The Remaining World Away

In from Aberdeen. © Chris Bronsk, 2014.

“To live here you should be a friend of rain,
and fifty with a bad job on the freights,
knowing the freeway soon will siphon
the remaining world away
and you can die unseen among your photos—
swimmers laughing but the day remembered cold.”

Richard Hugo, from “What the Brand New Freeway Won’t Go By,” Death of the Kapowsin Tavern (1965)

As I wondered a few posts ago, it looks as if I will be leaving Seattle—and in just a few weeks. As for many far from here, Seattle entered my imagination in the early nineties through the music spreading loud and dirty from here like a swollen, silted river. This photograph, taken just the other day, seems more of then than my era, where rising cultural movements have been overtaken by luxury condos and unjust rents. I’ve loved it nonetheless—especially the beauty of the region, as evoked decades earlier in the writing of Richard Hugo. But did I, during my eight years here, became a “friend of the rain,” as Hugo says? Legendary for outsiders, the rain is stoically ignored by locals. Even to me it just, after a while, became another part of the air, the way certain differences between now and then, elsewhere and here, can seem to disappear.

That Piece of Sundown

Bees (Self-Portrait). © Chris Bronsk 2014.

Winter Holiday. © Chris Bronsk 2014.


Like little forges for which the heart too often gets mistaken, the dogs run ahead of me, just out of earshot, across what’s a field, and then a coast: some stones, some sand. Funny how sorrow more often arrives before honesty, than the other way around. To my left a blackness

like the past, but without the past’s precision; to my right, the ocean…Not so lost as I’d been thinking, then—or had once, admittedly, maybe even hoped for. Kingdom of what’s left, still to be angry at, or forgive. All of the bees flying out of me. We’re traveling north.

(from Silverchest, FSG, 2013)


Summons. © Chris Bronsk 2013.
Summons. © Chris Bronsk 2013.

ERASER by Charles Simic

A summons because the marvelous prey is fleeing
Something to rub out the woods
From the blackboard sound of wind and rain
A device to recover a state of pure expectancy

Only the rubbings only the endless patience
As the clearing appears the clearing that is there
Without my even having to look
The domain of the marvelous prey

This emptiness that gets larger and larger
As the eraser works and wears out
As my mother shakes her apron full of little erasers
For me to peck like bread crumbs

Invisible Voices

Invisible Voices. © Chris Bronsk 2013.
Invisible Voices. © Chris Bronsk 2013.

“Catherine tittered exactly as if she had seen the point of some invisible joke:  but then she noticed that the truckmen had forgotten to set up the speaker’s table, so she excused herself very politely, gaping out at her father-in-law her diligently attentive smile with earnestness and breeding that his intestines publicly croaked. The father of the artist hated his daughter-in-law, and could not bear to share a roof with her even for a single night; her conversation depressed him and gave him evil sweated dreams:  sometimes he dreamt he was in his sister’s city, and the bomb explode out of his own belly, and then rolled past him, as on a turntable in the brutalized nave, his little niece laid out dead, covered only by her yellow hair. Across the room Catherine was supervising the placing of the lectern:  he heard it scrape through the invisible voices.” —Cynthia Ozick, “The Suitcase”

(part of my Two Times Two street photography series of couples)


Space Conditions

“We postulate that man is an artifact designed for space travel. He is not designed to remain in his present biological state any more than a tadpole is designed to remain a tadpole. This postulate, agreed upon, gives us a standard evaluation. Is a proposed course of action conducive to realizing space conditions? Art, science, technology, ask yourself—would I like to be in space with that person? Postulate that there is no privacy and no deceit possible in space: Your innermost thoughts, feelings and intentions are immediately apparent to those around you. So you want to be careful who is around you.” —William S. Burroughs, “Civilian Defense,” The Adding Machine

A few more shots from a Seattle Solstice Day parade.
Feathers Funky Drummer Straw Hat Red Shirt Space Party (I)