Bridge

October 9, 1993

October 9, 1993

To sit on a bridge at night and look out into the river is a simple pleasure. We are in the car, stalling and waiting for the bridge to rise. We listen to the radio and look at the other people in their cars. A boy and a girl perhaps on a date are fooling around, kissing each other.

There is a great sense of gratitude in finding our way back to familiarity. And I saw it in that kiss. The city is lonely when I am waiting for a ride, particularly in the seedy part of town and especially at night when the wind is at your back. The sting of the cold make my eyes water. The faces are tough, even on the women. One envies crowds. One feels the fragility of the skin. The traffic and objects move on their own accord, following certain timing. Their lights are seductive and mesmerism. The smoke, the breath, the air, the steam, the scent of night. We take our lunches on a park bench undercover. We talk in the mist of the fountains roar, the noise of the water flow. I sometimes go to the Portland State University bookstore and just the other day bought a poetry book of Rilke. We walk the streets, looking at the city’s building. In the early morning light, the glass of these structures captures a glint of heaven. As I make my way through the Hawthorne Bridge, the grill rattles my heart. What is between the river and I, several tons of steel and grill holding up four lanes of traffic. Pedestrians are on the edge, bikers pedaling to work in bright cloths. On one particular morning in at the end of September, I was asked to come in early. The traffic was light. A large full moon is dipping below the horizon and the sun was rising before me is a peculiar sight. The radio DJ has received calls from a listener who has witnessed the phenomenon. I felt a sense of shared thoughts.

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