Scenes from Charleston, Oregon

White flakes of burning oyster shells fall on me like snow. I’ve never walked while oyster flakes fall on me. I’ve got to find a way to use this phenomenon in a story.

I walk Charleston with gulls on a frosty weekday morning. This is a port town, home to a commercial fishing fleet, Coast Guard station and fish processors.

A rooster crows. Orange and blue layers rise in the sky above the mountains.

Several men weave bicycles through empty streets. One is carrying a bag full of cans.

I notice a large restaurant facing the bay. It’s not level. It will never be level again.

Boats and more boats stacked here and there on tireless trailers and rotting sawhorses. They’ll never go to sea again.

I pass an RV park that is beyond my abilities as a writer to describe. I’ve never seen one so cramped, blasted and forlorn. Two sights stand out: crooked pallet fences and weird statuary gardens. This park is like a still life that some artist assembled and arranged to paint the perfect portrait of capitalism’s destruction of certain Americans

Three old men from the park walk their dogs. Flakes fall on them and it produces the strangest snow globe I’ve ever seen.

It’s low tide and the mud flats are shimmering, waiting for clammers.

I haven’t been in Charleston in years. I remember the time I performed a literary gig here. I remember the time I visited with a friend who was wearing green shorts and ruminating on acid. I like the grit and grime of Charleston and might consider making a new start here one day.