I dreamed about your pen. I went home after class and found your "special" pen in my bag. I put the pen back in my bag so I could return it, but found it later on my coffee table. I put it back in my bag again, thinking I must have thought I put in in my bag when I didn't. I went into the kitchen to make some dinner, breezed through a small stack of mail, and there it was again. The pen, sitting on the counter. I put it back in my bag. I buried it in the bag. I snapped the bag shut. Then I busied myself with this and that, the kinds of homey things that endlessly need doing, reached in my pocket for a tissue and extracted -- the pen. The pen, the pen, the pen! It wouldn't go away. It kept resurfacing. I began hiding it now -- throwing it in a drawer, stuffing it behind a pillow on the sofa, even throwing it in the toilet and flushing. It resurfaced. Shiny. Rolling towards me. Nudging me. Then poking me, jabbing me, the cap flew off and it began stabbing me, squirting me with ink. My eyes stung. I sat up in bed, rubbing my eyes. I grabbed my phone, pressed in your number and left you a message, "I've got your pen."
She wore a bandana around her short, curly hair so that it framed her high forehead. Her sunglasses rested on the bandana. She was pale. Timid and mouselike. Narrow shoulders, small frame, small face. The bandana made it appear even moreso. She had a timid posture. Timid voice. She held a fountain pen and tapped the quill on a pad of paper leaving little blobs of ink that she would occasionnally push into odd shapes.
She was drinking from a jar. Some kind of milky, orange liquid with sediment floating around in drifting swirls as i rushed toward her lips with tipping and then falling away to the bottom when returned to the table top. A rolling ocean of bile-like liquid. Her brows were knitted together in an angry glare, body posture defensive and yet challenging. She held her hand to her face like a fan, screening herself from possible glances. The room was warm, unusually so, but she wore a thick hoodie, zipped closed around her thin body, the hood pulled up and forward. Long sleeves were stretched longer to cover her hands so just the tips of her fingers jutted out. A coat was draped over the chair. When not moving the jar from the table to her lips, she folded her arms across her chest.
Her entire forearm was tattooed. Multi-colored. Flambouyant. She was not. Shy. Quiet. Unsure. But hopeful. Expectant. Like a child at an Easter egg hunt.
His hair was a billowy, tangled puff of carrot. He had a look of amazement. Wonderment. Like he was fascinated that he was in the room and not sure how he got there but was glad he had arrived. There was a smile tickling his lips shyly, mirrored in his eyes like he was listening to a private joke. His entire face puckered into a pointed grimace when he concentrated, making the effort appear painful.
Her eyebrows jutted above her glasses like the feathered face of a great horned owl. In contrast, her cheeks dropped to her chin in pointed, jiggly jowls. Her large square glasses buried her nose so that it appeared to be a complimenting beak to her eyebrows.
Her hair was stringy, but she had a fascinating widow's peak that set off her mousy features. Her nose justted from her face like a winter Olympics ski jump which shadowed the glowing red blister on her lower lip. Her nostrils flared as she spoke in rhythm to her shrugs and head dips that made her seem like a strange bird.
House is quiet except for the everyday background hum of appliances and the steady, gentle ticking of an unidentified clock. Seated at the kitchen table in the steadily brightening daylight, I watch a parade of birds flitter and hop to feast on the feeders placed outside the window. Birdsong pushes gently against the window as a flock of grackle invade the feeder on the fence. They swarm in and away, in and away like a tide of blue black feathers. Their yellow eyes pierce the shiny refrain of their heads. Somewhere a mockingbird mimics the calls of the other birds -- most of which have backed away to find shelter in the line of cypress fir providing back drop to the garden corner, a destination for the picket fence. The blue jays feasted early and departed. The brilliantly colored cardinals in their jackets of red, dart in and out among the chickadees and sparrows. The cardinals with their bandit faces and conical headdresses reminiscent of the gnome sculptures decorating the flower beds. The branches of the cypress sway in their own dance as the motion of the birds bring the limbs of the tree to life or an intermittent breeze becomes a dance partner. The house ticks on. I reflect the surroundings and smile.
a coach of yawns
sliding down the blacktop
windows glazed by steamy coughs
hiding the drizzle attaching itself
to the windows
yawns attached to cords attached
to ears attached to far away
angry trucks singing
highway songs as they push
the blacktop away
revealing only more
more miles and more yawns
Looking around, I enjoy the way the windows at TOP POT let the light in. Even on the balcony where I like to sit, there is a great view of the street. Monorail track pinioned between the lanes of traffic - periodically the overhead train rattles by. The music is hip and new -- young. The clientelle is mixed, but hip -- urban. Except the man at the table at the top of the stairs. he has a tremendous scar on his face and a bucket hat pulled down on his head covering his kinky hair and shadowing his scar. He is nursing a small cup of coffee. He sits as though he is letting time pass, hands in his lap and gaze fixed on the traffic outside. Only his eyes move periodically. A lot of people have been in and out, some stay a while -- not long -- others stay longer -- working. They chat or are fixated on the miniature screen of a mobile device.
Hace Williams is a Seattle area author and journalist.