i found some notes for an essay i never published called ‘unapologetically human’, which is sort of about san francisco and a band that is dead now, and a friend that is dead now, and so on. anyway:
In my mind I saw Death take my hand. Yes, I thought, surely this is where the road ends for me. All because I tried to save an old man from being thrown out of his wheelchair.
Still fixed on my pupils the psycho made a heroic leap into oncoming traffic and raised his thin arms toward the godless sky for no obvious reason. Brakes squealed and traffic halted. He stood there for a moment, trapped in the mucus of the moment, illuminated by liquor stores and Chinese restaurants and the flash of many confused headlights. Lowering one hand he retrieved a massive cup of soda he had somehow stowed in his back pocket.
I kept my distance, unsure of what this strange gesture meant. What kind of pathetic death awaited me? Or was he suddenly overcome with thirst? Given the context I quickly decided this was the work of hatred.
The man narrowed his insane eyes and, grunting like something ancient and evil, hurled the cup at me, hitting the back of the old man’s wheelchair instead.
The dozens of people surrounding us in every direction paid no attention to this cruel chaos, either because they were monied and thus immune to the peculiar behaviors of those who have nothing, or had lived in San Francisco long enough to know that some other terrible thing was only seconds away from happening.
– – –
before the little pink pills and the cigarettes and the facial scars
– – –
“I don’t wanna hear another civilized roar.”
Jesus, me neither.
– – –
“Have a good night, Oakland guy.”
I thought that was nice: Oakland guy. How did she know? It must have been the A’s cap, or the pale complexion and the black rings around the eyes. Or maybe she could sense that I had $17 in my checking account and mostly ate eggs and pasta and went for days without sleeping.
I wondered how long I could sit there before a couple of pigs came sniffing around. A few minutes at best, I thought. The squares had probably already phoned me in.
“Yes, Officer, there’s a dead-gazed loser drinking on our stoop. We think he’s from Oakland, because he’s wearing a stupid hat, and also because it looks like the world has taken a dump on him about a million times. . . .”
what a bunch of trash. well, whatever . . . i’m still sentimental about it, as much as i hate to admit that. i wrote and rewrote this thing about a dozen times and never liked it. i had told my friend, who i mentioned is now dead, that i would send it to her when it was finished. too late now i guess, though it’s probably for the best. whoops