Monday, January 6, 2014

Snow City


Only 2 cents per acre

Seward's folly, "Wal-russia"

tent city at the mouth of Ship Creek, 1914

where Quonset huts were first homes, "a half tin can turned on its side"


a dreary episode of architectural interest (sic) and old gray tarps

(or brown or neon blue) stored everything (under the sun)

(when it shines)  (which was not often)

and everything spelling m-i-l-i-t-a-r-y, like massive

buildup and strategic location (yes, you can see Russia from here) was

pure Alaskan theatre


Anchorage, a company town

in the icy crook of Knik Arm, where you can

stroll downtown and have your shoes repaired

(does anyone even do that anymore?) while shopping

for baleen baskets and ivory, quite rare and valuable (sic) you know,


downtown, our town a rail construction port

Alaska Railroad and the wild heat of discovered gold sparkles

*BUILD* and they will come!


suburban expansion hotels and stores then

epic destruction by a 9.2 (we do all things big in the history of the world)

like the discovery of big oil    big ice      big land

our town, Anchor-town where you can run alongside

the fastest dogs on earth (and get smoked)


and to get your style on, your sexy glamorous

in your best swagger careen (your way around rusty old pickups)

to Allure Hair Design, a day spa


and on your way over, Look UP!

small planes come and go from the snow-gritty town, 24/7

above the "Anchorage bowl" snow city


cold       the down low      (and if you're lucky)

maybe a bear (or two)

ambling, outside the front door









2 comments:

  1. I love the first two images. And, if I remember correctly, your "big one" was in 1964, the year I was a senior in high school.

    I've had one experience of an Alaska earthquake. I think it might have been the 7.9 that hit in June,1996 in the Andreanof Islands and Aleutian Islands. In any event, here's the story. We were sitting at the pool at the marina where the boat was - off Galveston Bay. It was sunny, perfectly calm and beautiful.

    Suddenly, we could hear halyards beginning to slap against the masts. In only a few seconds, all of the sailboats in the marina started leaning this way and that, and then WHAM! There was a terrible cracking sound. As it turned out, the sound was a row of shrimp trawlers tearing out their mooring cleats and going adrift.

    After some research, we found out what had happened. The tsunami had made its way south, around South America, back up north and into the Gulf. Galveston Bay was as far as the energy could go, and when that force met land - we got a taste of just how powerful an earthquake could be. I need to find the Coast Guard information and the news broadcasts from the time. It was extraordinarily interesting.

    Thanks for the great view of a really cold place, and for stirring up the memories.

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    1. oh my; had no idea it had such an impact that far south. I've heard stories of villagers running up nearby hills with a wall of water nipping at their heels; children lost, slipped from their father's and mother's hands, a brutal force of nature that changed lives and geographies, most notably in coastal areas. Wasn't here to witness the one in 64', but caught the tail end of the devastation when the big one hit Thailand a number of years back. Will never forget it.

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