottle of tiny glass beads? $1.25. A broken wicker basket? $3.00. A mystery family’s beach photos? $0.01 each. A pair of mismatched shoulder pads? $0.10. Recycling art supplies and saving the world? Priceless.