August 12, 2004
There is a spiral on the floor, black and grey, spinning over the rocky concrete and into the old drain, functional when the building was a textile factory. He often dumps the remnants of his coffee into the drain, and the bright sun through the wire-laced windows warms the exposed drops until they evaporate into the air and leave the place feeling like perpetual morning.
The walls are all murals, painted in procrastination. There is a tree, leafy limbs spreading out onto the ceiling over the bunk. Below is a sink, a microwave, an efficiency fridge. A dish rack, a rolling set of wire drawers. A tin can of brushes and a countertop bespeckled with oils and acrylics.
In the other room are the easels and the little altar with the soapstone Buddha. He meditates there in the mornings before he leaves. Fresh coffee and deep breaths, filtered light and a purple yoga mat.
His place is under the bridge where the dirt is footprinted and packed and where the reeds serve as the final resting place for beer cans, tobacco tins, flimsy candy bar wrappers, empty bags of Cheetos, Dorritos, and gas station burritos.
He's brought in tires for his friends to lounge in luxury as they talk about Mrs. Hamilton's tits and how she's totally sleeping with Mr. O'Malley, the principal. Etched into the dirt is a surprisingly accurate map of the Pacific Northwest. So-and-so has a friend who has a friend of this guy who would probably help them out.
Scrawled onto the concrete pylons are their tags – Red Dog and Pilfo and Outlander and Z5. And there's a phallus blasting off into space. And there's the curvy figure of a woman, her breasts painted as bullseyes.
Leaning against the wall is his backpack, stuffed with crumpled papers cigarettes tests that say "see me" detention slips and a copy of Travels With Charlie. The book is dog-eared, water damaged, the cover cracked and faded.