Countless voices accompany me,
Walking the streets of San Francisco.
The writers and friends who are there, but no longer here.
The movements they helped create.
The practices which continue.
They are always with me.
So are the conversations, so many in movement.
I look out of the trees and the blue skies on the BART on the way to the city.
Talking about trees and the fires with an elder woman.
I get off at the Civic Center and the smell of pot fills my lungs.
Homeless people are zipping about, some in wheelchairs,
Some not quite here, looking for a fix.
Allen is always the narrator.
But so are many others.
I walk down 9th Street.
A hotel on one side of the street,on the other, the Stud on the corner.
A whole world took shape here.
Sex magic and commerce,
Play and ideas.
Footsteps of Mark Thompson, author/editor of
Leather folk remind me.
Geoff Mains follows.
“Given involuntarily, and in an atmosphere of distrust, pain is torture…” Geoff reminds us. “But given consensually, between equals, pain can be a most incredible form of love.”
Tomorrow is World AIDS Day.
This community disappeared after the AIDS crisis.
“World AIDS Day. What a towering, distorting, crushing, literally crazy experience of pain, effort, creation, wounding, holes in our worlds, immeasurable consequences on my generation and subsequently, and all the things AIDS has determined in our lives. ...”
Walking back to Market, I’m always reminded of those days.
Its not quite the same.
Colors and murals fill the walls of Berwick Street.
A sex shop here.
A joint here, a vibrator there.
There’s the crazy horse.
Not yet closed like the others.
Still smells like bad perfume.