The russet sheen of this cowskin in its knifed curves against the pale, scuffed floor. The plastic sole of the lovely girl’s boots, the cinnamon glow of her hair gathered carelessly into a bun on the back of her head. The pale pink and blue glow of the sky, fingerling trees clean against it and the faint, faraway buzz of a paper-cutout airplane above. Overly lush, seductively lovely songwriting in my headphones singing something about worshiping at her shrine, and I think with sudden peace of the totality of existence and how little I manage to sink into it. Today, I sink in. I feel the pained curve of my ankle, the short breath of composition, the satisfaction of blurting forth even one rich paragraph of description, the knowledge that I deserve, I am born to this, I am a writer with every breath, and that it is time for me to continue being me, no holds barred, no need to apologize, no need to even assess, but simply to exist in fullness.

And now, it is time to thread forth a new story, a new work. Nothing matters now except creation. I leave tracks behind me. I exist.


early morning / Portland, OR / Good Coffee

What to Do When You Meet a Mirage : Karla mi Lugo

I met a mirage today. Amber face full of hope and longing, flaming red hair in coils and curls of frantic grace, slender fingers and puckered lips: Karla mi Lugo.

music, street music, portland, portland writer, portland musicianAt first, because I was busy and because I have grown impatient, I avoided her eyes. Don’t talk to me, I thought, because you are beautiful and probably crazy, and I don’t have time to get sidetracked and sucked into yet another personal labyrinth. Also, don’t ask for money because I don’t have any. At all.

portland writer, beverage writer, portland music, street musicianHer music is reflective; a wash of accordion and clear, piercing whistling, and a husky voice like an autumn evening. As I sat, carefully ignoring her, her music sidled into my consciousness with a purity that finally had my attention. I put down my work. I engaged.

beauty, accordion, pretty dressWe talked. 5 years ago I also made my living performing in the streets and hoping equally for engagement and clinking coins from passersby. I am relieved to have left that urgency, but then again: I never handled it with such grace and aplomb as Karla does. Since I cannot offer money, I pull out my camera and lovingly explore the silken planes of her face in the afternoon sun, the crisp stripes of her apron, the delicate arabesques on her instrument.

musician, beautifulKarla will be, in her words, “going on [my] musical pilgrimage to Paris” next month, and, I believe I overheard, competing in an international whistling contest. I wish her the best of luck and glorious chance meetings, and I look forward to her return to our gritty streets.

When you meet a mirage, you’d best drop your work and listen.

music, beauty, portland music

beauty, well met, portland street musicafternoon/ Alberta St. Arts District / karla mi lugo






Liquid Grace


I’ve launched a new column on Eater PDX featuring coffee roasters and shops around Portland. I love that it forces me to get out my camera and explore the dynamic spaces I sometimes take for granted. Barista Dave Tran is highly skilled; I had two capps and a shot from him, each extracted well and treated with love.

morning / Sellwood, OR / Either/Or