Outside the Whole Love Market
I'm sitting in the Berkeley sun, outside the Whole Foods, smelling meat, writing, and thinking of love. It will be my birthday soon. And, I need a date. If I knew I'd still be in my apartment I'd invite everyone over. I have a larger family here. And, friends. And, wannabe friends, I think. Besides, I don't even know what state I'll be in. "Teehee," I wrote when I wrote that sentence down to a friend who asked to interview me on KPFA that monday evening. "It's my birthday - I forgot." I could be in Colorado. Maybe I'll go to Mexico. Yes, that'd be extreme. But, doable. And, fitting. I like that idea. Mostly, I want to dance. Among other things one could do as a couple.
I look like some strange dark beetle, here, amid the meat scents with my Bose headphones listening to Los Lobos sing "Volver. Also fitting. I ought to go where I've never been. Dance the way I've never done. Maybe. I'm sipping on a "Grasshopper" - 2 shots of wheatgrass in a tall glass of carrot juice. Seal comes on the playlist - sweet sounds for this sweet drink and sweet, I think, listener: "Without your touch/ I've been lost without the things I love ...". Yes. I ought to go to Canada, ought to go to the reggae fest, immerse myself in some other river. Yes. I ought to be saying yes more.
A woman is speaking. And it doesn't look as if her partner is listening. A man in a yarmulke passes and he shoots me a look. Palestinian? I could be. The man at the cafe thinks so (despite my Jewish blood.) He opens his place to a film about peace and resistance. The place fills up with dark veiled women and beautiful men. They smile at me, a fellow Arab. This continent, this Bay, is as wide as the world, as wide as me. "I'm sitting is some dark cafe/ a defector from the petty wars/ until love sucks me back that way."
"I don't like you/ But I love you." I like this playlist. These playlists of tunes I made for the hurt heart are heartening.
The woman who was talking looks like she could be Palestinian. The blond man she's with doesn't look at her. She's expressive. They seem mismatched. And what is a sure match, anyway? Men and women, like Arab and Jew, and the sea between them is saturated with salt and oil from so many viscous fluids, and words.
"And if you want it/ you can get it," Smoky sings. "Let the music take your mind."
"Foreign windows into tomorrow," I write. And I don't know what it means. The end of another summer, another closing door on the younger me. Area 52. My body wants to dance. I'll buy flowers instead. I drink my muddy drink and think of love and begonias, and how "poetry is the synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits."
A man at the edge of the lot hits up the patrons for money. And makes it. All the men are too tall here, but plentiful. "Move to Berkeley," I say to D. "Or San Francisco, if you can deal with the fog."
"I don't care what you think about me./ I don't care what you say." But I do. No Smoky on the willing horizon, my horizons stretch into high plains desert and a sea of ash. I have fewer prospects than the 49ers in a blizzard. I've this muddy drink, this head full of hair, this mind that wants to go home, though I still don't know in what state that dwells.
The divisions are not all they're cracked up to be. The maps are crumpled and stained. I attain my will, and swill this saving grace. Some day, I think, I'll land. As John Mayer croons: "Come back to me" and "I think I'll have a home life." Yes. "I'll be around."