The Pineapple Fields

30-June-1993. To prepare the day, She walked out into the evening through Her Pineapple Fields, a large bowl under Her arm and, reaching in and casting out, She threw the stars by handfuls into the violet dome of twilight sky.

Her labors were for me: She had sown in Her skies a greeting only for me, I imagined, and I had been late for it, not arriving until well after dark almost past the witching time.

Being late for your own beginning is not the best first impression to make, but then again when you’re on your way Home, you’re in time-running-backwards and you set your own double-naughts on that clock and the last grains to run out of the sandglass will fall onto Ocean Beach only when you are there at the surf’s lip to release them yourself.

Having arrived far too near to the double-naughts on the Pacific Daylight’s clock to my liking—sixteen and a half hours after I put my hands on ten-and-two-o’clock and started my third and final day of driving with no AC and only Wyoming’s, Nevada’s and California’s Central Valley radio stations for company—even the calendar was nigh on hitting its own witching time to roll itself into July.

I did arrive, of course.

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And the Sky! And Stars! Our Dome of Sky, a cosmic bowl turned upside down and lit from everywhere and nowhere. The Stars freshly sown that still seem to tempt us all to climb the hills, some tiny part of each of us fancying that once at the top, if we just reeeeeeach up high enough….

Success!

And that perfect gem would be ours to—to what? I still believe that no one of us would ever keep a Star thus captured. It would be enough (enough! Was there ever a more inadequate concept?) to have touched the Star! the Sky! for even that Moment. We wouldn’t even tell the story to anyone, but not for lack of believability: You San Franciscans out there would never dismiss such a story entirely, if at all.

MoonPhaseIn eighteen years, I still see the look in my fellow denizens’ eyes that they have stories, too. Stories, and Stories. Like this. And like nothing you’ve ever heard before. And all of them are true.

Because they happened Here. And Here is nowhere else on Earth.

So yes, back up that Star would go, arm casting out, throwing it into that impossible violet, impossible dome of sky, to let it find its own place among its Sisters.

As we all have done in our twinkling, shining City.

So many nights since then I’ve looked up, and out, and within, and seen the same twinkling, shining magic. So many perfect nights, too, like that long ago perfect night—well, almost perfect: The Moon, ever willful, would end up requiring a few more days for perfect fullness. So San Francisco, earthbound, has her limits after all—just don’t tell her that.

Eighteen years now and I still haven’t told her. Who would believe a story like that?

When It’s a Curse

I sat there in their dining room up at the top of the world.

It’s funny, you know? Now they live at the top of the world and twenty years ago they lived at the center of the universe: I’m just realizing this. I’m also dithering, playing at a dilly-dally shilly-shally.

Never be near me when I fuck with words. A mood most foul is afoot.

Fifteen years ago this was a Wednesday and he was just over my right shoulder from where I’m sitting right now and the home pump was near his feet on my side of the bed and the lighting was different and there was no desk here and Jesus Christ on a fucking cracker could I be any more maudlin and mawkish.

I am not irresolute about the past: it’s not his death I’m reliving, not less than two hours from now fifteen years ago that he’s about to die all over again, that the dull rusty saw of his muscle-toneless respiring will have ended when sleep finally came down for me for just a little while after days of nearly none. It’s not the every fifteen minutes of hitting the button on the home pump to drive another bolus of morphine into what was left of him to send him to his fate: his fate had been sealed sometime in the prior 36 hours or so.

It’s not about fifteen years ago.

It’s merely a play of thoughts, a trick of the light, a “Twinge in [The] Heart Far More Powerful Than Memory Alone”. It’s the mind serving up imagery from its own past as a coping mechanism for the present.

There’s fear here, you see. Fear in the now. Fear and shadow, and the re-minding of events is the way the brain shines a warm light on the heart, a returning of the favor for all those times when the heart was just doing its job.

That long-ago death of my long-ago love is an ache that’s deeper than hell itself. I can throw a million words down its maw and never fill it up. Notice that hasn’t stopped me from trying all these years.

But this re-minding of the events informs the tenderer parts that aches are things you can live with, even when you can’t measure them!

It makes no sense whatsoever, which is the thing you cannot bear, the thing you cannot live with. Senseless thing, death. Senseless things I’m saying: Living with something immeasurably awful!

Of course you can’t live with it and you’re inconsolable and forever has collapsed into your next breath and you don’t even care if you take another one because it’s so heavy, the air, so heavy. But somehow you do, and you resent the hell out of your own body for betraying your wishes because you’re still here and that’s a perfect impossibility if he’s not. Or she’s not. Or they’re not. Or he might not be. Or they might not be.

But yes, you do—I have—learned to live with the ache, have escaped the inescapable despair cleanly while gaining purchase and distance from it.

It comes back to me now because of a date on a calendar and the very recent death of a friend and other things so profound that the subconscious bids up what it will in order to frame the gravity and import and keep me grounded in the Now.

And there’s the beautiful irony of living with the Immeasurably Ache: there may be no way to plumb its depths, but you gauge your own distance from it in whatever terms or units are the most valuable to you at any given moment.

Am I fifteen years from it? Three heartbreaks? 100,000 gray hairs? Ten orders of magnitude in wisdom? Double in my appreciation of his sense of humor such as it was? Less abiding of fuckheads who take anonymous potshots at me? More open to new love?

There is no right answer, there are manifold. Wrong answers are only waypoints before arriving at a right answer if you know how to work them.

I miss you, Yog. I always will. I remember everything. Every last fucking thing. But there’s room for plenty more memories in this giant round Charlie Brown head of mine. That’s the magnificence of being alive.

Where’d that Curse go? Even Curses don’t like my mood when I get like this.