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Seattle then

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Found poetry from a hyperfiction I created collaboratively with a bunch of friends back in 1998, called Collabor8, or 8: A Collaborative Hypernarrative Fiction

Seattle then. A place called nevernever land. A place so unlike
Washington. Washington looks so deeply into the mirror. Washington is
like a teenage girl. She notices every flaw and every ounce gained; she
worried about everybody's opinion and fears rejection, always believing herself
(no matter how gorgeous) to always be the homelier. New York is her older
sister, the prom queen, the forevermore popular to the studious insecure

Seattle just is. Whether the mecca for new technology or sustainability; or,
as it is better known, for the romper room of the Generation X (and also the
Generation Why as well as for Old Hippies and middle-aged Punkers). Seattle
just is. The people explore their own trendiness with great seriousness and
commitment. Whereas people from the seventies laugh off their bell-bottoms
and feathered hair, Seattle youth of the nineties (much more so than their
Suburban "Club Soda" brethren) shall be unable to secret their past shame in
the attic, but shall be wearing it across their backs in inky faded wings. Or
in a tribal tattooed armband, in the scar of a clitoral piercing, brands,
scarification -- this is commitment, this is power.

But here, Washington looks at herself in the mirror and doesn't want to be
one-hair out of place; she doesn't want to stick out; she doesn't want to be
snickered at by her friends. She doesn't know what she is missing, the
freedom of showing off the downy gleaming blond hairs of the tummy, the ellipse
of the navel; to show the movement and form of the breast; to let the length of
the body move under sunshine, under rain, beneath the incessant tirade of
base and guitar. Pressed and exposed; excited and rosy from the blood
coursing in the veins, breaking near the surface of the cheek.

And the ashes are constricting my chest. The smoke is no good for the chest.
Seattle is cast under cloud by day, but at night the mist is nicotine and
clove. Seattle is a Camel town. New York is Marlboro. Washington is a
Marlboro Light town, by default to New York.

The pale flanks of Seattle, tight from starvation. Striations of muscle, the
glint of the rings, the glitter of the disco makeup, the high camp. The
bell bottoms taken for a steal at a flea market, from the folk's attic. The
nosebleed platforms and ubiquitous coffee jitters.

Dimpled erotica painted on flesh with a needle, wrapped like tentacles along the
arm and down the back. Once, my head was held tight during a freedive. By a
giant octopus, I shit you not. It took hold and its eight tentacles, each
as big as my wrist. The suckers reeled down my arms and bareback. On one
breath, I fought it. I used my knife to tickle it away and it disappeared
in a cloud of ink.

I had been hunting for him so it was a fair loss, but when I arrived on shore,
there were terrible welts where the genius had taken hold. They were red
and indelible for quite some time, having broken the blood vessels, creating

The Mark of the octopus from that day were as flowing and dynamic as the
patterns dancing on the flesh of the Seattleite. Half-shirts, tank-tops,
halter-tops, no shirt at all. The dancing of the image on the flesh; the
tinkling of rings and jewelry. The clicking against the teeth as the boy
absentmindedly plays with the silver barbell in his tongue as he pulls you
off a shot of espresso.

Where can you get a good cup of coffee at 4am on Capitol Hill?