Monday, May 11, 2009


It's a sunny day but the graffiti letters are still trickling down from the eaves along Mission street. They bounce on metal street covers like Alphabits falling from the box knocked over on the kitchen table. They dripped out of someone's white paint pen while we were asleep. These dancing words and the blooming flower baskets and the cloudless sky seem to defy the cigarette butts and black remains of chewing gum that litter the walkway.

I listen to "Starlight" by Muse. I believe the street rolls underneath my feet where the world dances in sweeping motions with the passion of the singer. It colors this place where I pass the people sweeping their doorstops, selling churros, spitting on the sidewalk, youthful and traveling in packs, or sitting in quiet homelessness underneath the murals on 19th.

I hear:
"Hold you in my arms / I just wanted to hold you in my arms
My life / You electrify my life"

I put the song on repeat.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Convinced that this was a product of the intense heat of the day and exhaustion, I shook my head and went home. I slept with the covers twisted around my feet. Wind whistled through the roughly patched bathroom wall and disturbed my dreams. I grumbled in frustration. I knew I would have to fix that more completely before my landlady returned home. Little bits of wall still fell into the toilet on occasion.

I found myself in the forest again. Sun had cooked the city that day so I had left to go hiking with Ben. We walked in silence for a time and then he wandered off on his own. I trudged up steep winding paths. Branches and vines plucked lightly at my clothing. But I reached a plateau where the ground cover appeared soft and welcoming. There, I sat down in the center of a sunbeam that had broken through the canopy of branching tree limbs. I took a deep breath. Then, I grasped the zipper pull that is concealed underneath my bangs. With my exhale, I pulled back on it and a flurry of little yellow butterflies rushed out. I smiled at the sense of release.

I thought, there will be no little monkeys or trolls here to provoke questions. I heard the trees giggle, a slight fluttering of their leaves in the breeze.

Monday, April 20, 2009


I walked home tonight after the movies. The evening air was still warm after a day of unusual heat. I felt introspective and didn't make eye contact with the people I passed along the sidewalk. Casual groups of friends smiled and joked easily outside the neighborhood bars.

I looked up from my feet to see a small creature standing in the pool of light underneath a street lamp. He smiled at me peacefully. I blinked a bit and stopped for a moment. The meteor I witnessed with Tomas streaked through my memory. So, my mouth opened beginning to form a question. But the creature only smiled further. He stood up from his relaxed position and strolled out of the circle of light. The night appeared so dark outside of that circle that I lost sight of him.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Handlebar

The baristo sported a handlebar moustache. He had used wax to elegantly curl the ends of the thick brush. It was lovely. He might have been a barber or shopkeeper from the early 20th century. This throw-back decoration was masterfully chosen to accompany his short wavy hair, red adidas shirt, and worn-out jeans. He took orders and slung coffee, the lone male amid a bevy of pretty girls who worked there as well.

Funk music beat out of the speakers and filled in the holes where there were no speaking voices. It encircled the line waiting for service. It bumped my feet in their flip-flops and worked its way into my hands to my fingers where it tapped out onto Jay's back. It carried through his arms and fingers back to my shoulder. It was in me and said to me: "yeah, here I am with my best guy."

I smiled and briefly saw Jay with a handlebar moustache. We appeared together in silence with the colors of the world slipping off of our bodies and surroundings like a silken veil. Jay smiled down at me. He wore the striped shirt and armbands of a shopkeeper. He held me and looked up to smile into the light of day.

Then ... a moment of transformation. He smiled back down at me. He smirked, in fact, and I saw his eyes shift craftily from side to side. He twisted the end of the moustache and the corner of his mouth twitched upward underneath it.

I wore horrible dark lipstick and false eyelashes which I batted furiously from where I lay tied to a railroad track. He knelt before me and described his plan with large gestures. The words he spoke appeared as intertitles. But in the midst of his most profound statement, an oncoming train blasted through the intertitle. It was one of many paper banners spread across the track at timed points. The train continued bursting through them and robbed us of speech. Jay looked alarmed as he looked from the oncoming train and back down to me.

Lying on the opposite side of the track from him was a smoldering meteorite. Jay gestured to it frantically and I saw his face flicker between two characters - the noble protagonist and the crafty villain. Two tamarind monkeys came out from behind the meteorite. They flanked it and peered quietly at me. They carried small spears. I shut my eyes as I felt the train approaching, a deep fear shuddering through my body with its approach. I felt Jay untying me and he wrenched me from the tracks as the train rushed through.

I felt the rush of air against my legs as the door to the cafe opened and closed, and I leaned into Jay's embrace. I put my hand into his jacket pocket. We ordered some bread pudding to go.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Goodnite Mission

I walked through the neighborhood to meet Gill for lunch. I wore a skirt in an attempt to tame the wind and coax warmer weather into the heart of spring. My hands slid into my jacket sleeves, my arms making an "O" before my stomach. I felt uniquely feminine. I didn't have to squint to protect my eyes from my whipping hair with my sunglasses on.

Through well-loved earbuds, I listened to a frequently repeated track: U2's "One Tree Hill". It rolled through my brain on tracks, slick like a neon rollercoaster carving down neuron pathways. Piles of streams of light built on each other like time-lapsed photos of the highway at night. The beat generated a 3D representation of an equalizer wave creating an earthy base for the flying vocals and instruments. And the digital glow of the song was decorated with these visions of my eyes:

Run-down victorian homes converted to apartments and shop fronts, peeling papers from hundreds of posted events on blank walls, an older man his face a crescent moon his hand holding a cup for donations, smiling workmen with heads full of sun, graffiti rambling across billboards and the sidewalks giving the city it's voice: Let's gentrify like it's going out of style! The city is a shelter for the rich! Love to love! Vegans for McCain! I love Pam!

Everything had its beat and its life and its own soundtrack. I saw the words "goodnite mission" spilled out onto the pavement by someone with a message and a paint bucket. It was slopped out of the bucket in two long curls, the density of the paint and thinness of line giving the words a delicate presence that made them a gift of love from the anonymous and eternal author.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Before dawn, the harsh slam of the back bedroom door jolted my brain. The landlady's guest crashed through the bathroom like a lumbering giant. My hair shot straight up and then curled tight against my skull as my eyes narrowed.

I shot laser beams from my eyes through layers of sheetrock and wood and insulation and house-stuffs. The beam erupted through the medicine cabinet on the other side of the wall. Pills and q-tips and nail-trimming devices and glass exploded outward. Her gaze jerked upward in alarm. Too late to recall the beam, I blasted her through the toilet to the outside of the house.

Her panties held their position wrapped around her ankles as she flew backward in slowing time through the outer wall. The magazine she read flew from her hands and bits of ceramic from the demolished toilet reflected the outer sunlight creating a brilliant white halo about her. Somehow her modesty was preserved during all of this. My instantaneous guilt at behaving thus toward a guest and rather a kind person kept her privates in shadow so that they might not be subject to public review. Her dressing gown fluttered downward to conceal her nudity as she accelerated out of the house.

I heard her mosey toward the downstairs kitchen. Coughs and chair scraping echoed through the house. Bits of ceramic dust fell around her coffee and onto the morning paper. She swept it into the crease so that she might still read the headline:


The driver was my friend Tomas who had consumed a drink some hours prior, and the other had been I fading into half-sleep as we drove home from late dinner at a friend's house. My left eye wandered open from time to time and wobbled about underneath my shuddering eyelid. But the instant I attempted to waken, I happened to see that streak of light whooshing out of sight past the upper left corner of the windshield.

Tomas asked me "did you see that comet?" I only spoke a simple "yeah" - the sound of it spinning outward and landing in a breath. Inwardly, I questioned the reality of this situation and the chance that I would waken to even see such a thing. That we would both see it. That it could possibly really be a comet instead of just a weird bird - some strange white thing that flew across the field of our vision; some creature or portent.