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04.10.05, Sunday evening

There's not much to tell you, dear diary, about the time I've been away.

Crab cakes. Cobra snake whisky. Buckling down for a long sweet wild ride. Illegal street races. Peddle-boats thieved by midnight. Getting mugged about a block away from home by a young man in shiny black shoes. Dancing till I hurt. Hidden murals and secret staircases. The melancholy, unfinished sequel to Edward Lear's poem "The Owl and the Pussycat". Butterflies drying their wings in a garden where old men and women are telling ghost stories. The first chapter of my novel. A four-leaf clover pressed between pages in a birder's book. Easter dinner as a married lady, a triad of nieces ogling the silver sword pinned under a pearl button at my throat. A history of walking. The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill. Midnight wine at the Rose Garden, ducks mating in a glowing pool. The return of my skull ring. Strolling under trees of heaven at the Black Diamond Mine Regional Preserve, blue Mission butterflies mating and birds a-warbling in the silver clouds, veins gleaming red-gold. Hiking an extinct volcano in the Oakland hills, a lithe golden beast of heft greater than a labrador's leaping off the muddy path and into the brushwood of a suddenly Narnian world. Infant Monterrey pines, seeded from cones pried open by a fire not too many years ago, trembling in the slightest breeze.

Plans, seeded in the past few months from ideas and dreams and hopes opened by a necessary conflagration of the interior.

. . .

When Jimmy started dancing at our friends' art show, everybody wanted to dance. How can you resist getting stupid on the dancefloor? R, Jimmy's friend, who never drinks and once escaped a youth correctional facility, crushed on Mel, which isn't very surprising since everyone gets crushes on Mel.

Then we drove off to dance at the Golden Bull where I flipped off a girl who told me, nastily, "Melissa isn't going to the drag race with you!" Jeez Louise, lady, I guess restroom-stall coke green-lights rudeness. I itched to pop her one (or a few), but I had just polished my nails into nice juicy cherries.

After the DJ went disco, we scooted off to a street race at the Port. Mel was miffed that I hadn't brought a camera. Almost as big as the first one and no one would race the Taurus Fordinator, our rinky-dink ride with the fucked-up transmission. Of course, the police attempted to shut the race down, but despite the hovering helicopter and the distant, unwavering lights, everyone lingered. The crackdown culminated in a police gauntlet at the Port's entrance. Jimmy and R were able to sneak out of it: "I live here, we just took a wrong turn."

Finally dropped off to sleep, with Mel passed out, beardy K murmurring about how they were destined to be married, Jimmy sneaking out to carouse eastside. Typical end to another typical Saturday night in springtime Oakland.


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