loss one

another loss -i

You let me stay one night in your room, many years ago,  i was in between places and spaces and a kick in the gut had landed me in Oakland with nowhere to go. Brown-outs were my life back then, and nobody can tell you what your psychosis is gonna look like or how it will feel, because they aren’t buried behind your eyes. Electronic Dance Music was one thing we had in common that night, and we had what was left of my battered laptop to trade tracks that touched us…
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Jennifer Mendiola

in memoriam – Jennifer M.

You were my friend. You had reached out to me in January of this year, randomly, and I was so glad to hear from you, I don’t know why I did not follow the way to see if we could hook up for a moment in this life, one last time? Life gets chaotic and there’s nothing much you can do. Suddenly starts, suddenly ends, and gradually you realize you never know when. We can try, though, and that’s exactly what I forgot to do, about you. Jennifer Mendiola aka Alana Kane. I will miss your enduring smile. I cried very hard tonight when I discovered you sailed out on a Ghost Ship and never to return. The clock struck midnight and you and your lover, you were dancing, you were gone. I remember back in 2009 when I met you South of Market, San Francisco. We were counselors at a painful place. Sixteen beds for sixteen lost and homeless souls. I brought my desire to help. You brought your presence and your smile. We got along easily, though the work we had to do was hard and brutal. Just outside those double locked doors in this sanctuary city, people were driven to desperate intoxication and suicidal panic, and all the time. I could not believe you at first, I wondered how could you smile all day long like that? From dawn to 3pm when we got out. There were times I thought you must be faking it, I confess. All the methadone nods of sixteen souls all around us? The cutting scars and track marks? The lonely vacant stares, up and down the carpet stairs. But we knew we could make a small difference in a semi-safe space. Listen to them tell us their stories. Hold them if they cried. Teach them simple skills if they wanted to learn. Laugh like we were family, and for a time we were. Everything about it could be cold, day by day. Yet you smiled. I guess you had just recently been married around then, I didn’t really know or maybe I forgot. All I know is we worked well together and kept the place running, which was the best we could do with phones ringing, doors buzzing, and sixteen souls in need of something all the time. I really admired you. I knew I could trust you, you worked real hard and really cared. If I walked in the door and saw you, those early foggy San Francisco mornings, some of that tension, that burden a social worker experiences inside, fell off of me immediately. I could take my earbuds out, warm my hands with breath, take a deep breath and look to you. Talk to you. Get willing with you toward the day ahead of us. I will miss you my friend. I will think upon you when the work gets brutal, and try and smile through.

americano

i went to visit my good friend in san francisco up in merced heights. the wind was several knots and the Pacific foaming at the beach. my friend had fallen back to sleep. something happened to his knee so he walks funny now.  he needs surgery cause he tore something and its inflammed. i remember when my whole life was swell. we went to lunch in daly city on a sunday when all the country’s got politics and black lives matter on its mind. robots detonating bombs to take out snipers. honestly i wouldn’t want to be black in this country, when simple traffic stops can turn deadly. racial tensions are growing again like they often do. our country is founded on tensions. you could argue tension is what makes the whole thing tick. i’ve known my friend for a decade and maybe half that time we were incommunicado. at the cafe by the beach and facing the wind, he told me he thinks we have agreed about 87% of the time. i thought about that number while i sipped on my iced americano. no cream. no sugar. just water and finely ground coffee. he’s a banker and he’s always calculating. 87%. i’m not gonna argue. he’s probably somehow right. 88% of the time, he is.

12.17

I wanna hold on to that little bit of joy that comes over me like a mist on a foggy morning, I am wet with it, a taste of clarity of wholeness as if all my past is right here with me and I could take you through my eyes to any given moment, yes, come after a really good night’s sleep so rare, or maybe if I run a few miles really hard and fast as I can, I can get that special feeling like all is well, the future has no stake in it, when in the empire the interest rates begin climbing, from the base of Denali after stasis, after a decade of descent… what does it matter for my heart also ascends up Mount St. Elias and into my head for a second, tethered to a wild pack of neurotransmitters in the Cortex ravine by well placed stakes and caribeners, awaiting the next big storm will send me in a rush flying to another death, my adrenaline  drizzled over the top of Mount Foraker only to get hit by the sun a couple days later and reborn, over Endocrine valley where the estrogen in me highlights the tips in the alpine meadow, under a cobalt blue, and my spirit summits Mount Blackburn for to see all the way to Canada and to you, our memories collide for past lives, within a life, covering all 16,237 feet of Mount Sanford, yes, and I want to cry then but my joy prevents me, and you gotta believe I wanna hold on to this feeling, I wanna stay here cause I like to believe it was a lot of work to get here to where the vision rewards me, atop Mount Fairweather I can see you and me so clearly and maybe not picturesque but we know where we stand. Sure maybe I don’t know you anymore and can honestly ask you who the hell are you anymore? even if it hurts I just have to ask. Because beyond all the wonder I felt in meeting you in this world in this life, well, we are past that now, aren’t we? I sure as hell wish you were here with me again, to feel it too… the life of love survives beyond the love affair and into a stirring night alone into a dawn on the side of any mountain carry me away.

temples

the temples

I wasn’t on anything, I was just on . 
I was circumstantial.

You told me and you told me again and you told me one more time, and sure I heard you but why would that change anything? I was still gonna hit the streets late at night and up to no good. Your social was not my social, even if we both had ice cream. I cannot even relate, and you think just cause we are related I ought to, like it was good form, I oughta conform to your standard. The whole attitude was circumstantial. And the circumstance was the influence you had over me, waving it like a badge in my face, demanding, demanding!

Laughter.
Clasping of hands behind head.
Pulling elbows in tight against the ears.
The temples.

And if you were to hit the streets with me, what would that be like? Can I imagine it, or will you come into my thoughts with a big fat roll of duct tape and mark my internal off like a crime scene? I don’t care if you consider all my lifestyle, irrelevant. What am I gonna tell you, anyway, as you lean upon your own misunderstanding? What I care about, is whether you care how I feel when you cast away all I have become and am becoming…

With a letter
with a look
with a social media
snub.

Hey you! I can dream for us, can’t I? I can dream we can meet on equal terms on soft ground some day. Over easy at the diner in nobody’s home town. WIth no control over the music in the atmosphere. They might be playing dubstep in 20 years. No more Sinatra. You might need a cane to walk. Ageism tossed in there with the hash browns. But will you stay closed off at the end of a smoke? Not in my dream. In my dream

I will be holding
you tight. Rubbing your
temples to
sleep.