but when i rose from bed, no mouse i saw. i guess they’d cleaned it up. though i felt genuinely grateful and appreciative of their charity, a certain part of me felt slightly guilty for never missing Tina’s gift. ‘twould be like Zeus awaking a god’s length of time after a great Grecian sacrifice and feast, and all the meat already spoiled. oh well, can’t cry over spoilt bull.
back in bed, my lady and i loved. we loved to love and that–too–we loved. her eyes and my mouth and her chest and my belly and her thighs and my ankles trickled like mountain creeks down, down fingertrips. lovely it was. made hungry, we rose easy and happy to the kitchen, where the lady toasted gluten-free bread and mild cheddar cheese while i fried a couple eggs. laid upon a lawn of uncooked spinach, atop the cheese and bread, the eggs burst with the yellow-orange robustness of sundaylight. not long after, Natalie departed down Ocean Ave for dress shopping, leaving me to my literary devices in the orange gray.
i read Emily Dickinson: “To One denied to drink / To tell what Water is / Would be acuter, would it not / Than letting Him surmise? // To lead Him to the Well / And let Him hear it drip / Remind Him, would it not, somewhat / Of His condemned lip?”
in no time at all, it was time for me to leave: i had made a loose engagement with a musician friend to see free live jazz in the city. throwing on the last day’s clothes, i flew out the door to catch the KT inbound, Jack Kerouac in hand. 45 minutes later–and nearly just as many pages deep in The Dharma Bums–i strolled up to the African American Art & Culture Complex, one of those cool, inevitably underappreciated fixtures of civic life. everyone was very mild and polite, and they were serving wine. the show started shakily with nervous, unpolished speeches by the amateur organizers, but, again, everyone was very polite and well-meaning. then the band came out. it was Marcus Shelby–the bassist and bandleader–along with a bunch of kids. 20-year-old maestro on keys, pretty girl w stark bangs on electric, nervous trumpeteer, and the man of men on drums. over the course of an hour and a half, they kicked out Horace Silver, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Hart & Rodgers, Louis Armstrong, and Charles Mingus. i was enamored. such a strange, delicious power that musicians wield, to snuff out the awkward noise and feet-shuffling of everyday conversation and pomp with the undeniable rhythm, harmony, melody, and lyric of the infinite void. my, my, how do animals get by? with the show over so quickly and my friend Brendan biking and barting back to the east bay, i felt compelled to let Jack’s jazzy, deathless soul take me by the hand up Market St toward an ancient haunt of mine: It’s Tops.
inside, the pretty waitress (different face, same pink outfit) said a quick hello while tending to a chocolate shake. i sat at the bar and twirled into Kerouac instead of picking up the menu. a minute later, she picked up the menu in front of my face and laid it next to me with a soft thud. i quickly decided on some items, and then back to Kerouac. “that’s a cool cover for that book,” she said. i looked up and said, “yeah,” and then ordered a tuna melt w coffee. back to the book. she handed me a half cup of coffee and then prepared a new pot. “so what’s your favorite Pink Floyd album?” she asked, referring to my silly, faded t-shirt. “the pig should hint at it,” i said playfully. Animals, she never guessed, though she may have already been thinking it. Meddle was hers, a damn fine one too. and so the whole dinner went, chatting about nothing. then the place filled up again, so i was left to drink coffee after coffee while reading Kerouac, endlessly. to pay for the $12 bill, i gave Rachel all the cash i had ($16) and sauntered out into the street up Market toward Church Station.
down the stairs to the hazy screen to read my KT destiny: 26 minutes. my god, i couldn’t remember the last time i waited so long for a lazy metal slug. oh well, at least i had Kerouac. and so i read and read and read and read in the dirty brick tunnel, boarded the train on time, and read and read. and now, here i am, sipping red wine, listening to Caustic Window, and wondering what’s the point of it all. after all, i’m just typing, not writing. you’re just moving, not living. we’re just doing, not being.