A place where everything is green. While it has trditionally been a pathetic little lumber town, many technology companies have been cropping up in the area, such as Intel, Sun and Sequent. Also home to Nike shoes. MadPoet lives right down the street from Nike Headquarters. It rains a lot. A cross between Seattle and San Francisco.

When the city that is now Portland was founded, they couldn't decide whether or not to name it Boston (after the Boston in Massachusetts) or Portland (after the Portland in Maine). So what did they do? They flipped a coin. Good thing it came up as Portland, since I don't care much for Boston as the name of a city. That and it'd get too confusing having two large cities named Boston.

Actually, according to popular wisdom, the other name they were considering was "StumpTown", as the logged the hell out of it in the 19th century.

It's worth noting that in the late 1800's, Portland had the reputation for the world's highest number of Shanghaied sailors.There are extensive tunnels beneath much of the city that once contained trap doors leading up to bars and taverns. All a man had to do was stand on the wrong spot and he would fall into the tunnels, be subdued, and wind up on a ship against his will.

Portland's most famous Shanghaier was a hotel owner named Joseph "Bunco" Kelly. He bragged that he could field an entire crew in less than 12 hours. One evening, he ran across some men who had stumbled into the cellar of a mortuary. In their drunkeness, they mistook some casks of embalming fluid for liquor. Although some of the men were dead and the others were dying, Kelly brought all 22 men to the ship and claimed the dead ones were merely unconscious from alcohol. By the time the captain discovered the truth, he had already set sail.

Relay in Switchyard Studios

Years ago I heard from others
how he'd pulled two men out of the sea one night
off Eastern Point.
~Charles Olson

James Yeary launches the dory, an oral reading of Olson's
The Maximus Poems, and introduces the first pair in a relay of
30 readers. Intention: to give voice to all three volumes of
the "outward" yarn, via three sessions and three venues.
Jay, Tammy, and I drop our chat about Olson's "rabbit trails"
to listen.

Whistle blasts of diesel engines
a half-block away --

U.P. freight loads grinding
thru railroad crossing in sequence

Punctuate Jacqueline's delivery
in Switchyard Studios.

ENDNOTE: A group called 'spare room' produced the relay event in mid-January, 2011.
The epigraph lines are from "Letter 2, Maximus, to Gloucester" section 2. U.P. is short for Union Pacific.

Our Blue Jays

Feeling for you,
from the moment the blue jays
spoke of the dawn and dew ....

In Freezing Fog

Hoods up, like monks'cowls,
three figures crossing street --
the middle, female hips.

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