As the violent winter wind whips my chapped lips,
I can’t help but smile;
mouth cracking at the seams
at the sight of Pike Street
glittering in its unearthly way in the December evening.
Another gust bites at my cheeks,
carrying itself through the channels built by skyscrapers,
curses flying, in a plethora of languages,
weaving them into a mellifluous symphony of welcome.
The tune carries on the breeze,
both deafening and reassuring,
reminding me to never forget my home,
as if these streets know my adventurous soul,
and my need for the warmth of
seemingly navigating my mind easier than
the complex realm of downtown,
my dreams fogging the cityscape –
spending my life in front of cameras
and on the stage,
portraying countless unique lives.
The sidewalk sits below,
cold and cracked like a looking glass
which reads seven years of bad luck for its hapless owner.
Once grey concrete rests beneath me,
now lightened to a more tired and suitable grey,
littered with ancient wads of gum,
wrappers, glass, and God knows what else.
These loose, forgotten articles form an unintentional mosaic,
the visual version of found poetry.
I find myself beaming down at my “found mosaic”
where it lies sprawled underneath my faux leather boots
and continues throughout the city.
Shards of quartz still shimmer from beneath the grit and residue,
echoing to everyone that Seattle remains a treasure trove
of both architecture and opportunity.
I make my way over to a crosswalk,
bringing my bare hands together
like two lovers creating friction to keep warm.
Once at the curb,
I force myself to wait for the hand configured from
scarlet pinpricks of light to change to a
miniature constellation of a man performing the simple task of
taking a step.
After what feels like an eternity of lingering,
the signal makes the switch and I am done being polite.
I feel free to blend in with every true local by trekking at a set,
brisk pace, maintaining my speed by force,
no obligations of consideration, just one of brutal honesty —
an obligation to be unapologetically me.
Yet at the same time, I remain anonymous.
No longer bound within the borders of my small town,
I am finally free.
Free from the judgmental stares of the same hundreds of students
I studied alongside for so many years.
Free from the pressure to conform and the pressure to succeed.
Free to fail miserably and learn what it means to
get back up and try again.
Starving artists, tycoons,
who’ve had their due dose of reality,
and the ones who bounced back,
just like that rubber ball
a smiling little girl feverishly rebounds
against my mosaic over and over, begging for more.
Each time the brightly colored rubber
unceremoniously smacks a crack in the tessellation,
it snaps back up at twice the speed.
The giggling girl never tires of the rise and fall,
never tires of its absolute determination to never lay dormant.
The ball keeps colliding with concrete,
the little girl ensures that,
but it also continues to soar to new and unknown heights.
Without her pudgy porcelain hand,
the ball would never have to plummet to the ground,
but would irrefutably never know the freedom of ascension.
I round the corner,
not ready to stop again for traffic quite yet.
My brisk pace livens into a prance,
a comfortable yet unconventional cross between
The frigid air stings my lungs
in one thousand infinitesimal stabs and I laugh;
I grin senselessly in anticipation at the bits of
tough love the city already doles out to me as I roam through it,
embracing my own exhilarating need to be a
living, breathing, bouncing rubber ball
and be set free to pursue my heart;
living the uncertain lifestyle of