Danse Macabre

Outside my window in the alleyway the tinny throbbing beat of old fashioned electro dance rises up into my room with a threatening vibe of the promise of a noisy night. The pipe-heads are dancing in the streets, exchanging lines and white lies, carrying stones and rocks, barefeet, some in socks and no shoes, or shoes but no socks if they are luckier. A woman in a red bandanna is dancing with a man in a skull masque, they are doing the sweet pea, or the mash potato, the dirty dog hunch down in the gutter where the wild things go: I know why. The sun is shining. The sun is out and it is warm and dry and everyone feels like partying a little: all us creatures need a little spring. I personally could do with less spring if spring is gonna bring this mess to my window.

Tent dwellers run from tent to tent, some need more clothes on, some are hidden under sleeping bags and blankets. One woman runs in panic from one side of the street to another, topless. Just a bra on and leggings, with a spike between her teeth, like a thorny rose, red slashes her pale bloodless lips. I want to look the other way, but I know what happened – she missed or it slipped and she depressed plunger and oh no disaster; or else she couldn’t flag – couldn’t slide metal into vein and pull back with that tell tale red plume, tried in vain and once failed and failed and failed again, ran flailing to see if someone else had better luck than her. Splash cold water onto face, steady hand, why do these chicks use these tiny fine needles, veins rolling under the pressure, or worse, used up blunted hooked and barbed they tear sweet flesh open. Open to no avail.

The man in the skull gaiter twirls the young woman round, for a second I wonder if he is the Grim Reaper Himself, not hiding his bones from his prey. I worry for the red bandana-ed girl as she twirls uncaring, unknowingly dancing with death on a San Franciscan afternoon, wisp of a breath decaying as the sunlight fades but not fades away. It is never truly dark in the city. It is never night with the streetlights and the carlights, and the stars all bleached out of the night sky by the light pollution.

The tent opposite has turned into a canvas mansion with car roof containers, bicycles, tarps, multiple suitcases, works of art, a table, a chair and a lamp that doesn’t light. A stroller, a dog and a psychedelic wall hanging to block out the light of the day. I see him pull up the drawbridge: he looks like he has had enough of the party, as well as I. So closing the window and drawing the curtains, I pray for rain. I am not a nice person anymore.


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