the city sits on itself like a tired woman after a long day of being black. it never excuses itself for crushing us with her weight and we don’t complain…after all, we are alive, we are drinking, we are beautiful in the rain because rain makes us blurry and we don’t have to talk about all the times we don’t really see ourselves. the city often request that we make it work when it’s not working. the city often asks us rhetorical questions like,
are you happy?
do you belong here?
where is your zen?
the city is too tired to shave her armpits, it makes her feel too vulnerable & conformed. but she will never grow her fingernails out of control or let the flap of her belly cover freemont.
we all have a story to tell…and this is why there are so many writers here. everyone wants to tell a story even if it’s not their story. no one in this city wants to have a black boy son–so they wear hoodies in solidarity for all the mothers of black sons. and they tell you they are with you. and you don’t know who is ____ you and who is not with you because it rains and we are all blurry in the murk. the city acts as if it governs itself, like it knows when to get married or smoke a splif. we feel conflicted in this city because we like granola but we also like hot cheetos. so we eat kale chips. we think we know jazz and grunge and seasonal sounds alongside drums but we are still gimmie more. the want snatches us up at midnight and returns us in business suits by day. this is the real reason there is a starbucks on every corner. when your soul isn’t sleeping you are always tired like a vampire. when your lifetime is spent tossing and turning expect to need coffee. some of us pretend to like tea, but beans are in our blood. inside we are all espresso bitches and woe. we are trying to help each other, because we all know best. because we all been there, done that and back again.
the city is not a beacon of hope on thursdays but of light in the darkness on most days. the light is not because of the light of seattle. the light is because we are huddled up smoking. we are excited to huddle up and smoke and we have spurts of amnesia about our new diets, about things crushing us, about the loss of poets or kittens or virginity. the city is restless even though she is tired and we feel her anxious hands holding us up, holding us down, holding us.
the city sometimes gets huffy with herself making us all feel like we are silent treatment and you don’t bring me flowers anymore—like we didn’t invite each other to the cool friday slumber party, like we have mean grandparents who bark at kids for walking near the lawn. we decide in this city that going green is the thing to say. when you want to do right by the environment, go green. when you want to help the urban gardens, go green. when you are heartbroken and your eyes are so wet guppies have taken over, go green. we argue on end about how we are not depressed because we live her and we aren’t. if we lived in san diego these things would still be happening, just with a hot background or two-piece swim suits or urinated sand.
this city is a hump less camel, all the things hidden, slow and painfully beautiful. in this city we protect our animals. we don’t want them to ever be without food, shelter and chew toys. we can’t watch the one commercial with the sad song and the abused animals. it hurts. we take them to dog parks, carry them in shopping malls and fully expect for there to be a dish outside every store. we stop and friendly baby talk to strangers about their dogs, about our dogs, about their dogs behavior, with our dogs behavior, about dog dates, about nasty poop leaving people–we put them down because, i mean, who wants to step in shit. no one. in this city there are homeless people. our dogs and us trot over them, we put them down, i mean, who wants to step in shit. we care deeply though, this city is a caring city but we can control dogs–not people and we can make our dogs sit boo-boo, we do not know what to do if john went to war right after school, served 10 years, got his leg shot to pieces, numbed it with drugs and made a sign requesting help, any kind. we begin to think people on drugs do not need food and water and shelter. no one.