grey today; this time of year can press firm to your collarbones the cold iron of Nothing Ever Changes Around Here. it’s an exhaling and quiet morning in the city, but it’s even quieter up by the lake. i'll start up that old sports car that was cheaper than it ought to have been — i like it because it rolls its eyes and complains in creaks and low rumbles when i ask it for favors, because i have to turn the headlights on by hand, because the steering wheel is always honest about what’s going on beneath the tires. i’ll start it up and then it’s only about thirty minutes of preoccupied swaying from the city up the canyon; metronomic and sleepy switchbacks, breezy and sinuous along the hushing and quell of the creekside.

you can come on in off the boardwalk of the lakeside town, stomp the february off your shoes and let your eyes adjust from the indefatigable overcast. i’ll likely be shelved carefully in some corner of the old town hotel (established 1873!) converted lately to a cafe (established 2019!), rooting out the last pages of joe lesueuer’s “digressions on some poems by frank o’hara” — sometimes i’m a bit of a slow reader, and besides it’s nice to reread the o’hara pieces, and besides what’s got you in such a rush anyhow? — and lazily chasing the coffee mug around the table like heliotropic wildflowers seeking the sun.

i’ll be letting myself get overwhelmed and sentimental about moments i haven’t left yet: lurid imaginings of moving back to new york or finding some deep romantic love out west bray near the edges of my heart, and there’s about a hundred thousand people learning to skate on the sturdy ice of the lake, and later i stand and watch it emptying into bear creek, but mostly i listen.

back on the road, the steady shaker on a country song nods my head like i’m dotingly affirming the grievances of some old friend with another, and the blue spruce trees on the shoulder move in a blur while the mountain meadow beside the highway barely moves at all, and up in the sky it’s still all grey like nothing ever changes after all.
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