San Francisco Daze: July

Catching up now with the July and August entries from San Francisco Daze, a series of daily vignettes on life in San Francisco that I wrote throughout 2005. Here’s July, with August following right on it’s heels…


July 1

July arrived with humidity, blazing blue, and butterflies floating in pairs above the mountain of flowers that is the base of Telegraph Hill.

July 2-4

The holiday weekend. I celebrated my independence by listening to rockabilly and writing, accompanied by the booming sound of the Marina fireworks in the distance. I couldn’t quite see them from my place— the hills and trees of the Presidio were jut a little too high. I must be further above sea level than I realize.

July 5

In Trader Sam’s tonight after the Writing Group, we saw a Japanese guy engaged in heavy conversation with a black guy with gold teeth. Later the same Japanese guy was dancing to Louie Armstrong with a blonde girl. Trader Sam’s, bizarre outer-avenues tiki bar of doom, oh how I love you.

July 6

International Café on Haight and Fillmore. Led Zeppelin III. Jen. Her ex. A Chilean named Maritza. And some Polish guy. Writing. All writing.

July 7

I’d like to think UFOs
Or signal fires
The flashes of orange
In late afternoon
On the brawny front of hills
Across the Bay to the east

July 8

Morning Commute Synchronicity Blues:

Guy cuts in front me
disheveled oily hair, with glasses
Homeless man dashes across the street
Shirtless smelly man in doorway,
belly overflowing,
shouts, “hey” to guy running across street
Mr. Disheveled looks back at me
just as my foot slips into rut
in sidewalk
I trip
Light changes
Right on cue
bus pulls up

July 9

Valencia Street, in Ritual Coffee Roasters, nearing 11:00 PM. Deep in the café that itself goes deeper into the block than one would suspect. Right wall lined with framed stuffed animals combined with various objects to produce gruesome chimera. Left wall featuring a series of paintings in which huge women’s dresses with little mechanical heads in different colors manifest starkly different moods. Back wall red. An enormous potted plant in the back, doubtless fake, curves up towards the 15 (or is it 20?) foot ceilings. From self same ceiling, light bulbs hang down from 10 to 15 foot long black plastic cords, incandescent spirals lighting their interiors. Conversation ebbs and flows, a sonic surface upon which ripples are caused by running water, squeaking doors and clattering spoons. The Rocky Road cookie, its crumbly remains now dusting the table, sinks deeper into my stomach.

July 10

Sunday morning brunch in the diner that time forgot. Aka Hamburger Haven, situated at a hidden location somewhere in the environs of greater Clement Street. Here the walls are red tiles and wood panels, the breakfast special is $2.99 and ceiling fans sluggishly beat back the summer. A waitress whose name might as well be “Margie” except that she’s Chinese pours coffee into a chipped white cup at my table. Everything smells smoky, which makes sense, since the grill is directly behind the counter. The whole place is at least 30 years out of date, and I have rarely felt more at home.

July 11

7-11! The city could have used a giant slurpie today as it was SO FREAKING HOT. Still in the 70s now at nearly 10:30 PM as I sit on the couch in underwear and a tee-shirt, typing to the uncomfortable feeling of my bare legs sweating under the hot laptop.

July 12

Abbey Tavern Blue
Writing with Jodie late night
Not such bad news

July 13

Pizza Orgasmica.
sipping a beer to calm nerves rattled by a twelve-hour work day.
Watching a video on the history of Maverick’s.
(It’s Surf Night at Orgasmica.)
Such gray-green magnificence.
I need to find a way to get in the water.

July 14

Second of two twelve-hour days
in the office
by work crew on road at night
white lights so bright
they made day out of
the huge square hole
excavated in the street.

July 15-16


July 17

Leaning against a tree in the sunny day of Yerba Buena Gardens, in front of the Metreon (but in the shade of the tree, and thus sheltered from the sun). There’s a light breeze, making it almost chilly in the shade. Light filters through the leaves of the trees and refracts off the grass is diamonds of green and blue. People are sitting, lying, napping, laughing, and talking. Full of joy in this earthbound paradise.

* * *

Now on the upper deck, where I have decided to take in the sun in the few minutes before I depart for the theatre. Yerba Buena Gardens. Damn it was well laid out. This deck itself is some sort of marvel of symmetry. And it (the whole park, in fact) faces dead-center. Saint Patrick’s, the old fashioned red brick Catholic church is directly across the way. The Metreon is on one side in aluminum glass glory. And on the other, in its own gleaming majesty, is Yerba Buena Center. My eyes feel droopy in the sun.

July 18-22

Agonistes II:
The Revenge

No, really? I really got down nothing of my life in San Francisco over a five day period because of work? For shame, for shame. I have got to get out of there!

July 23

“If there is a God, it’s an algorithm.”— Overheard in Blue Danube Cafe, on a summer Sunday afternoon.

If there is a God, you have to think that She loves this day just as much as I do.

She loves the squealing hydraulic hiss of the 2 Clement as it thumps to a stop in front of the café.
She loves the blinding gleam off of the dyed platinum hair of the woman who just walked by.
She loves the backwards facing beer logos on the banner outside through which the sun glows.
She loves the smell of bacon wafting through the café from who knows where.
She loves the goof-pot post-punk band playing from the speakers in the corners.
She loves the impressionistic paintings of snails and penguins hanging on the wall.
She loves the little wooden Indians holding back the overflow of books within the wooden carte bookcase against the wall.
She loves the sticky gummy black patches on the old brown carpet.
She loves the potted palm.
She loves the white haired old man in batik shirt talking to the computer geek who issued the quote above.
She loves the guy next to me, discussing his favorite science fiction shows and movies with me.
She loves the ice, glittering and melting at the bottom of my latte.

She loves me.
Writing it down.

July 24

Sitting in Ritual Coffee Roasters on Valencia Street, writing while waiting for David and Penny’s plays to begin at the Marsh. This follows Amoebapolloza last night. You almost don’t have to write a follow-up sentence to that, but for the record, that’s an annual event where the usually sullen and condescending staff of Amoeba Records actually get on stage and play music in various combinations. My sanity was systematically destroyed by the John Fogerty cover band, the tribute to Dolly Party, a New Wave ensemble in which a thin bald black guy sang Cure songs, the Postmodern Lovers (guess who they covered) and the tribute to Suicidal Tendencies, “Suicidal: The Musical”. Friday night I went to a screening of Washington Interns Gone Bad, a full-length indie-film produced by a guy formerly of Washington, D.C., and now of San Francisco. Thursday was the reading at Alibi Books, which will now be a monthly event. This is the best city in the world. So much art and creativity. Soon I will join the chorus.

July 25

This day was absconded with from work. Yee-haw! Phat beats in the neighborhood café, cartoon painting of a mer-man wearing a shirt and tie, girl behind the counter with her magnificent poof of curly brown hair, clear gray eyes, intriguingly slightly asymmetrical face and ring in her nose. Allah u akbar.

July 26

Cab Driver Into Work:
Young, black. Short hair and clean-shaven. Listening to jazz and talking about art and music- he loves the Queens of the Stone Age. Smart and friendly and funny. I love the ride.

Cab Driver Back From Work:
Young, white. Bushy hair with goatee and sideburns. Listening to radio talk show about Clear Channel’s attempt to block free San Francisco wi-fi and talking about the collective social good— he’s not sure we’ll make it another 50 years. Smart and friendly and funny. I love the ride.

July 27

The man on top of Telegraph Hill working on the balcony of a house dropped his vacuum cleaner attachment. He later scuttled down the hill to retrieve it. We hung out the windows of our office on Sansome Street and shouted directions and encouragement.

July 28

This is my Mexico City Blues except it’s San Francisco instead of Mexico City and not all are blues, or even poems. Still:

rolling over Financial District
this summer PM
made liquid layers
split in two
Transamerica Pyramid
Bank of America Tower
eddies in the stream
at 700 feet

July 28-31

These days stand blank in their mute nonwitness to what transpired therein.

Posted at 02:05 pm | | Leave a comme

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