Thursday, December 20, 2018

Hidden Patterns

on the floor was the poet
young women at his side
kissing his fingers
without rest
and the stars above
flooded the night

he kept his mind on the words
with great discipline
creating and re-creating
the hidden patterns
and putting them into
larger constructions,
organizing their strange gifts

the women lay flowers at his toes
and sent their sweet breath towards him
with messages and secrets

he inhaled the chaotic structures
that came from them
and began to cry
transforming the stars,
the kisses
onto pages
in his never ending book
full of questions
and vast pregnant gaps

Friday, November 23, 2018


“Almost all the residents live behind bars. That tells you everything you need to know, right? Add in a covering of graffiti and a layer of trash and you get the idea. I don’t see anything remotely interesting about this place.”

Palm trees, Jehovah's witnesses preaching with hand held megaphones, a long line of drunks and drug addicts, Latin girls laughing loudly and shamelessly, a fat white man in a dirty button up shirt dark with sweat. I pass by three black men with a boom box blaring the sound of 70s soul music. I feel tempted to tell them that I used to listen to that very same music in a place very far away, a place they will probably never see in their lives, a remote place full of legends and violence. But they’re busy talking to each other so I let the thought pass by.
The whole place smells of urine, especially close to the walls farthest from the BART entrance. A sign says: “This is not a bathroom.” Too late for that.

Ahead of me on the BART escalator I see a young girl in a dirty white t-shirt and gray sweat pants. The pants are nearly falling off her, showing the crack of her ass a few inches away from my face. The skin of her lower back is soft, white and covered in tiny nearly invisible blond hair. She leans against the handrail in a gesture of exhaustion. A flier on the wall reads: “The Black Mass… delicious cumbias, hot rhythms…”
Later, on 16th, I see the same girl walking next to an older black man. She stops and turns towards him.
“We’re here. We might as well go. Right? We might as well go. He’s been waiting for a long time.”
She holds up her sweat pants with her right hand while she talks. I imagine a passionate love story and a climax about to happen. Most likely it’s only a drug deal.

“Mission street itself is dirty, noisy, busy and enchanting. It’s almost like going somewhere else, somewhere outside.”

I see thousands of purple dots spreading over black and white shapes, surrounded by larger purple circles with black and white faces in the middle of them. “One dot represents a housing unit served with a no-fault eviction. The actual number of displaced people is significantly higher…”
A curving transparent banner answers with the words “Only God.” Underneath someone has added in black marker: “…holds grudges.”

A psychedelic death apparition rises from the asphalt. She has tall purple hair, blank white eyes, a bright red heart over her third eye, white fangs tattooed over her mouth and cheeks. Two small pink wolves float around her shoulders. A bright star trickles down from her bright white right eye.
Her mouth opens and she speaks to me in a soft seductive voice:
“Here is the final resting place where one can still find a love that transcends all time.
But you must keep your eyes wide open, you must have your ears ready to hear.”

A middle-aged drunk man in ripped jeans and a ripped half open flannel shirt looks up at me from the sidewalk. “Change?” he says in a demanding voice. When I look down at him, he repeats in a louder voice: “Change?” Then he pushes an upturned yellow hat towards me. He points to the hat with his index finger, skin wrinkled, dirty nails, tattooed forearms. “No, sorry.” I say. He turns away to look for the next potential donor.
Next to him I see a hopeful twist of words: “We’re not divided. We’re just not together…”

I’ve heard this was once known as the street of the witches – “la calle de las brujas.” Maybe some time in the past women practiced some kind of witchcraft here. Maybe they were just pagan healers. Maybe they were just Latin women who inspired both lust and fear with their dark eyes. Or maybe they were nothing at all.
Maybe this street of witches becomes more mysterious when night falls, maybe it becomes a dark alleyway with an aura of arrivals. Now, in the daylight, a sad blue robot stares at a bright red flower. Plumes of pink smoke spill out from its joints.

A poem calls out to me, black letters over a green background.
“The people
Live, then fate
Obey. Darkness
Dissipates and must
Give way…”
The poet is the City itself. And the audience is the City as well.
A lonesome creator talking in an empty room full of oblivious ghosts.

“It's a little surreal, like being in the middle of a zombie movie.”

A simple white sticker reads: “Smart phone. Dumb head.” But another sticker reaches out to give a response: “It’s too late. I’m addicted to the game.”
A blue bear in a yellow shirt instructs me to “hella resist!” His mouth is open in rage, his left fist is raised in brave defiance.
Then I see a single message - a white background surrounding letters made of absence. “We Will Not Be Silent”

“This is the real San Francisco. Not the Financial District, definitely not Fisherman’s Wharf.
This is the real thing. This is what I wanted to see when I came here.”

A heavy set girl leans back on the passenger seat of a parked car. Her head is only barely visible, her eyes scan her surroundings with a tangible sense of paranoia. She alternates between scanning and looking at her cell phone which she holds in her right hand. When I step close to take a photo of some fliers pinned up on a pole she looks up at me with blatant distrust. I turn away from her and point my camera at the pole.
A post office label, upside down, words written in black marker, barely legible: “King Baby: Remember to Forget”
A hand sized band sticker announcing its single message in black letters crisscrossed with white lines: “Boom!”
Below it, a command: “Paid advertisement. Do not remove.”
Another band sticker establishes its philosophical and practical commitment: “We only play music we have never played before!”
I look at the girl in the car one more time as I walk away. Her eyes are still scanning, still unsure of my intentions.

A black sticker with large white letters: “Jesus. The way, the truth, the life.” A large fat Buddha squats to the left, a serpent skull tattooed over his heart. A smaller sticker with a single disembodied hand gives the whole scene the finger. “Fuck off Jesus! Fuck off Buddha! Fuck off serpent! Fuck off heart!”
There’s a hole in the window of a restaurant. I look through it. A man stares out at me suspiciously from inside.

“We walked down 16th in the morning and a vagrant was lying on the ground. We walked back in the evening and he was still there, motionless. Was he dead? Everyone just ignored him. Ultimately, we ignored him too.”

A large black woman with a sullen angry face stands before me, there’s a necklace with a single pearl around her neck. She wears a bright green shirt with two buttons on her right breast: “Defend Freddie Gray” and “Save Mumia”
I take a step and I find myself in the middle of a cemetery at night. An angry demon with red eyes of fire stares at a living skull vomiting gray serpents from its broken mouth. The whole of the night is alive with purple serpents with red eyes and hungry mouths. The demon has only a few words to say to me: “Here is the final resting place where one can still find a love that would transcend all time.”
I look around me. Four angry dogs burst with ravenous hunger. Blood and saliva fly in all directions, away from their open jaws.

“We felt perfectly safe at all times. We usually do. Not that easy to scare us. There were homeless people, but there are homeless people everywhere. You just get used to it. We’re used to it. It’s fine for us. No problem.”

A middle aged drunk man looks up from the floor and talks to me.
“You want to shoot these ones behind me?”
“Yeah… I didn’t want to bother you.”
“No bother.”
He stands up and turns around to look at the figures painted on the wall behind him.
“Man, these look like men dressed as nuns, no? Transgenders?”
“Yeah, it said something over there about them being the original spokespeople for transgender rights… something like that.”
“Really?” He rushes over to read the text I’m pointing at. His mouth falls open. “Holy shit! It really does. I didn’t know… I didn’t know.”
I smile at him and point my camera towards the nuns.

This is one of the few streets in this city that still preserves a sense of time, a sense of place. A street of spells, for those who know its history; maybe when night falls, it becomes a dark alley with an aura of mystery.
Meanwhile, in the daylight, here are some spells that are still remembered, spells that meant something to someone: “The Ultimate High Rise” “The Barbary Coast” “A Terrible Anger” “The Octopus” “Nineteen Eighty Four” “Brave New World” “Reclaiming San Francisco” “City for Sale” “The Grapes of Wrath” “Virgin Soul” “You Can’t Win”
Everything must go? Yes. Everything must go!
From the left side the Virgin Mary looks on. A single white ghost floats over her head.

“At times I felt scared. I became convinced something was about to happen. Nothing ever did, but still. I felt like it was about to…”

A man I once knew has now become a mural - on the wall he looks more like a mythical cartoon than an actual memory, like something that jumped out of a old black and white Mexican comic book and now looks down at me from the wall. The artistic spaces he created are listed, so are some of his other accomplishments. Graffiti has already tainted his face, a younger face than I remember, a face to remain young for eternity.
His mouth opens and he speaks: 
“You seem like you’re ready to move on. But wait! Before death can take me away She will come to save me…”
She will come. She must come. Maybe She is hidden behind more than one face that I’ve already seen around me - maybe She flows in and out of them when needed then slips back into the walls when the danger fades away.
A few steps later a frightened boy stares at me in black and white. Black letters surround him like a swarm of bees: “Enough enough enough stop killing our children stop killing our children enough enough enough” She may be powerful, but She may not be powerful enough. There are cold places where Her power can’t reach.
Somebody has written “Get off sacred land!” They have written more underneath but someone else has covered it with purple paint. A third someone has come along and roughly, imperfectly, covered the purple paint in black scratches.
Here is a final communication. Sacred means nothing. No love transcends all time.

“I felt very uncomfortable, very ill at ease. I was unnerved by the frequent, threatening drooling crazies. I'm not trying to be offensive or insulting. Many of the homeless were literally drooling. My son pointed out the long globs of spit spilling over their chins. He couldn’t believe it. I didn’t even want to look!”

A very drunk white man talks to a young black man with the body of a bodybuilder. The drunk man talks in an endless river of slurred words which I find impossible to follow. A kind of slippery meaning emerges and I try to fill in the gaps.
"I hope there is love for those who are in trouble, by the power of the City that loves them. The consolations of the City are neither small nor few, they can never be diminished, however great the number of those who share in them.”
The bodybuilder, his back straight as a tower, listens and responds every few sentences. A nod here, a “yes”, a humming undertow of affirmation. His hand goes to the drunk’s shoulder in a gesture of kindness.
“I believe it. I believe that the City is pleased to love those who are in trouble by means of its people who themselves have been hurt. Hurt people helping hurt people. Various important purposes are served by this wise law. Order is achieved through our subjection to this higher authority. The ultimate authority that is the City.”
As I walk by them the bodybuilder turns towards me and greets me.
“How are you doing sir?”
I respond: “I’m doing well. How are you?”
“Fine…” and he smiles to complete the interaction.

Later they walk past me, the drunk man is still talking in an endless blur of slurred words. He turns towards me and says something I can’t understand. I turn and lean my head in to try to make out the words.
“Don’t bother me. I’m here to take photos!” the bodybuilder says for me and smiles.
I nod and smile at him.
“Many are very hurt; they walk around with heavy hearts. Their pride makes them scorn this way of obtaining love from the City. But the City is ready to offer its heart, the City is ready to offer its love. The City is the final place where one can still find a love that transcends time.”

A young woman with purple hair closes her eyes. Her eyelids are bluish gray. She is surrounded by many colored flowers, of all shapes and sizes. She opens her mouth and speaks to me in a voice full of melody and color.
“This street was once known as the street of the witches. Once there were many women like me who lived here. Women of dark powers, women of subtle ways. At night the street would always be closed at both ends so that nobody could approach the women and ask for some kind of spell. Today this is just an alley off of Valencia. But when night falls, I speak to others as I speak to you now. And every night I tell a new story but all my stories are lies.”

A family of Mexican farmers sits to have lunch outside on a rough wooden table. A strong older man with short black hair stares out at nothing, his face stoic and blank.
Soon he will be drunk and he will have a lot to say. But for now he only stares in silence. His adult daughter sits to his right, a smile of gentle contentment on her face. His adult son sits to the right of the daughter, smiling with a tortilla in his right hand and a full sombrero on his head. To the left of the middle aged man are his young daughter, maybe around 6 years old, and his wife, who also smiles contentedly as she prepares another tortilla. Only a single sheep stares back at me, the only denizen of this world aware that it is being transported into eternity by invisible eyes.

A friendly green penis with a faded pink head raises its hand to say hello to me. While it greets me, over on its left side it teaches the ABCs while tiny fluffy clouds tease him into a playful partial erection. A sleepy vagina with a tiny pubic black hat looks at us both with half closed eyes. It opens itself to the world out of sheer exhaustion, too tired to remain sealed and alone. Its secret mission is to teach the numbers, the sequential division of events and digital objects which is the basis for stable understanding. It is in this way that the world was first divided into language and mathematics. For most of the day, so it must remain.

“My sister went to school in this neighborhood a long time ago. This is back when we lived with my father. She was a bit out of control, right? She did some crazy dark things that I definitely would not recommend, some things I would be scared to try myself.”

The young woman with purple hair tells me a story:
“Once there was a young man who lost his wife because of a fever. His family was very sad because they couldn’t afford a funeral. Since there was no money to bury her properly, the wife was buried in a mass grave, along with many others who had died that week, that month, that year. The young man then stole some money for himself. In the process of stealing he killed the rich man who was his victim. The young man then managed to bribe a priest to recover the body of his love from the mass grave in which it had been placed. Before the police took him way, the young man took the body of his wife to a proper cemetery and lay her to rest. Thus their love found a resting place, a place of peace outside of time.”

On a thick stripe of blue paint there is an announcement for a website in thick black letters. Underneath it there is a broken red slash with the word PARTY written over it. Two zombies with missing arms and blank eyes stare out at me from between the pink letters.

“All I saw was a dirty and scary ghetto area. Not a place I would let my kids walk home by themselves.”

An old Mexican man, black mustache, black combed back hair sprinkled with white. He stands in front of his vegetable stand: peppers 2 for 1 dollar, corn 8 for 1 dollar.
“I will tell you the rest of it. Not everyone gets to hear it. This is the truth of the City spoken by one who has learned from the street. The hearts of all inhabitants of the City are knit together in love and their mutual understanding is increased whenever we speak.  Those who are loved by the City through others like them are brought under strong obligations to enduring friendships and sincere gratitude.”
“Improve, then, all your experiences, for the benefit of your fellow City inhabitants. In this way those who ought to love those who are hurt will be well prepared to do the work assigned to them. The street is an excellent teacher. The street gives great confidence to one who learns how to speak. It enables him to speak with more certainty and boldness than he would have spoken otherwise.”
“Is the City truly the Mother of all homeless? The Father of mercies? The City of all love?”

Over a dirty white ledge, I see the simple command: “Believe only in falling” Nothing else.

“I guess it's an interesting place if you’re into that sort of thing. I wouldn’t go back. But that’s just me.”

Over bright orange paint strokes, in light blue letters: “Free the people of Palestine. Boycott Israel.”
Next to it is a small blue and white flier. A young white silhouette represents “modern white youth.” Modern white youth is being attacked through its right ear by a web of words and ideas: “Cultural Marxism, White Guilt, Communism, Equality, Hate Your Race, World Immigration, Feminism, Racism, White Privilege, Degeneracy, Homosexuality, Colonialism, Drugs” Out of its left ear blood spills out, bright red against a light blue sky.

Two girls walk ahead of me. Both of them are Latin, in their twenties, dark hair, brown skin. They stop in front of a restaurant that specializes in tacos.
“Is this the one? Ah wait, no, this is the one we came to before, right?”
The other girl nods. There is a streak of blue in her hair.
“Yeah, it was good though.”
I sidestep them. The girl with the blue streak apologizes for standing in the middle of the sidewalk. Her eyes open wide for a moment. Maybe she remembers something that was better left forgotten.

“It felt threatening to walk by so many homeless, drunk and drugged people on the street. For us it was clearly not a pleasant place to visit.”

The disembodied voices have multiplied and I can hear them coming at me from all directions.
“Why are some of you feeling excluded, after all the loving things you have read in your newspapers and heard in your TV news? Why do you go to the rivers and neglect the fountain? Would you accept the true love that the City has for you? It rose from your pain and it knows where you come from.”

Two women stand in front of the police station. Their thick old backpacks are in front of them, temporarily placed on the sidewalk. They are rearranging things inside of their backpacks in a rush. I know that one or both of them have just gone through a long ordeal. I also get the sense that they have left someone behind inside the station and the ordeal is not over. This is only a brief respite before the pain begins again.
The older woman, with unruly blond hair and kind eyes, looks at me. I feel that she wants to ask something of me, she wants me to help her in some way. I have an urge to help but I restrain myself and just nod. As I walk by her, she is still looking at me with an air of recognition.

“Consider attentively what are the particular diseases you currently endure. Think of your mistakes, think of the worst of all the evils you have committed. I hope you don’t misunderstand me. I hope you don’t hear me say one thing and think I said another. Strong consolation will be provided for those who flee for refuge to the Law.
The police may be cruel at times, they may even seem unfair. But they are ultimately your caretakers, your lovers, your passage through birth and death. They are an extension of the love that the City has for you. But there can be no true love to those who continue with their mistakes. Once you have recognized these mistakes, you must forever put an end to them or the City will claim its debts.”

An army of bright red ants fights an army of bright blue ants. They fight over a terrain of black waves and gray hills. On the hills it is written: “love each other out loud…” On the waves no words will stay in place. The water exists beyond the reach of language.

“The smell of urine is everywhere you go. Can’t these people find a fucking bathroom?”

A large white poster is pasted to a pole with thick dark green tape. The tape is broken and twisted and placed at random intervals. The message is written with various different letters, cut out from magazines and newspapers, in the style of a kidnapper writing a ransom note. It reads: “Too Many Bums in this Town”

I see young blond girl laying naked with a black young man. She spoons him from behind, rubbing her nose against the back of his neck. Their nude bodies are partly covered by thick blue blankets. A fire rages behind them. Math and language intertwine through their sweat, semen and blood.

A beautiful young Latin woman looks sideways at me. She is surrounded by blue waves and yellow tentacles. A sign on her nose reads: “Warning: Security Cameras in Use”
Her mouth opens and she speaks in a smooth low voice that crackles with ancient life.
“I will tell you their story so you can tell it again. Once a young man lost his wife because of a gang war. She was not the intended target but she died nonetheless. He couldn’t afford a funeral so her body was taken to the city morgue. The devastated husband tried to steal from a liquor store but the owner had a gun and shot him. The wife’s body was never recovered. But the young man joined her at the morgue. That was the final resting place where they finally found a love that could transcend time.”

Over a yellow and red fiery background, someone has written in bright green letters: “Listen to the …. Of the Poor” After “the…” someone else has written the word “Tongues” A third someone has written in rough black marker: “As you wish”

A giant bee stares out at me with a huge white human eye that opens up from its back. Made of scratchy stripes of yellow and black, the body is covered in bloody splotches. Violence is everywhere, blood is the seed from which all beauty takes life.

A family runs away in black silhouette. Father leads, mother follows, young daughter holds on to mother’s hand. They run desperately towards a young dark-haired woman wearing an open leopard jacket, slim black panties and nothing else. Over her head is the word “Persona.” Under her barely covered crotch is the word “Lust.”
Further away, another dark haired young girl looks on. On her face is a satisfied smile; her mouth and chin are covered in black blood. Around her are the words: “Pure Lust”
She turns to me and clarifies: “Not just violence, not just blood.”

“It was run down, just one big dump. I’m sorry I don’t mean to be insulting, but that’s how I saw it. I saw what appeared to be gangs just hanging out on the street. I mean… somebody should do something when you see these people hanging out like that.”

Two girls stand at the corner by an old bank. They are both smoking, one seems a lot more confident in her movements than the other. The confident one is dressed in dark gray pants and a loose white sweater. The younger one has hesitation written on her face; she is dressed in white jeans and a white t-shirt. They are both smoking pot and the younger one is self conscious about doing it in public.
“It’s all the same, you know? All the same…” the older one says. Then she brushes her black hair out of her eyes.

This street was once known as the street of the witches. Back then women with secret powers lived here. At night the street was dark so that nobody could go in search of beauty. The darkness would hide it, the darkness would make them believe that beauty didn’t exist. This place becomes pregnant when night falls, a dark path with a vibrant sense of an endless departure.

A simple message is written with black marker, the ink is already fading under the sun:
“Do What You Want. Love How You Want. Make…”

A floating black and white mask sprouts black and white mushrooms from its head. A single number one sits on its closed third eye; two white flowers are on either side of its white wide open eyes. It opens its mouth to speak to me in a dark deep voice full of memory:

“For many years, the young man brought flowers and cleaned his wife’s grave. His obsession reached such a degree that he married a young girl that looked just like her. When that girl died, he married another girl that looked just like her. Eventually he came to see that all girls everywhere, all women of all kinds and in all places were her and had always been her. Thus all bad things that could happen had already happened to her. And all good things would certainly happen to her as well. It was only when he saw this final truth that he was finally happy. But he had been dead many years by the time that final recognition arrived.”

“The only thing I’m left with is the dirt, the dirt and the trash and the dirty people living on the streets. Don’t they have a place to go? They should have somewhere, I don’t know, some kind of shelter or something. What I saw was a kind of village for the homeless. Why is this happening?”

A hand drawn butterfly rises into a world of deep solid colors, waves upon waves of green and red and yellow. The scene is signed by “the gang of tears”
If I close my eyes, I can hear the flapping of its wings. Soft, heavy, subtle.

Thursday, November 8, 2018


The cell phone rings. She holds it to her ear. She stares out the open door of the basement room. Just past the doorway is another sub-level space with a large exercise machine, some dumbbells of various weights and half a dozen storage bins stacked in the corner. She cannot see any of it from her spot on the bed.

Her eyes linger on the sheet rock just beyond the door frame. She listens
to the ringing,
the silence,
the ringing,
the silence.

A few windows at the very top of the ceiling reveal nothing but a few blades of grass along the cement walkways on each side of the house. The windows are a foot tall, a few feet wide. Just a little bit of light filters into the basement. It’s the cool pale light of fall. She feels a little cold in her flannel. 
Wood paneling lines the walls, thin faux wood linoleum covers the basement floor.  There are cracks and chips on the edges of the tiles close to the walls. A few mismatched blankets are crumpled on the bed, along with a few pillows ensconced in dingy white cases.

She was beyond excited as she was boarded the airplane just seven hours earlier.  She stood about fifteen feet from the open gate waiting for her boarding group to be called.
She looked at an older woman close to her. She had a poof of white hair piled high on her head and was dressed elegantly in black dress and pearl earrings. She wondered if the old woman could sense the delight in her heart, the nervous sparkles in her eyes.

A few hours in, as the plane made its way into the night, a tickle of doubt began to emerge.
She brushed it off once, twice, tried to focus on her book. But then it settled in…
As the grim reality of her choice became clear, she felt uneasy.  It was a plan like all her plans had been, no research, recon, or testing the waters. It was head first or nothing.  She dove in with her eyes closed, grasping at the ribbons of her fantasy.

Her optimistic smile had faded by the time she stepped off the plane.  She wondered if he would be there to pick her up. She hardly recognized him by baggage claim in a blue tie-dye shirt. He wore long shorts and flip flops.  His hair was longer now, almost to his shoulders and very blond at the tips. Where it hung around his face, the ends were fanned out, like Farah Fawcett’s style in the 70s.
She picked up her bag and they descended to the parking garage on an escalator. He was one step below her. Without looking at her he said:
“This is crazy.”
She nodded quietly, smiling sheepishly.
She noticed there was an edge in his voice, perhaps regret.

It was past eleven when they pulled up to the house. He escorted her through the living room, through the kitchen and towards the stairs that led to the converted basement.  
“My brother’s wife and kid are in Mexico right now.”
She nodded, silently carrying her bag.
There was a single light on in the kitchen, pale and flickering.  A white Formica table was close to the stove. On it were a few forgotten coffee cups and a folded magazine. The house felt lonely.

They walked down the stairs into the bedroom. She thought they would kiss and have sex, he would take her in his arms and say how much he had missed her.
But they were strangers.
Now that she was in his house, in the real world as everyone liked to call it, it seemed strange that they had ever been more than strangers.
If he had leaned over and touched her face, she would have given herself willingly anyway.
But he didn’t, and that made it all the stranger to her.
They slept in the same bed that night. His alarm was set for five. He told her he would be back around 9am.

She greeted him warmly when he arrived. For a moment she imagined that he had brought her breakfast. But there was only one to-go cup of coffee in his hand. He held out the donut bag to her with reluctant politeness. She peered in and saw only one donut.
She shook her head sadly, saying:
“There’s just one.”
He said nothing.

Her surprise turned to anger, the anger folded and re-folded, an origami lotus revealing its petals of disillusionment.
They had had a brief sex-filled affair. Sex in beds, hammocks, on a balcony beneath the night stars. He looked after her a few days when she was sick with sun stroke, helped her arrange a bus ticket back to Guadalajara. They went out to eat a few times.
Besides a few sporadic phone calls throughout the summer, that was all they had. In one of their conversations he invited her to Chicago, where he was moving in with his brother. The invitation had not been for a visit, but rather a permanent living arrangement. 
She had gone willingly into the fantasy, her parents and friends once again concerned about her reckless impulses.

A few hours before her flight to the Midwest, her mother said:
“You won’t be too proud to come back if it doesn’t end up working, will you?” 

And now here she was, a house in the suburbs, the cool winds of fall a whisper at the back of her neck. 
He invited her to sit outside with him. Fall leaves floated on the surface of the pool. They sat on the cold cement walkway surrounding the pool. 
“Is something wrong? You look sad.” She said.
“It was a mistake asking you to come here. I’m sorry I did that. In August I got some news and I have been going to the doctor a lot. During the summer I was with a lot of women- after I was with you, I was with another woman. I think she gave me something. It’s not serious, there is treatment- but that is why I was not with you last night. It’s why I don’t think you should be here.”
She was quiet.
“It was a crazy idea.”
“Ok, well, I’m going to call and get a flight. Will you take me to the airport later?”
“Yeah, sure.”

The telephone rings. She holds the cell phone to her ear. She stares out the open door of the basement room. She listens
to the ringing,
the silence,
the ringing,
the silence.
“Hey Jen, it’s me. I’ll be in San Francisco at 9 tonight. Can you me meet me there?”
“What?” She says through laughter.
It’s a familiar laugh, low, guttural and rolling.
“Yep.” A smile breaks across her face. “I’ll tell you about it tonight.”

Tuesday, October 2, 2018


The rope is knotted in the corner. Dust on the earthen floor. It’s been there since the beginning, since that first house was built, since the first man was made out of spit and semen.
The walls are crumbling around me now, the cracks are growing wider and deeper, dying so slowly. I’ll stay here forever before they turn to sand and memory.
My eyes play tricks on me as the candles dance back and forth.  Yellow and gold scenes emerge from the walls, heroes and monsters are born and fade on the flat surface as the wind bursts though the open windows. The night air smells of sweetness, of smoke and old knowledge.
That rope, I watch as it changes shape.  A snake moves towards me, ready to kiss or bite. I cannot tell.  It slides over my ankles, crawling slowly up my soot covered legs. I see it grow, I see it expand wider and wider, forming hips and breast, scales becoming dewy skin and fine hair.  She is silvery, iridescent like clouds below the moon. She moves. Her chest, feet, hands, all match the rhythm coming from outside.
They are chanting by the fire, around our old tree on the other side of the river.  I can hear them, I can imagine them in the shadow of the mountain as if I was there among them. But I am here, on this simple mattress, among epic battles that never end.
She moves her head towards me. She becomes something more than physical. More than the force of all men, all systems I’ve ever understood or heard of. She takes over my body. I search for descriptions, for the limit, the very edge. I follow, communicating only with my eyes. I watch her breasts rise and fall, then search her eyes for the center.
She will not let me return to the physical, not yet. Not while my body is free. I place my mind in her hands, let her wet hands dissolve my lies.  She takes me up the mountain, one single being in free eager flight.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Without Eyes or Force

my king, my god
barely recognizable in the wind
shining in the moonlight

my king, my god
its shape incomprehensible
in the swirling phenomena
of a myriad structures and forms
that surround it.

It devours all true memory
all sense of the past
is torn away
from underneath me
leaving me cold and alone
hesitant and uncertain.

Here, in this place,
I see
it is thinking that began time,
and language that gave it shape.
And now time stirs
revealing the hidden treasures
of entropy and death.

Certain questions will
forever remain
suspended in space
without answers
without conclusions
vibrant in their
refusal to fall.

behind the black curtain
the night envelops me
and a body
without eyes or force
forever becomes
a sound
vibrating air
somehow shining
in the moonlight.