As the month of October makes it entrance, with its colors and chillier weather, and the 19 poems I’ll have to write within its duration, I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on everything that has made this first year in Portland so splendid. (Okay, so I moved here late last August, but give a guy a break.)
Apart from my poetry quota, which has been a force in itself, I owe the happiness I’ve experienced in the last year to a stream of externalities: music, landscapes, friends, my home and housemates (feline and otherwise), great vegan food, burgeoning hobbies, long walks, some traveling, my students, all the fantastic books I’ve read since moving here, and the wealth of experiences living on my own in a new city with a wonderful partner has brought me.
So, thanks, to all of you:
Portland bars, for being warm in winter and cool in summer, and always beer-full. Thanks for pushing unhappiness aside with your frequent happy hours and music seemingly tailored to my indier tastes.
The Multnomah County Library system, for giving me all the poetry, graphic novels, Borges, Dash Shaw, Phillip K. Dick, postmodern philosophy, history, and world music I could ever ask for. And for “Reality Hunger” and “You Are Not a Gadget” and “Fifth Business” and “Cartographies of Time.”
Portland parks, for being so peaceful and breathtaking. (Mt. Tabor, Laurelhurst, Forest Park, Alberta Park, Powell Butte, the downtown Park Blocks, McCall Waterfront Park.)
Oregon, for being so incredibly beautiful, from Astoria and Cannon Beach to Hood River, Multnomah Falls and Mt. Hood, and from Ashland and the beginnings of the Willamette valley to the bridge crossing over the Columbia River into Washington.
Portland, for being so friendly and so tree-covered, so walkable, and filled to the brim with vegan food options in Los Gorditos, Dwaraka, Bye and Bye, Habibi, Red and Black Cafe, Laughing Planet, Paradox, Black Sheep Bakery, Sweetpea, and so many others…
Portland people, for being so weird and funny, and for being interested in things like combination comic book / coffee shops, recycled classroom / office materials, food carts, public theatre performances, sprawling street festivals, mushroom hunting, strip clubs with an alternative flair, beer culture, bike culture, beer ‘n’ bike culture, and, of course, incredibly terrible tattoos.
Thanks to Powell’s City of Books, for the interesting lectures and readings, and to all of downtown Portland, for being as multi-purpose and friendly to pedestrians as it is, and for just plain having a lot of crap to do while hanging out around and in it.
The famous PDX neighborhoods and avenues (Hawthorne, Alberta, Belmont, Division/Richmond, Ladd’s Addition, Nob Hill, Stark, Sellwood, Hollywood, Buckman, Reed/Woodstock).
The great music, live and otherwise, I’ve had the privilege of listening to while being here. Live: The Clientele (twice!), Okkervil River, Yo La Tengo, and Miles Kurosky. At home, out and about the city, in the car: The Clientele (toujours), Cocteau Twins, Fever Ray, Dirty Projectors, Animal Collective, Cotton Jones, Emerald Hill, Grizzly Bear, Mountain Goats, Shearwater, Neko Case, and The xx.
Jorge Luis Borges, who has no better in his capturing of the swirling deep labyrinths that comprise life.
Everyone I’ve met here and everyone who has come to visit (y’all know who you are!), helping me each and every day to feel more at home in Portland.
My home here in the SE, my books, my records, this neighborhood, our two cats, our bed, our fantastic roommates.
And of course!: A.J.B. So much is owed to her, it’s worth 10,000 blog posts.
But I’ll save you all the boring, disgustingly cute details. At least for now.
Thanks for reading!