I have no idea how I lived on that piece of shit street in West Oakland for almost eighteen months. What a bad beat that was.

Well: I did a lot of weird stuff, and I now know what it’s like to be completely dead broke for months and months, barely paying rent and often going without food for days at a time . . . and also I survived some truly horrible events, and met a lot of people, some good and some bad

So who knows, maybe it did something to me

Maybe it helped me, is what I’m saying

Though, again: who the heck knows, man

Now I go out onto my porch and it is completely silent. Sometimes I can hear a train passing through Emeryville Station. I can hear one now. A few minutes ago I heard a barge in the San Francisco Bay. It’s real nice. On Mead Avenue I heard people screaming or crying almost constantly.

And now, when I have the door open, I can smell flowers. There are so many flowers growing in my backyard and on my street! People actually give a damn about our neighborhood. Before it was all blight and chaos. I didn’t see a live animal for months at a time.

It’s way better here! I live a block from my job. I spend very little money. My roommates are real good.