Le paradis n'est pas artificiel …

October 18, 2006

San Francisco

Letter to a friend; I think there's some good ideas in here.

I'm outside the SFPL, at so-called Civic Centre plaza, surrounded by gobs of unrequited humanity, the unwashed skin of San Francisco's weekday-time public, phlegm of the fog cough, flittering skinheads on their brakeless bikes, the bored security officer whose job it is to wake the sleepers; and one finely dreaded black adrogyne, wearing an ivory cross, who moves constantly as if to adjust some slow, sore muscle.

There's no debate about my not fitting in here; I am weird, homesick, and happy. Gone are the hippie-Haight days; in this extortionate city, those that are able to work, must, but since I only legally can't, I go about wearing my health like a stigma. My writer friends are made overwrought and distant by workaday life.

One thing time in a serious city has shown me is that I don't care for the aesthetics of excess — so I'm in the wrong country, right? — and even the comforts I find strike me as being better when whittled down to scarcity: a kilo of oranges, a solid cup of coffee, a new disc of old jazz from the library. In fact I prefer these things outside of the city, in spite of the fact that they can only come from the city (meta): oranges, coffee and jazz. Economics aside, I like less.


You know what else is interesting? Often, as just now, other weekday-time people notice when I sit to write, and their mumbling starts to take shape as song or story; it's like watching videos of DNA strands forming, to listen and realize that that's what we're made of — chaos coming together in a way that makes sense.

I'm here for the library, and the farmer's market in the plaza, the relief of purpled lettuce and sunny choisum; Italian peppers chewy with scent; persimmons still with their iridescent tree-sheen. A heavy pomegranate, and baskets of strawberries with "red hearts". A Mexican vendor at that booth kept giving away whole baskets to field tripping children, just for their trebling thanks, so I bought the most from him — "just beautiful," I said, and inevitably he replies, "like you, senorita." Aw, how sweet, a real red heart in amongst the surly city. To misunderstand can still be beautiful... Aw, life.

Posted by Delire at October 18, 2006 12:00 PM
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