Monday, July 27, 2015

Street Pilgrims

Waking up around who I presume are friends in San Francisco. I had stayed the night. They are already dressed and leaving. I look around for my jeans and black Deftones t-shirt. 

An aspiring Andy Warhol and his cultish entourage take a stroll through the city on a mission of self exploration. I think about taking a photo of their departure but I fee it would cause a cosmic disruption. 

K. Is also here and mentions that she is driving back, but apparently there's a surreal situation on the I-80 east causing interesting paradigm shifts. She assumes I drove myself, which is not the case. With the occult occurrences in mind, I do not ask her for a ride back to Berkeley, and decide to make the trek on MUNI and BART. 

I follow the movement of the pedestrians, who look like pilgrims on their way to some monument. An overpass appears with these pliant worshippers that move monotonically and uniformly. 

A white haired woman in her 60s with a cane and red sun hat is taking very focused steps in front of me. She is too slow and I have to move around her. An Asian lady to my right smiles and says to her: "Just get on with it already!"

Back home I inspect my closet. Or perhaps my deceased friend's closet. 

"No, take everything. I'm not going to be using these," I say as a woman picks out clear binders and vinyl records from the shelves. She gathers them for a goodwill donation. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Coffee Grounds

I search for more pillows to add to my bed

White wire basket towers stretch to the ceiling

All varieties of fluff on which to lay my head

I find two that are blue, gold zig zags in stitching

Anxiety spreads through this big box store

An unflinching minx makes trouble, not sounds

The colors I have chosen are far from adored

Her mouth opens and out pours wet coffee grounds

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Fight Near the Weedy Field

Late at night, I climb from the ground level of the cyberpunk mall to
the shop above. It has a menagerie of bracelets made of colorful rocks
and stones (perfect for my girlfriend) but it's actually closed. Due to
viewing angles, getting back down to the ground level looks harder than
how I got up. How do I avoid looking like a criminal? How do I avoid
falling to my death? Pedestrians are outside unaware of my predicament.
Large illuminated advertisments give company to the modern, rectangular
city lights.

---

Desperate for dress clothes, I run down to the small haberdasher in
Colton. There is a board in the window serving as a makeshift storefront
cage. A polynesian man gives me a look that says "No customers are being
accepted right now."

It's around 7:00 pm, so I'm not surprised. Trying my luck, I run to
another store. They are actually in the process of closing, but offer me
one last chance to look around. Nope, I can't find anything. The female
Hispanic clerk messes around with desk electronics and shakes what looks
like a DVR, as if looking for an item caged within.

I leave the store, and outside it very quickly transitions from sunset
to evening, like a cartoon, bringing the skyline into full nocturnal
glory within seconds. I walk down on the righthand side of Meridian road
to get a picture of the city lights along its cross street, Rancho. To
my left, walking in the opposite direction in the weedy field, is a
white man of similar height wearing a beige trenchcoat. Like many of the
transients one would find in Berkeley, he is talking to himself and
making sudden, uncontrolled movements. He notices me, so I don't make
eye contact. However, he starts angling his path backwards and towards
me, which makes me nervous. I start walking faster, but I do not run,
because I refuse to let him intimidate me any further. He lunges at me
and I get in a defensive posture. I then begin delivering a series of
kicks, which fail to make contact. He is not impeded. The fight does not
end.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Sand Castle Toys in the Sky

I stroll along the prefabricated wharf near the new financial
metropolis. Red and grey plastic rods and slabs along with concrete
blocks form neo-Brutalist buildings in polygonal shapes like a child's
k'nex creation. They remind me of those ambitious and futuristic
business centers made during the late eighties uncomfortably close to
the smoke-filled freeways in California. An overcast sky blankets the
background along with a mildly tempestuous sea.

Moving around the wharf, I find a bench near the water and bring out my
drawing pad. Shiny plastic forms melt upwards from the horizon showing
what represents five or six mechanical devices used in engineering. They
almost resemble the texture of sand castle toys but have a Dalian twist.
"Look" I say to my father, who sits at my right, "these are used to make
great things." He doesn't say anything, and just stares forward. He's
wearing the dark grey sweater he usually has on for work.

We're back at the resort hotel. A lady appears in an opening elevator
with a stroller. She speaks some quotidian housewife-isms in a Britiish
accent, and I realize she's a television personality in the UK. Potato
chips, or "crisps" if you will, float upwards in the cheesy reality
television opening credits, along with a clip-art baguette sandwich,
right before the title of the program. A bag of these crisps is also in
a bin on her stroller; it must be some motif from the show. Anyway, she
goes on her way down the white-tiled hallway displaying an artificial
smile for any potential photographers.

In their room, Mom and Dad are about to leave for the casino. They're
talking very strangely to me, like they openly want to disown me and are
ready to abandon both me and my sister. I'm not sure what transgression
I've committed against them. I openly petition them for answers. I want
to know what's going on.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

3D Wisdom Teeth

At the MIT media lab, there is an exhibit on holograms and three-dimensional visualizations, one of which employs technology similar to MRI to construct biological innards. Volunteering as a subject, I see my whole mouth of teeth become visualized in the 3D columnar printer, including my worrisome wisdom teeth. They are definitely not growing in straight. In fact, they are impacted at almost a 45 degree angle, and punishing their adjacent members in the virtual mouth.

---

There is an old nerd couple partaking in their tradition of walking to the peak of the national laboratory on their anniversary. They sport elaborate futuristic hydration systems and bionic leg braces. Unlike younger people on a similar physical endeavor, they do not take breaks for water or breath. They also stare forward and avoid both eye-contact and conversation.

In the LBNL parking lot near the guest house, I see a black woman in her early thirties carrying a kitchen knife. She is not using it to attack, but trying to find the man who had accosted her with that weapon. Nonetheless, the person in the blue subcompact car who she is trying to talk to is not having that impression, and tries desperately, and awkwardly, to drive out of the parking lot (which is a closed loop, of course). The black woman looks confused and helpless. To my left, the sun is setting over the bay, brilliantly.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Marble Containment

I navigate the narrow SF streets in my compact sedan. Certain lanes disappear randomly, the directions are ambiguously one-way, and I reach stop signs that are located at far too steep of a grade, such that my undercarriage is scrapped. Also, I magically bypass the annoying lane-separating curbs (a-la-Berkeley) and avoid collisions with equally-confused drivers. I’m getting too close to the Chinatown cart vendors on the side of the road. Two Asian ladies are selling hats and trinkets, and I’m worried I might run over their toes as I approach this stop at a 45% grade. They both smile at me.

My car disappears. To the left, I see the two nuclear containment structures built with glittering black marble like a mosque. The marble is cut in prismatic facets seemingly from single pieces, and they reflect the sun with a glittering texture, possibly doubling as solar panels. Due to the economy of space in the city, the secondary side of the plant is built vertically to the right of the containment, like a Brutalist skyscraper. There is a huge Renaissance mural painted on the side: a beautiful painting showing the key figures and events leading up to the war. Brown and olive are the main colors, with some subdued reds and greens interspersed here and there.

Further to the right, anchored in the port, I see an alternative-lifestyle ark inspired by the Treasure Island music festival and Burning Man from decades earlier. I see revelers with no handheld technologies of any sort dancing with ribbons and playing drum-driven music as part of an agglomerated tribalistic world culture that emerged after the massive conflict.

Seeing all this, I step on my skateboard and begin my descent on the the steep San Francisco hill. This would be quite the daredevil stunt, but there is too much drag and friction and I do not travel very swiftly. A boarder to my left looks at me with concern; I think he’s gesturing to my trucks. My wheels may also be stripped.

At the bottom of the hill, I come to a park where I see A. He makes fun of my skateboard, which is clearly entry-level, but I soon begin to skate rapidly on the concrete, barefoot with no special shoes. This is much more fun, although my smoothness and technique are questionable. Dodging basketballers, I try an undulating motion to increase my speed, like a sidewinder, but the desert sand impairs me.

Honor Society

I see M. in a brown suit greeting a number of his colleagues with an air of hubris as he strolls along a landing of the multi-tiered, red-seated auditorium.

I see S., seated, and she beckons me over, encouraging me either to sign up for the society or to give a large donation. I know she wants me to stay, to help fundraise for this questionable “honor society.” But I see individuals here who do not come to mind when thinking of an honors-level performance. Furthermore, key players in that category are noticeably missing.

I leave the auditorium, only to realize that I am clothed solely with my bold blue Express underwear. I have left my backpack in my seat, and there’s no way to go back in to retrieve it. I also do not trust that anyone would safely stow it in a lost-and-found.

Nonetheless, everything is okay at the end of the ceremony. I witness a morose meeting of leadership in the back room. There’s sullen-eyed, restless Eddie, sitting on an ottoman. He and the rest of them interact in a sedated relief that their hard work in conducting the assembly has been fruitful.

I get in an UBER with an unidentifiable lot of them to go back to the hotel. At one point along the way, the driver rides on the wrong side of the road, although painted arrows on the asphalt seem to defend these actions. We reach the hotel, and it comes to time to pay. It is all tied to my credit card, but no one has offered to split. They’re trying to stiff me on the UBER expense! No surprise, not many of them seem to have actual money. Good business outfits, but no money.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Fungal Orthodontia

K. is laying on the hospital bed generously accomodated by the local Applebee’s restaurant in the space formerly occupied by four booths in the rear. This came as complication from a controversial new orthodontic technique involving the complete removal of teeth and subsequent grinding of the gums, whereafter stem cells would be used to regenerate new teeth in the bloodied mass. The new teeth did not regenerate, unfortunately, and eventually a yellow-green film began to develop in her tooth-sockets caused by a rare and drug-resistant mycobacterium. Week after week, the film became thicker and had an interesting effect on her behavior. For example, she would be very happy at the sight of her beau’s visitation, and give a wide grotesque smile like sun shining on a similarly-affected tree in the wilderness. Eventually, the disease spread to her face in the proximity of her nostrils and cheekbones, causing wide-open wounds. Despite the horror of this development, she did not appear affected and remained in a zombie-like bliss, like ants with Cordyceps.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Shadow-Boxing

I walk down the hallway before going to bed to shut the blinds in the kitchen. While closing the blinds, I notice a man on my rooftop in the corner smoking a cigarette. It’s dark, but I can tell he’s a fatty with sparse, frizzy hair (almost like a clown), and judging by the striped boxers, white tank and slippers he’s probably coming from bed.

I can’t stand these intrusions into my personal space. Why can’t people leave me alone? I close the blinds with final glimpses of the man through the rigging holes. He almost appears to mock me in his anchored, defiant posture.

Could it be that I’m I being scoped for a robbery? I become very paranoid. Walking back down the hallway I look over my shoulder to the doorway. In the miniscule light from the smoke detector I see a shape resembling a human figure about five feet five inches in height. I quickly rush the object and start throwing punches.

It’s not a person; my fists hit nothing but air. It was all in my head. I was shadow-boxing.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Blue-Green Forest

I wait patiently to cross Shattuck from the Ashby station exit. The vast multitude of tourists makes this mundane task exceedingly difficult, and I want to do it safely, because I don’t want to die. Tens and hundreds just jaywalk as I wait for the white man to illuminate on the sign. When it finally does after 15 or so minutes, I walk 15 feet to cross the street and continue on my way, just to realize that I could have reached the correct building without crossing Shattuck in the first place. There it is, on Adeline, after the hairpin, and there are no cars making those unprotected crosswalks any more dangerous. Please don’t tell anyone of my mistake; they’ll question my intelligence.

---

Light bounces off the lush trees and beams through the textured windows of the woodland home, and covers the walls of the foyer. These trees are a mixture of both temperate and tropical species, and they form a radiant naturalist paradise.  I see XLE walking towards the house after her hike on the trail. In her camouflage shorts and cropped black shirt, she appears covered in dust but still beautiful, as always, and underneath her bun-tied hair, above her new jewelry is the smile that has typically brightened my days. I see her rearranging some items in her backpack, and my left hand reaches for the knob on the door to let her in. We embrace on the porch. But I soon have to leave this mysterious house.

The blue-green tropical foliage lines the suburban road out of this hermit community. Like acrylic paint applied liberally to a canvas of air.

---

Downtime at the conference. I figure I should eat so leave the convention center and start walking down to the commercial district. On my right I see about twenty Hispanic laborers donning sun hats and carrying leaf-blowers and other lawn power tools. They all wear the standard blue and yellow Bk shirts in various international scripts as they march on the opposite sidewalk. Behind them is the shadowy, inclined blue-green rainforest.
Further down, I see a McDonalds Express. Hey, why not? I want a soft-serve cone and a Big Mac. I don’t care that it’s not healthy or the fact that I’m eating more out of prudence than actual hunger. I walk swiftly, as I’m prone to do, and at the entrance of the queue I merge ahead of a family—moving just as quick as I am—with awkwardly low clearance. Three spoiled brats and their mom, wearing Marmot jackets. Greatly annoyed, I concede and let them cut in front of me; anything to quell those looks of privileged indignance.

Waiting in line, I see Jimsoe. She greets me with something to the effect of “That’s my baby!” as if I was her lover or something. She tells me all about her taboo new hobby.

The queue ribbon is moved to inconvenience me. Those bastards.

---

After a six hour drive south, I finally arrive at my birthplace only to realize that the valley has turned into a Himalayan snow-capped mountain range. There seems to be no sign of life anywhere, with not a whisper sounding above that of the wind. I want to take a picture of this and draw a contrast with the inspiring blue-green forest I was at previously, and then share that photograph with (questionably extant) friends. Walking along the southern side of my house, I see Dusty emerge energetically from the piles of snow to my left. Yes! I missed my dog. Getting nearer, he sinks deeply into the white heaps, and I have to reach down a feel around for him. I catch him once only for him to sink yet again into the fluffy abyss.

On the west side of the house, I find that Chico is still alive. He uses his paws to rearrange six oblong granite stones on the rusted bonfire stage. He arranges four of them vertically and sandwiches them with two horizontal. The pine needles from old Christmas trees condemned to burn poke out in between. Impressed that his small body is able to move these rocks, I’m sad that he never looks up at me. I want to hug him.