Sunday 23 February 2020

Peninsula of Peril

Moved to the Quimper Peninsula, in Washington State, a few months go. Here are some of the local sights.
  1. Lawn forested in statues of the bigfoot. Bigfoot smiling, fishing, smoking reefer and cuddling a raccoon. Most are sold already, the owner swears, though nobody comes to pick them up. Oh well, there're always more to carve
  2. Drive-in cinema cloaked in pines. Shadows hang long across neat rows of cars. Half the speakers are missing, the sound system broken into ghostly chirps of horror anthologies played in decades past. When you get up to pee the woods are abrasively silent, looming with shadows cast from the black and white screen
  3. Crab shack too close to the highway. Fisherwoman talks loud over the droning traffic. Things used to be different, she says, before the roads and summer homes, when you could hear volcanoes groan below the earth and the water teemed with bony-headed fish
  4. Down by the docks the rust-cheeked boats are pulled up for repairs. In the water toppled trees bob like icebergs, jellyfish. Shipwrights huddle and stare, wrapped tight against the cold, whispering superstition
  5. Summer camp on the cliff edge ringed by fake grass. Real green won't grow over their salt circle. They're open about their faith, about the crosses carved inside the doors. Teasingly vague whether they're keeping something out, or in
  6. 'JESUS is LORD' says the sign, blue on white. 'GOD is DEAD' says the graffiti. The look in the pastor's eye suggests they're both right
  7. Suburban culs-de-sac tighten upon themselves like knotted intestines. The houses bunch up two or three to a yard, trap the light and cast it back at 50Hz. Bristle-backed cats and dogs stalk pairs of people through the night
  8. Cars sink into the wet ground. 'For Sale' signs with the prices faded out of sight. Mildew and moss blur the propane tank to a rhinoceral burl. Banner in the blacked-out window offers gifts and games to children
  9. Smell of the paper mill rolls across you, thick vegetable wind trailing fog. Mean-spirited kids taunt of things hidden in the smell, hunting cowards and tattle-tales
  10. Cardboard cutout by the fuel pumps advertises deep-fried drumsticks. Hiding behind the shelves inside, attendant wears a dirty chicken suit and carries a bat
  11. Dead silence in the tunnel beneath the road. Semi-trailer rumble echoes down the pipe but you'd swear there was nothing above you but a hundred miles of rock
  12. Second-hand variety store, in endless rows of sporting, shooting, fishing gear; pickling, poisoning, pruning kits; homewares and hardware, jet-skis and tvs. Out back 
  13. Swollen hogs in ramshackle bungalows, lording the wallow over a few ducks, two goats and a horse. The beasts are well fed, the farmhouse looks abandoned
  14. Locked gates and a welcoming sign. Authority in the Owners Association obtained through cultish meddling; surveillance, sabotage and the kidnapping of pets. Access is achieved with bribery or trickery, but beware; trespassers will be prosecuted
  15. Woodpecker watches you, half-hidden behind the tree. Whenever you move it pecks out a rhythm, encoding your intrusion in holes in the bark
  16. Potholes guard each end of the bridge, a hulking truck gates your tail. The waters, a flashing mirror, reflect headbeams and the night-eyes of deer, white wood graves for those taken by the current  
  17. Casino in solid cubes of light. World blacked out by the glare. Roads billow into overpass around it; whenever the heads burst from the earth, a shining subsoil of auto lots and liquor stores lies exposed
  18. Strip mall wallpapered across the hills, memetic maze of repetition. Towering billboards declare indecipherable names and sigils. It rations to those that take its turn-offs and rakes at the tails of travellers-through
  19. Mountainside stream, steaming with sulphur. Hazy baths barred by sign and toll, doors and the jaws of beasts. Bubbling, muttering wisdoms of the deep water
  20. Cedar's thick outer skin splits like ripe melon. Long-fingered form inside stretches out a yawn

1 comment:

  1. Man, this is some great stuff! It's like, I could swear I've been to most of these places, despite never having set foot in Washington.