Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Changing Light and a Weekend in San Francisco








San  Francisco is flooding, Harvey Milk lives.

“The changing light of San Francisco is
none of your East Coast light
none of your pearly light of Paris,
The light of  San Francisco is sea light
an  island light,”
Lawrence Ferlinghetti,
The Changing Light

I felt the light everywhere leaving Brooklyn.
Walking to catch the A train at Hoyt Schermerhorn.
Have fun at the fair for that guy who wrote a lot of books about history?
Says the little one.
What’s his name?
Howard Zinn.
Coffee with mon amour.
Hard to leave the warm bed.
Up late the night before,
With comrade Greg and company,
Gossiping about standup and polyamory.
None of it is ever easy.
Alarm rings at 640.
Saying
Goodbye to the teenager,
Off to the climate strike.
Sorry I can’t join you, I tell her.
Its ok Dad.
She has her Paul Siminon boyfriend.
Viv had Mic.
She has Will.
I have Brooklyn, where Lawrence wrote about a Coney Island of the Mind.
Off to San Francisco where I wrote about Illuminations on Market Street.
And Lawrence wrote about
Changing light.
Early morning light.
Quiet hours.
And questions.
Searing their way through my consciousness.
The world changing.
Go to 23rd and Cap, says Caroline.
There’s an old Victorian,
Where I lived all those decades ago.
Get a burrito for me.
I carry Whitman and Genet,
Illuminations and Ferlinghetti,
A cub of coffee and my duffle bag,
Out into Brooklyn.
Looking out at the light,
The A train takes 45 minutes, through Ft Greene and Bey Stuy,
To Queens,
Past Graffiti and cemeteries.
Out to JKF
Looking down,
Rising into the sky.
Departing our Island Archipelago.
The light on the water below, the city stretching into the sea.
Wondering, about Rachel Carson’s prophesy:
“It is a curious example by the sea from  which life first arose,
Should be threatened by  the activities by one from of that life.
But the sea, though changed in a sinister way, will continue to exist.
The threat is to life itself.”

Bring a raincoat, counsels Ron. 
Its raining.
Reading all the way across the country.
To the left coast,
Arrive at 230.
Walk to North Beach.
Where the city still has its secret nooks and crannies.
Some  kinky rough edges between SOMA and the water.
Bawdy culture and poetry.
Messages on the sidewalks:
“Love lights more fires than hate extinguishes,” say the words in the alley.
'The air was soft, the stars so fine, the promise of every cobbled alley so great, that I thought I was in a dream.”
“I wished to make people laugh… bring out their sensuality.”
Read Emily Dickenson says one of the workers at  City Lights.
Or  Breathturn into Timestead by. Paul Celan,
Poetry Comes out of my mouth by Mario Santiago Papasquiaro
Or Bob Kauffman.
Pick up  some Baudelaire poems and walk.
By Café Trieste where Allen and Harold and Jack H used to chat.
Ron and I meet at the holy bookstore and have a laugh.
Chatting well into the night.
Riding past the holy cyclists,
To Noe, meeting Dion, whose been here for  decades.
Dreams from a war  years ago still raging  in his head.
Never quite gone.
Waking lost.

Raindrops and a rainbow over the Pacific the next morning.
Blue skies peaking out.
Surfers making their way across Lindemar Beach.
Walking with Ron.
“I look at  the water.  It looks angry,” says Ron.
 “The insensibility of the sea, the immutability of the spectacle, revolt me,” says  Boudelaire.  “Ah, must one eternally suffer, for ever be a fugitive from Beauty?
On the road, Ron spins some tunes.
Nothing but blue skies from now on, sings Willie.
Past the Moose Lodge,
Reflecting on reactionary California.
Up and down the coast.
Over the Golden Gate Bridge.
Where Jack Kerouac reveled in a free spirited abundance,
He said this space is freedom,
But it was built on a history of domination. 
Chatting about what it all means.
How do we create a new world,
Within the shells of the old?
“Don’t worry about the government,” sing the Talking Heads.
“my friends are important,
Don’t you worry about me.”
“The Talking Heads helped politicize me,” explains Ron.
Ron and I continuing a conversation through years on our way up to Mount Tamilpias.
“Marshal Berman used to call himself the slightly used new left.”
“Stay human” pleads Michael Franti.
Maintain a theory of difference, Audrey continues on the radio.
Foggy roads leading us.
“Stan Davis studied Italian auto workers,” Ron recalls.
“He met an Italian woman, fell in love,
Drove her to the  emergency room,
Crashed.
He died.
Funny guy.
We had Stanley Davis celibatarians.”

Leonard Cohen’s Democracy comes on the radio.
It's coming from the sorrow in the street
The holy places where the races meet.”

Walking through the woods of the
Mount Tamalpais Watershed,
Trying not to twist and ankle,
I  talk  to  the trees.
Who sometimes talk back wonder.
Along the trail, among the streams and redwood
Stopping for a pint at Pelican Inn for bangers and mash and a Guinness.
Rain pouring,
Meeting redwoods and their ancestors.
Uncut wilderness.
Trees reaching into the sky,
As high as skyscrapers
Thank goodness Muir said, enough.
We are not going  to  build here.
No one is.
Winding through the neighborhood,
Majestic cathedrals,
Branches vines intertwined.
Some over 1000 years old,
Dozens of feet wide.

 “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness,” says Muir
The trees seem to stretch beyond time,
Their roots of interconnected networks of consciousness.
I look up.
They stretch through, obscuring the clouds.
Rain pouring down.

 “Nature, pitiless enchantress, ever-victorious rival, leave me! Tempt my desires and my pride no more.
The contemplation of Beauty is a duel where the artist screams with terror before being vanquished.
We’re all being vanquished.
We wander back through the woods.
At the giftshop, a man sells small sequoia branches.
Can I plant this in Brooklyn?
Let is grow inside for a year before you take it outside.
Back in Brooklyn, we name it Boudelaire.
Rain  pouring all over  San  Francisco.





































































































































































































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