Sometimes I think. Sometimes I don’t.


[San Francisco] Poetic pieces from 1960s


  The idea of writing a brief collection of travel notes flashed through my mind last night at a friend's when he showed me one of his photographs in plain black-and-white. It was the "Shoe Tree" on campus, which I'm passing by mindlessly. The solid made strong contrast to my mindlessness of every place I've been, fading in and out. Consiously or unconsiously, I am also to capture the enchant of them in black and white. Hopefully it's not too late.

  This will be in English because I feel it easier to convey. Anyway, this is purely for myself. Of course, better if anyone shares. Feel free to be open.


If winter means snowy whiteness, it never fully covers the west coast.

The city was the next exhausting destination back to the last night we'd been dragging through a street after another, endless routes, then the highway. The whole night on the traveling bus, escaping from LA as if all palms there were twisting us like a giant hand behind. My head against the window, flown by the nothingness consisted of pure black even outside the night.

As cloudy sunlight swelled the space, I jumped onto the road, the "Nothingness" that wore out my brain last night. But now at least its solid side. I saw San Francisco in a blueish white-spotted collage, maybe a little grey shadow of past continuous rain, glinting at me with cutely unwelcome. I wasn't sure when the sky was gonna pour again just for unhappy fun.

Like a elusive grown-up kid, I can't say about the seconds he feels like brusting into laughter or tears. He reminded me of a spinning old record player while his nature into the deepest blue of the bay.

Hopefully there wasn't mist that morning we went to see the Golden Gate Bridge. Cars racing through its redness, speeding it much faster than those same static ones in cameras. My art professor used to mention about making America great again.....well that, the greatnessof American dream, twinkling a slippery moment on my traveling partner's cheek. That guy was also on winter break from university, but he got the summer smile; with the smile, he was walking with us on the wet pavement. He looked at everybody the same way he looked at the Bridge, like there was never a cloud above. 

The sun shined in his eyes. I looked at him as if something's reborn. Who says you gotta grow blonde hair and ocean eyes to feel the sun?

New year's eve to 2018. 

I will remember the blurred coldness to my bones of that night----it was neither cold nor warm as body sensation, but a strange tremble instead that cleared the mind while simultaneously blew the heart. Walking on the rolling streets from our motel to Pier 39 for Eve's fireworks, I felt a growing ecstasy slowly releasing from my skin. 

.....Marie walking beside me, another traveling partner of mine, was talking to me about the other dusk, under the fading sunset we were sitting at the long public bar, facing the sharp wooden masts floating on waves and old streets across the bay. A song flew from a corner shop. She suddenly started talking about her parents far away.

I knew she wished they could be there. I wished mine could too. However, home or another dusk, I vote the latter.

A huge crowed at Pier 39. Fireworks had already been flaming the nightsky. That big pink one, was it for some lover you used to hold? And next the purple one, you recall all those shy poems on the back pages? It was 1960s and the grown-up children all left their Godfather for wilder adventures wherever across the bay.....this city was his old glory, still proud in the shining streets. Newspaper and novels from everywhere in the land. But what about them, sweet children of his?

I was walking through my novel pages. San Francisco looked like in black and white to me. 1960s, coastal wind blew. Patti Smith just went up to her apartment with a new collection and thoughts of the old love. Marie could be Gloria wandering in her song. Love? I didn't know. I was too young to have it. By the time the moon warmed a bit, I had dressed up like a guy on a nightwalk in the city park with my partner.There were people surround us when I teased grabbing his arm, brusting into big laugh as he pressed my hand down and whispered, "They would think we are gay."

At that very moment the European-style vintage houses were no longer distant. 

When we started walking back home, yellowish lights brushed the night from every window of those old-fashioned houses beside the streets, composing a long melody directly to the bay four bustops away. From my fast glimpse, inside a window a petite girl gathered herself in a huge Teddy bear and sweets. We both stopped for a second.

I never knew if I ever wanted some night like this in my life. There's not a single thing in the world I don't doubt, like happiness and freedom, let alone love. However, I could tell from his cosy smile that's what he wanted , so I smiled back when he blinked. 

"Now it's only you and me." he loosed my hair off the cap and gently kissed me. Another coldness was running across my veins.

Million lies turned pale. He was his absolute self and I just couldn't bear the yellowish light spots over me. It was the very moment I almost denied everything. Suddenly the past wasn't that easy to tease at in half lies with any smoke or drinks. Every moment could become it.

It was new year dawning. I had lost my poems ages ago. The flashing minute of the midnight, treacherous light year. He gathered me in his arms.

It felt like I was made of glass.

That's how I still recall the coldness of that very night till today. 

Later after the midnight, we three were lying on the motel room floor, all of us half asleep but something kept our eyes open. "Anyone missing home?" he asked. I thought Marie would say yes but she shaked her head in a warm smile. 

"Ones around me are my home." I turned my face to him and replied.

-9/24 12:21 AM, Minneapolis.



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