As I was walking up Polk I noticed someone had thrown an entire pack of home crafted tarot cards on the floor. Pink card was cut into playing card pieces, and printed out tarot card etchings stuck onto them, presumably with elmer’s glue. The Queen of Swords and The Tower lay face up forlorn and threatening, her major arcana friends scattered amongst the trash and the filth. Revenge lay weeping bloody tears and The Hanged man was in the gutter. I read tarot cards, it is something I have done for many years. They sit in their velvet case, restrained by cardboard and a drawstring. I don’t take them out and read the too often: it is something not to be approached as a game or a flight of fancy. That is not to say that the spirits and entities that drive their engine don’t sometimes use the cards to twist events in a way they would like to see them go – to either obscure or elaborate, or amplify, and therefore twist and trick. It is all to be taken with a pinch of salt, and some judicious questioning. I will only use the Thoth cards, and am careful not to ever ask about other people who know I am asking about them. I take it seriously. A gift, perhaps. The cobbled together cards scattered on the floor made me wonder. Did the person not like what they saw? Did they not like what they were told? Did they get some great revelation and not need the cards any longer, throwing them into the air and running off into the Great Unknown, knowing everything they needed to know? Did they not see what they needed to and asked for and gave up o the cards, or think the cards gave up on them? Or was it a case of Death, Sacrifice and Destruction? Were they thrown in horror and terror? Whichever, whatever, I suspect the person had a little bit of a shock.
People stopped to wonder. They stood and peered at the cards, wondering what they were, and when they were dealt, quite what they said? Did it affect them? Was there any warning to be gleaned? Any comfort? Any hidden knowledge which might be useful down the line? I wanted to tell them not to bother – they were scattered into total incomprehensible disorder. I wanted to tell them to stand back, this was not their disaster. I wanted to find the questioner and remind them that sometimes the cards don’t tell the whole truth, so help them, Goddess. I wanted to ask who they were working with? What Goddess or God, or spirit were they trying to reach. I wanted to know as much as they did.
I hope I never find out. I don’t think any good can come of it. Not my monkey. Not my circus. I have enough rabid dancing bears and monkeys of my own, dancing over my dreams in their tap shoes.
…But just in case I will pull out my cards this evening and ask them….what the heck is up…
Outside the window a whole line of cars had managed to jam themselves into the illegal parking on the road spaces, at least one car stuck in it’s space, and were being harassed by a Pig threatening to have people towed. The usual menagerie of life passes by the window, grumbling and shouting, yelping and crying, screaming and fighting. Days pass quietly in solitude, gratefully, blissfully serene for the most part. Like the white noise of the road that passes under my window, the noise of the city and the warmth of the lights, and the way the little civilizations and tribes work between and within each other have melted into a comforting blur. Without the noise and the lights and the constant hum and thrum of the city, the emptiness and silence would be overwhelming.
My days pass in a gentle procession of sensible trips up Polk or to Western Addition for groceries, or else sitting by the Bay, watching the sky and the water and the houses over the way in Sausalito and Oakland. Everything is quieter, everything is bland now Billy has passed away. I take trips up to bookshops to buy magazines. I sit here and read and put together submissions and think of how on earth to stay where I am here, in my tiny slice of heaven. surrounded by humanity, in a city that at least tries to care for some, if not for all. It doesn’t get it right all the time San Francisco fails time and time again, those on the very bottom of the pile. The gains in health, kindness, compassion, and living conditions that were made during the darkest days of the pandemic when the SIP hotels were housing so many desperate people, have been frittered away, as those on the top seek to bring back THEIR normality, to reimpose how things were. The bad old days.
Getting back to normal for the City workers and the mayor, and those that make decisions appears to mean a return to a total lack of provision and compassion. The best thing that ever happened to me was a pandemic which meant I could get out of the campgrounds and into housing, and do so via a SIP hotel place, which as hard as it was, at least had privacy and support.
Sometimes normal is not the way to go. Sometimes the way it used to be is not the best thing. Sometimes it is not a case of the good old days, but instead the bad old ways that needed changing. A change has gotta come. That Tower has to fall and burn, and sacrifices have to be made, even if they are heralded by some makeshift tarot cards with the upside down hanging figure signifying nothing good is going to come, the eternal fool in sacrifice.
When the night falls, I draw the curtains, and shut the windows, I turn on the heat sometimes. Even California can get cold sometimes. It is mighty cold out there in the drizzle where people are left with no hope of getting the basic human right of shelter and safety. There is enough places inside. Housing is not a privilege it is a right. A basic human right. Not everyone does what they can. The sweeps and the closing of the SIP hotels which made such a positive impact is not ‘doing their best’.
Living outside people’s health, both mental and physical goes to shit. I was wasting away out there. I look at old photos and I look so much younger now, and healthier. I needed showers and a bed to sleep in, and a roof over my head, and so did the kid. There are so many children homeless in the USA. What kind of society allowed it to happen and chooses money and capitalism over basic human rights? What kind of society says if you don’t take a shot then you can’t go to work? What kind of society makes it so hard to survive? One that is flawed, but not totally lost. I still see people out there doing their best, fighting their hardest, loving this country, just like I do, despite the faults of those that run it. I hate all politicians equally. I don’t like any of them. I won’t fly no color or pick no team. Anyone who wants power, by definition, should not have it. Don’t look at me. I don’t have a political bone in my body. I just care about people, and damnit I care about me and the kid and our ability to live and breathe and survive and thrive.
In the end…that is all any of us are trying to do, whichever tribe or group we subscribe to. However we identify. We are all just hoping we made the right choices to survive, it just seems a shame that society has degenerated to the point where unpopular opinions and choices have become politicized and ridiculed and forbidden. There is a ‘starter pack’, a set allowed group of choices which are allowed and accepted and applauded and anything else is seen as unacceptable, worthy of ridicule and even worth legislating against. When push comes to shove, I have one word on my lips, one song I will be singing, and it has one word: FREEDOM. You don’t need a tarot pack to know that is going to be a hard path to tread.