We All Have Our Own Stories


Etched on our skin, soft glass, bevelled, delicate to the touch, the smoothness be lying the pain that scraped out the hardness therein.

My friend sat on my chaise lounge and broke it down.

He had picked me up in Noe Valley.

He was on the motorcycle, leaning against it as I walked out, wondering about my life, about this thing in me that leads me where it leads me.

My heart.

This incessant, necessary, almost compulsive desire to feel, feel, feel.

I used to not want to feel and now I am this feeling junkie, give it to me, I want to be alive I want to sense it, this world that is about me.

I was walking up the hill into Noe Valley from Valencia taking 24th and just over awed by San Francisco.

She does it to me, this city, I was taken and inflamed with love and majesty, and magic, really, its magic and I am always just a little startled when this happens.

I can see things in flat two-dimensional ways, planes of glass on mirrors, flat, a fallow falling of shadow, a skein of dust floating across the pain (pane) of a plexiglass frame, dust it all you will and it is still there, sallow, coating the picture with a filter.

Then.

There will be days, like today, violet days, days of purple, when the skein comes off, the sun flashes out, the dust is gone, it is clear, the world is wiped, shiny, emboldened, lovely, loverly, and I am smashed to pieces with the beauty of it, just the frame of the condominiums across the way from the SafeWay grocery store on Fulton Street blows me apart.

The curry yellow faded paint and the mid-80s architecture some how smote me, the mediocrity of the building becomes bludgeoned with the vast sea it frames and the roll and heave of the Pacific Ocean in that one snippet of view, thunderous and huge, and yet, contained in the picture.

I knew by the time I was getting back from Noriega Produce this afternoon that I was not riding my scooter, I was not riding my bicycle, I was walking or taking MUNI, I was daydreaming with my load of groceries on my back from Safe Way and almost got side swiped by a car that rolled through the stop sign at La Playa and Lincoln.

I had the right of way.

I was right, but I was about to not be happy.

Normally, it wouldn’t have matter, I would have recognized that the driver was doing what the driver does, the driver has his own agenda and it does not involve me.

But I, in my self-centered way, was blithely riding my bicycle along believing that everyone can see me, and see me clearly (though, to stretch this into a metaphor, I don’t see things clearly anyhow, I need a community of like-minded people to daily, constantly, hopefully, lovingly and compassionately, give me fucking perspective), that they know I have two half gallons of unsweetened vanilla almond milk in my bag and there was a sale on my favorite organic yogurt so I got more and I splurged on bottled water, which I never do, but there was a sale and.

Holy shit.

I am almost hit.

Not because I wasn’t obeying every traffic law there was, hell, I was even in the turn lane on the Great Highway to take the green arrow with the cars, it didn’t matter, the driver was doing his own thing and came out of the gas station, onto La Playa and right out into the lane, no stopping, not even pausing, probably did not see the stop sign.

And I.

I was too smitten with sea salt and the smell of a bonfire, and the crispedy crisp ness of the world and my environs, like a camera obscura, lit within and edge with gold and saffron, to see that I am about to get hit on my bicycle.

“Well officer, I didn’t see her coming, it was all just a vast river of almond milk in the road.”

They shake their heads sadly and kick the waxed cardboard half liter to the sandy curb.

I missed getting hit.

I caught it out of the corner of my eye and swerved, the driver never saw me, never stopped, I felt the whick of the car sliding along my ankle to the point where I had anticipatory pain wing up my calve and cause me to gasp out loud.

I gave the car the thumbs up and said, “thank you God for saving drunks and children” as I am both a drunk (sober) and a child (emotional).

I resolutely set forth the last three blocks to home, not getting hit, shielding my eyes from the startling beauty of my neighborhood–did you see the clouds, did you feel the sun, did you smell that air today, did the last kiss of autumn beguile you?

I got home, unloaded my groceries, made a run to Noriega produce, hyper aware and absolute in my resolution to not be on two wheels, either scooter or bicycle, today, ride the MUNI, get a ride home from Noe Valley, call a cab.

Or have a friend meet you at the place on his motorcycle and scoop your wet eyed self up on the edge of the sidewalk and adjust the helmet on your head since you, suddenly incapable, blunt smacked with feelings, struggle to get your hair out-of-the-way.

And it stuns me.

These feelings.

“You need to stop writing about__________,” my friend said to me today.  “________ knows everything about you, it’s not fair, you have to keep somethings to yourself,  you, can you fictionalize it, can you make it up?”

I can’t.

I want to, you know.

But there it is these colors and feelings, the sharp hammer etching out the frosted glass of my heart and it is beautiful, but sharp and painful and I can’t stop doing it.

Because I become the art and the beauty and it is my process and my love and me.

Not all me.

“I know you don’t write it all out, that’s for your morning pages,” my friend astutely observed as we talked about love, loss, stories, the nuances of feelings, the perspective of time and what it is like to make art in real-time.

I am an artist.

I love myself.

I forgive myself.

I accept myself.

“Honey, of course he called you an artist, you ooze it out of your skin like your sexuality.”

Wow.

I had not thought of that.

So I am the art, the piece and the parcel and the story, it is I and I am it.

Yes.

There’s my heart on my sleeve.

Was it any wonder that I can’t come up with a good costume for Halloween?

I was already dressed for my part.

And so.

I continue, and it’s here, but not here, you see it, there beneath the bevelled glass, a shimmering of truth, but frosted slightly.

I get the pain, you get art, vibrant and mitred on the skin of my being.

Tattooed with love.

Yet again.

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