Sirens on 39th – that is, on César E. Chávez Boulevard. Across the street, yellow lights flicker and flash on a city cherrypicker. Leaves stir restlessly. A walk signal counts down numbers to a red hand. A sign that I can't read dangles from a stake, swinging feebly, like an injured weather vane.
“Everybody's talkin' at me...”
Even people's clothes want a word with me. “Represent PDX,” say the white splotched letters on the black shirt of the kid mumbling his toast in the next booth. His bill cap just says “NFL.” A booth further down, that guy's shirt, I can't read it. Bion Arat... something. nope.
I friend a woman on Facebook that I've admired for months, because someone linked to a terrific essay she wrote about Facebook, saying that real friendship happens there too, just like fake friendship and vanity happen in real life. But I wobble along in doubt. Facebook disturbs me. I spend more time there than I really want to. The hit of instant responses to my hopefully clever phrases is more intoxicating than it ought to be. And it's always there, like a familiar tavern on the route of an alcoholic's walk home from work. That's its real drawback. You never have to arrange a date with your Facebook friends. You never say, “hey, I'll be on Facebook around 4 tomorrow, drop by!”
Something lifts, and my mind courses backwards. The distressed abdominals and serrati and QL of a woman I'm fond of under my hands. Her coarse hair twined with my fingers. I worry about her, I worry about established medicine ignoring her and I worry about alternative medicine jerking her around. I worry about the insurance that determines what sort of care she gets when. I worry about whether I'm doing my best for her. We all talk big and none of us know squat.
And beyond that, backwards and upwards. Hiding in our car, up the block, while potential buyers go through our house for the second time. “This is the only place I've ever lived where I felt safe,” you say. We know and trust everyone on our end of the block. And soon we'll leave, and drop into a new pond, like frogs bailing out of an airplane. Who knows?
Backwards and upwards. My own left serratus posterior is threatening to clamp. I breath into it, move around a little to give it a break. A wash of cloudlight; the memory of the smell of your skin rushing in and bewildering me. A quick and unidentifiable memory of the juniper taste of gin. Dancer and dance. You have to start somewhere.
I rise into the thin sky, evaporating as I go. All that bewildering love: all that anxiety. I pray, neither to nor for. “Oh, the jewel in the lotus!” – the most honest prayer I know: full of supplication but knowing that we don't even know who to ask, or what to ask for.