Saturday, August 4, 2007


My mind has slowed down in the past hour, but today has been full of thoughts, dreams, wanderings, and a touch of anxiety (perhaps more of a temporary grasp caused by unknown reaches in Aardvark books).

After a lazy and unfortunately early morning I finalized plans to meet Lauren at Civic Center and have a small City adventure. As usual I was running early/on-time and Lauren was running a little late. In a moment of sheer brilliance (ok, more like smart thinking) I decided to read my book in the UN plaza as it was sunny, unlike my current housing location. As I was shuttled up the escalator into the downtown sun I could hear a couple arguing about money. I wasn't surprised when I saw it was a homeless couple. A few people discreetly watched the argument, but most people just passed by. As I walked towards the fountain I could see groups of homeless laying out in the early afternoon sun. It has been a strangely warm summer for San Francisco. One man in particular caught my eye - he was laying in front of the black marble pillar that had the words of the United Nation's charter preamble inscribed in it. I was taken back by the duality and dare say the hypocrisy that this image created. A man that lay homeless and unconscious to the world lay at the foot of a structure that sought to memorialize a charter - a proclamation - that declared the "equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family." I was inspired to write

I sit beneath two flags
Amidst a memorial that proclaims peace
Thar cries out for the equal rights of all mankind
Laying in the sun under the black marble placard that bare the words
That brought the United Nations into being
A man recovers from his sleepless night
Crotch wet with urine
Mouth open wide
His chest rises and falls
Unconscious of the city that moves around him
Tourists search to find a way to capture
The freedom giving words
Without the image of a man that clearly sites the duality of what this plaza truly represents

I spent my afternoon walking around the city with Lauren. We grabbed a picnic style lunch from Trader Joe's and enjoyed it in the sunshine of the park that I have been to every Monday afternoon with my Day Camp kids. It seemed much more peaceful today. We passed through Yerba Buena Gardens and as much as I wanted to taken in the Martin Luther King Memorial and the beauty of the green sanctuary that lay tucked in between the MOMA and the Metreon. After a quick wander around the MOMA gift shop we made our way to the embarcadero via Peet's and Market St. Eventually we parted ways and I was left to write my grandma a letter on a notecard that I picked up at the gift shop. I found myself writing to her on one of the piers as the fog rolled in. After the fog came in I made my way back to MUNI to head down to Church St. to explore Aardvark books. I hadn't been in there for a while, but as a pleasant surprise the moldy smell had disappeared. I suspect it has more to do with the weather drying out the old carpet than the mold going away. It was strange to be walking around there by myself again. I think it took me back to a place that I didn't want to be. I was so overwhelmed at one point I had to sit down and write:
"I suddenly have the intense feeling to escape my life and live on the streets of San Francisco... is that normal for recent graduates? I'm sitting on the floor of Aardvark Books against the Native American Studies bookshelf. This sudden feeling came just after a brief moment of anxiety as I walked through the used literature and during my perusal of the travel section. After the realization that there are very little guides that show San Francisco for what it is. The beauty, the pain and the struggle of the people of this city. I wonder if I should act on this feeling. My mother, in my mind, is saying it would be a bad idea. Debbie is saying I should pray about it, and Lauren is doing the thoughtful "mmmm." I'm trying to talk myself down and put a little rationality and reason in my head . I am afraid of adulthood."
After purchasing my books my mind reeled all the way home. It seemed to slow down after I got some food in my stomach and sat down to write. I did realize something important though, as I walked home from West Portal... I should live in community, I need to live inside of my head less, it gets scary in there!

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