The Northville Review
an online literary journal
Girl with Tangled Hair

Nate East

You were eating on the sidewalk and I asked you how to get to Buena Vista Park because I’d gotten turned around somewhere and didn’t know the city yet. I was meeting my friends there to lay on that hillside that faces the sun. I remember the wind was so strong that it tore paper and tomatoes off of your sandwich and carried them down the street. You were eating a falafel from the deli that’s always open and has paint on the windows so it’s dark inside. You told me you’d gotten here a couple months ago after coming down the coast from Portland. You wore a black bandana around your neck and a bunch of colored handkerchiefs in the pockets and belt loops of your Carhartts. You pointed the way for me, but I had written a lot about the punks on Telegraph so I lingered and asked if you traveled down here on the freight trains. You laughed and told me no, you’d gotten a ride with a friend of a friend. He was driving down from Anacortes outside Olympia in an old pickup truck packed with books and clothes and bedding, but there was enough room for you in the cab. He had a relative who lived out in the hills above Berkeley that he was going to help with some renovation over the summer. He was planning to stay in the farmland up there and write outside at night, focus on this long book he was working on feverishly. You described it to me as like a long false mythology, and asked me if I’d read Blake, told me it was like the Pacific Northwest version of Urizen. Told me that this guy’s writing was all about the smoky forests and rivers, and there are lakes up in those woods that only a few people know about, and you can go and sit on a boulder and be alone all day and watch the clouds. I’ve done it a ton of times myself, you said. Some kids even move up there to live in tents, like in Black Hole but as artist colonies, do odd jobs around town, or try and grow their own food, whatever. I was enthralled by all of this. Don’t you remember? And the wind up Haight Street whipped your hair and necklaces around and you pulled your hood tighter around your head against the cold. We were there outside for like two hours, maybe three hours, huddled in the wind, you telling me all these stories about the forest.

About the author

Nate East writes poetry and fiction for Cowan's Gap zine in San Francisco. His work has also appeared in The Rumpus, Monkeybicycle, SoandSo Magazine and elsewhere, and he maintains a website at