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Thursday, May 26, 2016


These are pictures of Northwest Portland, where I lived for many years.  The music is Curtis Mayfield's "Here But I'm Gone."

There is a large Volvo sign atop the Jim Fisher dealership on W. Burnside.  When I moved to Portland to stay in 1977 I began to think about the sign in poetic terms.  I think I was in love with it.  I decided I would write a long poem about living in Northwest Portland and call it "Volvo," and that would explain everything about what I was feeling and longing for as a young man.

Imagine such a thing if you can. I passed through my youth and middle age, and now I am too old to write that poem.

Now I would have to write a different kind of poem if I called it "Volvo," but I don't know if I'll ever manage to.  I think every writer has a project he/she is incapable of finishing, and it is the one thing other than their small successes that they will take to their graves.

Isn't that what literally happened to Katherine?

There are a lot of things, literary and otherwise, I've thought about doing but never came close to. When I came to Portland I thought I'd be a successful writer, and "Volvo" was going to be my masterpiece.

Today I was thinking about that sign and my life in Northwest Portland and I remembered I'd shot some video of the cursed thing and some other stuff from the old neighborhood a while back.

All of these pictures have a certain significance for me, like the Volvo sign itself.  I don't have the energy tonight to explain, and probably shouldn't try to in any case.


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