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Lake Merritt, Oakland

December 16th, 2001

Do It Tomorrow
I feel a sadness when I listen to the music of the late sixties and seventies, the music I listened to so intently during my years in San Francisco. I suppose it makes me recall those times, good times - bad times, I don't know how to describe it in a way that might be understandable. Unless this is just the nature of things, not uncommon after a certain age, this feeling. No need to describe it at all.

How did I feel when I played them for the first time? I wonder. Strange times, maybe, except it has become increasingly obvious, even to me, that all times are strange times, what with world wars, atomic bombs, Vietnams, twin towers and television. Any day you've got a hot, a cot and an Internet connection is a good day. Everything else is extra, like chocolate on ice cream. I've had the luxury of growing up in the late 20th Century American fantasy, no complaints. Maybe there'll be a payback required: Reincarnation as a frog in a world without water, reincarnation as a singer in a world without ears, reincarnation as a preacher in a world without speech. Another trip through America, in other words, another turn of the wheel. (Ya think they'll buy that?)

I've been listening to Neil Young's After the Gold Rush and Harvest albums. Not everyone likes Neil Young. That's all right, I've been listening to Roxy Music too, the second album, the album I listened to with Philippa late into those many nights in the mid seventies, and people hated Roxy Music. Flipped the British, though. Moderately big here locally in La La Land.

Oh, well. I noodled with one of my old On Display pieces late this afternoon. I've thought of During a bomb scare in Oakland rewriting all of them as a way to spend more than an early evening on a single piece, see what they might look like after a week of early evenings, so I picked one. My original thought was it was pretty dorky. Most things start out pretty dorky, the idea with the rewrite is to get it to carry you along, suspend disbelief, get you into the proposition so slick and so fast you don't quite catch the fact there's nothing there, just a breeze at exactly the right temperature, nouns without adjectives, without the many muddy modifiers that make them unmanageable, unbelievable, indigestible (and dorky). Did I mention dorky? Better dead than dorky. Unfortunately, dorky is the price you pay for progress. Only the Fool reaches his desired end, something akin to a deflection shot, aiming at the turtle when you want to bag the swan. It's a rule. Right up there with axing less manageable modifiers.

Morning, now. Sunday morning. I was writing this last night and the brain became unwilling. Hard to read this stuff with any distance when your brain has turned to mush. I would blame it on age, but that is one of the few things I remember (clearly) from my spotted youth: The brain turns to mush after a while. Best for me to write in the morning.

I mentioned there was a chance we would be laid off by the end of this month. If they want us off the books by the end of December, they have to do it tomorrow.

The photographs were taken recently in Oakland.