The jewel is in the lotus, though it’s roots are in the mud. The man is on the rooftop: the streets are crying for blood. The hand is in the glove but the glove is on the floor. The faces are all masked and the smiles are unforgiving: the common air’s not free and every lost soul left breathing is gasping and begging, but there is no more any more there is no more anymore.
The man is on the rooftop, my eyes are on his feet, he raises both his arms to the dying sun to greet, the man is on the rooftop opposite my room, he takes off his hat, he stares into the fading light as if looking into the darkened tomb, he hesitates and sways, he demurs and prevaricates. Under the gun of a dream, beneath the bomb of the will, the rattle of the windows unsettles the sawn off hope that kills.
Where are the limits to endurance, the boundaries to the song? While we are not the six foot under everything that is pure can be torn and maimed. Not everything can be righted which is wrong. Kill them all and let it be fixed on the other side, I hear the cry, the cheap seats are all empty, the peanut throwers are ill.
I wonder if he thinks of jumping. I wonder if he will. I wonder why he is up there. Still, I wonder why I’m not. I think about shouting over that none of it is worth anything…then wonder if I am right that it’s not.
I cannot open my window, floors above the street, without feeling the urge to throw myself through it and land upon my feet. In these quiet moments of these strange controllable urges the walls feel like they are shifting outwards, the window’s made of jelly. The paneling melts into a magic door that I can pass through, flesh through metal falling falling falling falling from the windows that I look through.
In these moments of feeling like lurching forward onto the boulevard from four stories above, these little lemming urges, this desire to jump and not die, to jump and fly, to jump and land cat-like on my feet and walk off down the street crouching down like spiderman, leaping into the wide blue springing forth the fount of a stream of conscious survival. It’s a resistible urge, much like telling the man who pushes you out the way on the street, sending you tumbling into the river of cars that head to the bay, to the sea, to the sunshine away from me, much like telling him his feet smell and he has a big nose, that nobody likes him and nobody ever will. You know you shouldn’t, you know you can’t. It is not only ill-advisable, but rude, not only dangerous but impolite. Which is the bigger sin? Finishing or starting the fight?
These little urges that permeate the day, increasing with each flash of light, each crack of the gun, each stabbing, and smashing, each murder and slashing, need to be resisted. I lead the resistance, I carry the forward charge, through each indignity, every moment of hypocrisy, from each and every merry-go-round of papers and letters and demands I cannot fulfill, I carry it forwards through prejudice and domination, through threats and the anticipation of violence, through injury and scars, through the streets, and past the cars. I man the resistance in tiny meetings, in gatherings of one, where I and I meet myself and tell stories of the battles I and I have won. I hide behind the trees and snipe my retorts, I gather in the cellars where talk is cheap and taut. I organize the raids upon the enemy’s position, I take my trophies, take souvenirs and realize I’ve lost and they have already won.
In my world an indecisive victory is no winning at all. Nothing but absolute victory, utter decimation will decide my fate, but my hands are tied and voice breaks crying mercy mercy towards those who don’t deserve it at all. Not at all. “She died without surprise” Leonard sings. After all what is easier for me, it is not life, it is not living, it is existing in this evil storm of petty violence that I fought so hard to escape, yet chases me onto streets, hunts me in my shelter, runs me down along Polk and destroys me on the lower blocks of Geary and Post. Small victories that are the same asthe losses. Huge losses added to the tolls. I pay them in my tears, I turn them in my soul. No one will be shocked when I fall, except me. No one will be shaken when I shuffle off through a window, or onto the train tracks – Cassady-wise. Or taken out by a stray bullet on a tough block, or my heart gives up with the strain of surviving the unsurvivable day after day after fucking long hard dangerous day. Is this civilization? Is this living? Is there help? Is there a side of the shore to swim to, and where is it? Am I close or drowning in increments of moments passing?
“At least you are sober”, I smile and laugh. That is the least of my problems. “At least you are not drinking”….”At least you are not …” That is right, I am not. I am not anything left at all, a hollow woman with no vanguard, no Partisans to take the night watch off me and let me sleep. I am delirious for sleep. I am desperate for rest. I am left begging for air.
I won’t pretend that I cannot take any more. I won’t let the word defeat escape sideways from my mouth sewn shut for the comfort of others. I have an upper limit, it hasn’t be reached. I have a few battles left in me that I am prepared to sit in my rocking chair and tell some soft young head I fought. I won’t tell you that I’m breaking, I broke many years ago. I won’t pretend I do not hurt, these last few days have been back to the razor blade flail.
In what universe does a man say to you “he didn’t know it, he didn’t suffer, he was dead before he hit the floor” and you find comfort in that the passing of a soul not twenty foot away from your door was not heavier than it sounded. In what universe does the teller not get asked what was heard and what was not seen or was? In the universe where some deaths are cheap and others are so dear, that some mother’s son’s are mourned with their passing and others dissipate unmarked.
There is a new tent there now. Another soul taken the spot scrubbed clean after three days respect.
There is a killer on the streets, and hardly a soul cares about the man that is dead.