The empty afternoon holds the sun hostage. Switchblade rays slung low cut the sun-rays into Californian citrus slices.
I should not be left to my own devices. Crossroads waiting, hesitating, my feet stumble on the crumbling sidewalk. Why do I feel as if the City walls are closing in on me? Thank the shit-covered streets I am a rebel and a queer! I do very little of what I am told to do. I cannot keep my mouth shut. The words keep pouring out, vinegar and honey, missed arrows, a few of them on the money, I suppose. People mill around as if maneuvered by clockwork avoiding the prone homeless bodies that rest amongst the mess.
I am waiting for m’woman. She does not appear capable of ever being on time. She always appears with one sock fallen, her hair askew; but her lipstick perfect and she makes my run-out-of-time old body feel new. A fight breaks out in the drug store between a thief and a guard. This is the new world order, boys! Throw ’em out, but don’t call the cops.
The guard fixes his hair obsessively as he lets his adrenaline drop. The thief has been thrown to the parking lot concrete. Hipsters and their dogs hang back behind me, as if I am somehow a barrier to someone getting shot. The worried man and his poodle and his girlfriend herd themselves towards me, as if I am some kind of urban authority on safety. They ask if it is dangerous to go in the drug store. I wave one hand towards the rams butting heads – the thief on the floor, and shake my own head. “I would give it a moment…that man looks….busy.” I say to them quietly. Their dog has more intelligence than both of them put together.
Hearts are all homeless. Bones made to be broken. The day meant to be split open like an orange. Cut into segments, juicy and tart, not mushy like that infernal banana that I force myself to eat every single morning. I am left waiting, staring at donuts and coffee shops, Californian weed sellers that make me long for good old fashioned Mexican brick weed, hardware stores, and the hills that rise up and intersect before me. Yes, I am stuck on that crossroads without my guitar and hands that cannot hold onto their own health. My energy slips through my fingers like so much dry sand. I am really in trouble this time.
She walks towards me and gathers me in her arms, holding a plastic container of strawberries in one hand, whilst grabbing mine with her other. She is laughing and the sliced sun rays shimmer on her smooth light brown skin and fall on the glitter that paints her eyelids. She tells me she may or may not be growing her hair out. It hasn’t decided whether or not to make her a liar yet. I let my thumb stroke the skin between her thumb and forefinger. Somehow it all feels so dangerous, me and her, walking like this, hungry through the streets of San Francisco.
Yellow roses. Cezanne calendars. That French coffee shop that has wisteria tumbling from overhead window boxes. She wants more honey in her tea. She wants to sit closer to me. She tells me about the birth mark on her leg. I dare her to show me. The sun is in her eyes.
I realize that happiness and forever after is nothing but a cruel, cruel lie.
“You know I am sick, darling.”
“I’ve never known you healthy, so it doesn’t matter. It is just how you are to me. Nothing has changed.”
“It might kill me. It will disable me.”
“We are all disabled, honey. I am an emotional cripple.”
I laugh inappropriately. She leans over and kisses me. The old men at the table next to me are older than I will ever be. They look over in panic. Her words are inflammatory. I don’t think I have ever met a women who gives about as much of a fuck about what other people think as I do.
“Can we go to the top of a hill and scream?” She wants to know the important things.
I tell her I don’t know. They would probably arrest us for shouting unfairly at the future.
The street outside is packed with façades in some high Spanish mission style. They hide the boxes that people have lived and worked in for over a century now. Everyone has to go into a box sometime. I know that, but if I can only put it off. If I can only spend forever in these honey and orange days, this chamomile tea moments, stretch them out until the lemon and the bitter herbs forget I exist and somehow leave me alone.
I leave her on the bus going eastwards. She disappears out of view, and I head back though deserted streets. No one is walking them except me. I exist in my own shattered glass reality. The switchblade can only destruct and slice. It can not reconstitute or mend. The sky bleeds gold. For one glorious moment I am all alone.