The first time I moved to San Francisco, it was 1994.
The second time, 2000. I came back again in 2003.
My city feels unhinged when it’s windy like today, a frayed edge, an impending catastrophe.
Men crawl on sidewalks, holes appear in thoroughfares, fires.
Recently I walked squares around the park repeatedly, me and a friend with a negative life-view. It wasn’t windy; it was hot. Stifled. She bemoaned the old days of high crime and low rent and punk rock. “You see that girl,” she said low to me as a jogger sped by, sports bra cradling two perfectly tanned D cups over a fleshless waist and a buttery ass.
“She would have been raped doing that when I first moved into this neighborhood.” When the block-wide city park wasn’t yet filled with picnickers toting plastic wine glasses and wicker-held deli samplers, I assume. Which would have kept her out, it’s implied.
“Except now there are still piles of human shit on the street.” And strollers.
In songs you write in your twenties, a lover is rejected; in the major label feeding frenzy that follows, a simple guttery dream is destroyed by the slick substance of what it ultimately sought.
In the park as we walked, a man without a residence was run over by a train. Much previously, a bridge fell down and commuting cars embodied their own disintegration, passing through volcanoes of steam from below. Masses teemed.
A great rising pulse is what I feel when I hear it now, and joy– none of this rough and survival bitter shit of yesteryear. Nobody cared that Blake held a wine glass on the back cover roof shot, not a beer. Or maybe they did.
“She can jog wherever now, because violence is displacement.”
I said, I don’t want to talk about this right now, it’s not like there is a right or a wrong way of living inside America’s urban catastrophe.
I said, I just want to get my electric guitar back up and running. Start a band. Feel this raw, this overwrought again. There’s a feeling of desperation in the ambition behind the songs. Do you know that feeling?
“Warehouses are expensive, nowadays,” my friend reminded me.
But there’s always desperation somewhere.