From the Mockingbird’s Throat

January 3, 2014

Reading Whitman’s “Out of The Cradle Endlessly Rocking” as the dishwasher gurgles into the quiet morning filling the room. For Whitman, longing for another is a quality communicated to man by nature. A boy stands on a beach, hears the mockingbird’s song, long blues of loneliness for his mate. In singing we inflame the source of life, the reason we’re here, to fuck, to love, to find a mate and transform one’s self into “the here and hereafter.”

“The here and hereafter”; the term brings to mind the image of an open door at the end of a hallway no longer than one connecting two rooms in a small apartment. At the end is another door. Both are open. The image blurs into something like early computer graphics, the walls, the rooms, the doors fade as the seen twists through a mine shaft of sky blue. All that remains: two uninhibited door ways that alight on what looks like a man’s torso. Continue reading “From the Mockingbird’s Throat”

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How To Survive

We rode into Oakland on a warm day, keeping the windows down all the way across the bridge. Everything there had the feeling of unfinished plywood, so refreshing and new to me after so long in the increasingly refined San Francisco. The buildings in Oakland were low and the skyline opened up a view of hills all the way across town. The air was turning copper. When the car stopped at a red light a bespeckled Chinese man in a chocolate colored suite crossed the street, his fingers pinched a smoldering cigarette. We parked along an empty lot near Lake Merritt. Rachel cut off the car engine and I filled the silence with, “I think I like it here”.

“I think I prefer it,” she said. Continue reading “How To Survive”

San Francisco’s Years of Terror

The early morning hour, August 28, 1971: Sergeant George Kowalski, a clear faced young man, with big owl like eyes, and a firm neck, is working the midnight watch for Mission Station. He stops his cruiser at a red light, at 16th and Folsom Streets. Today marks about five weeks for him as Sergeant in the San Francisco Police Department. The day also falls in the middle of one of the most violent periods the City has ever lived through.

Ahead, Kowalski sees the headlights of a speeding car coming towards him, furiously sparkling like the eyes of a hungry animal. The car switches lanes and crosses the intersection, stopping about twenty feet away from the young Kowalski- a Mission high graduate, born in Chicago. Kowalski looks over. He can see two men in the neighboring car through their open window. Then he sees something else, pointing at him like a mocking tongue. It is the barrel of a sub machine gun. Continue reading “San Francisco’s Years of Terror”

How to Kick Back!

Roland Barthes asks in the Rustle of Language, “In a word, haven’t you ever happened to read while looking up from your book?” The answer is yes, in fact we all do it. And with the news these days, it’s easy to write a whole book of worst case scenarios, just reading the headlines on the train to work. It can be a scary story a lot of the time. But doing that is a lot of the fun of reading books or even the news.

Kick Back is about writing the story that runs through the mind more intentionally, having more fun engaging in the ideas we all so naturally submit ourselves to constantly. The text we write when we look up?” Barthes thought there should be a word for it.

Kick Back! To consider the reader and loosen the power of the article.

The Saga of the Gold Dust Lounge

 

“Lowbrow culture and contrarian politics in the capital of the west coast. This issue features fiction by Robert Mailer Anderson and his uncle, Bruce Anderson, some history by Salon.com founder David Talbot, a heartbreaking story about the artist S. Clay Wilson (foreword by Ron Turner) and wicked political insights,” writes Argonaut Editor-in-Chief, the late Warren Hinckle

I worked for Warren as the associate editor on this issue and wrote the cover story on “the Gold Dust extraction.” 

Obama Fires Up Bay Area Base

For the first time since coming out in favor of marriage equality, President Barack Obama visited the Bay Area last week. Although never using the word “gay,” Obama did draw huge cheers from the crowd at Redwood City’s Fox Theatre for supporting the right to be, “who you are and love who you love.”

Inside the May 23 fundraiser, which sold out with ticket prices between $250 and $1,000, almost every word of the president’s especially fervent speech was met with enthusiasm, and a few times chants, like “four more years!” and “fired up; ready to go!”

But outside, among the crowd just behind the barricades that bordered Courthouse Square, some gays and lesbians sang a different, more severe tune.

“I feel like the whole thing is an election year ploy,” said James Lee about Obama’s support of marriage equality. “It’s great that he said it, it’s a very symbolic move, you know, it shifts the culture a bit. But it’s not enough and I resent our community being used.”

I covered San Francisco news and politics for the Bay Area Reporter from the end of 2011 to 2013. Read the full article here.

Boies Discusses Prop 8 Options

The excitement of the presidential election is passed; it is time for Washington, D.C. to get back to work. At the top of the schedule is a conference of the Supreme Court justices on November 30, where they will discuss whether to take cases involving the Defense of Marriage Act and the federal challenge to Proposition 8.

The justices had indicated they would consider the marriage cases next week, but on Tuesday said that they would be on the conference schedule at the end of the month.

Representing two same-sex couples challenging Prop 8, along with Theodore Olson, is attorney David Boies, who was awarded the Public Interest Excellence Award by the University of San Francisco’s School of Law on November 9.

I covered San Francisco news and politics for the Bay Area Reporter from the end of 2011 to 2013. Read the full article here.