HOUR 7 (PAGES 31-35)

subjects but we both knew we meant everything else that we said—you know life—actually it was about the tunnels, the Stockton Street tunnel and the one they just built on Broadway, that’s the one we talked of the most, but as we talked this a great electrical current of real understanding passed between us and I could feel the other levels the infinite number of them of every intonation in his speech and mine and the world of meaning in every word—I’d never realized before how much is happening all the time, and people know it—in their eyes they show it, they refuse to show it by any other—I stayed a very long time.”—”He must have been a weirdy himself.”—”You know, balding, and queer like, and middleaged, and with that with-neck-cut-off look or head-on-air,” (witless, peaked) “looking all over, I guess it was his mother the old lady with the Paisley shawl—but my god it would take me all day.”—”Wow.”—”Out on the street this beautiful old woman with white hair had come up to me and saw me, but was asking directions, but liked to talk—.” (On the sunny now lyrical Sunday morning after-rain sidewalk, Easter in Frisco and all the purple hats out and the lavender coats parading in the cool gusts and the little girls so tiny with their just whitened shoes and hopeful coats going slowly in the white hill streets, churches of old bells busy and downtown around Market where our tattered holy Negro Joan of Arc wandered hosannahing in her brown borrowed-from-night skin and heart, flutters of betting sheets at corner newsstands, watchers at nude magazines, the flowers on the corner in baskets and the old Italian in his apron with the newspapers kneeling to water, and the Chinese father in tight ecstatic suit wheeling the basket-carriaged baby down Powell with his pink-spot-cheeked wife of glitter brown eyes in  her new bonnet rippling to flap in the sun, there stands Mardou smiling intensely and strangely and the old eccentric lady not any more conscious of her Negroness than the kind cripple of the store and because of her out and open face now, the clear indications of a troubled pure innocent spirit just risen from a pit in pockmarked earth and by own broken hands self-pulled to safety and salvation, the two women Mardou and the old lady in the incredibly sad empty streets of Sunday after the excitements of Saturday night the great glitter up and down Market like wash gold dusting and the throb of neons at O’Farrell and Mason Bars with cocktail glass cherrysticks winking invitation to the open hungering hearts of Saturday and actually leading only finally to Sunday-morning blue emptiness just the flutter of a few papers in the gutter and the long white view to Oakland Sabbath haunted, still—Easter sidewalk of Frisco as white ships cut in clean blue lines from Sasebo beneath the Golden Gate’s span, the wind that sparkles all the leaves of Marin here laving the washed glitter of the white kind city, in the lostpurity clouds high above redbrick track and Embarcadero pier, the haunted broken hint of song of old Pomos the once only-wanderers of these eleven last American now white-behoused hills, the face of Mardou’s father himself now as she raises her face to draw breath to speak in the streets of life materializing huge above America, fading—.) “And like I told her but talked too and when she left she gave me her flower and pinned it on me and called me honey.”—”Was she white?”—”Yeah, like, she was very affectionate, very plea-sant she seemed to love me—like save me, bring me out—I walked up a hill, up California past Chinatown, someplace I came to a white garage like with a big garage wall and this guy in a swivel chair wanted to know what I wanted, I understood all of my moves as one obligation after another to communicate to whoever not accidentally but by arrangement was placed before me, communicate and exchange this news, the vibration and new meaning that I had, about everything happening to everyone all the time everywhere and for them not to worry, nobody as mean as you think or—a colored guy, in the swivel chair, and we had a long confused talk and he was reluctant, I remember, to look in my eyes and really listen to what I was saying.”—”But what were you saying?”—”But it’s all forgotten now—something as simple and like you’d never expect like those tunnels or the old lady and I hanging-up on streets and directions—but the guy wanted to make it with me, I saw him open his zipper but suddenly he got ashamed, I was turned around and could see it in the glass.” (In the white planes of wall garage morning, the phantom man and the girl turned slumped watching in the window that not only reflected the black strange sheepish man secretly staring but the whole office, the chair, the safe, the dank concrete back interiors of garage and dull sheen autos, showing up also unwashed specks of dust from last night’s rainsplash and thru the glass across-the-street immortal balcony of wooden bay-window tenement where suddenly she saw three Negro children in strange attire waving but without yelling at a Negro man four stories below in overalls and therefore apparently working on Easter, who waved back as he walked in his own strange direction that bisected suddenly the slow direction being taken by two men, two hatted, coated ordinary men but carrying one a bottle, the other a boy of three, stopping now and then to raise the bottle of Four Star California Sherry and drink as the Frisco A.M. All Morn Sun wind flapped their tragic topcoats to the side, the boy bawling, their shadows on the streetlike shadows of gulls the color of handmade Italian cigars of deep brown stores at Columbus and Pacific, now the passage of a fishtail Cadillac in second gear headed for hilltop houses bay-viewing and some scented visit of relatives bringing the funny papers, news of old aunts, candy to some unhappy little boy waiting for Sunday to end, for the sun to cease pouring thru the French blinds and paling the potted plants but rather rain and Monday again and the joy of the woodfence alley where only last night poor Mardou’d almost lost.)—”What’d the colored guy do?”—”He zipped up again, he wouldn’t look at me, he turned away, it was strange he got ashamed and sat down—it reminded me too when I was a little girl in Oakland and this man would send us to the store and give us dimes then he’d open his bathrobe and show us himself.”—”Negro?”—”Yea, in my neighborhood where I lived—I remember I used to never stay there but my girlfriend did and I think she even did something with him one time.” —”What’d you do about the guy in the swivel chair?”—”Well, like I wandered out of there and it was a beautiful day, Easter, man.”—”Gad, Easter where was I?”—”The soft sun, the flowers and here I was going down the street and thinking ‘Why did I allow myself to be bored ever in the past and to compensate for it got high or drunk or rages or all the tricks people have because they want anything but serene understanding of just what there is, which is after all so much, and thinking like angry social deals,—like angry—kick—like hasseling over social problems and my race problems, it meant so little and I could feel that great confidence and gold of the morning would slip away eventually and had already started—I could have made my whole life like that morning just one the strength of pure understanding and willingness to live and go along, God it was all the most beautiful thing that ever happened to me in its own way—but it was all sinister.”—Ended when she got home to her sisters’ house in Oakland and they were furious at her anyway but she told them off and did strange things; she noticed for instance the complicated wiring her eldest sister had done to connect the TV and radio to the kitchen plug in the ramshackle wood upstairs of their cottage near Seventh and Pine the railroad sooty wood and gargoyle proches like tinder in the sham scrapple slums, the yard nothing but a lot with broken rocks and black wood showing where hoboes Tokay’d last night before moving across the meatpacking yard to the Mainline rail Tracy-bound thru vast endless impossible Brooklyn-Oakland full of telephone polls and crap and on Saturday nights the wild Negro bars full of whores and the Mexicans Ya-Yaaing in their own saloons and the cop car cruising the long sad avenue riddled with drinkers and the glitter of broken bottles (now in the wood house where she was raised in terror Mardou is squatting against the wall looking at the wires in the half dark and she hears herself speak and doesn’t understand why she’s saying it except that it must be said, come out, because that day earlier when in her wandering she finally got to wild Third Street among the lines of slugging winos and the bloody drunken Indians with bandages rolling out of alleys and the 10 cent movie house with three features and little children of skid row hotels running on the sidewalk and the pawnshops and the Negro chickenshack jukeboxes and she stood in drowsy sun suddenly listening to bop as if for the first time as it poured out, the intention of the musicians and of the horns and instruments suddenly a mystical unity expressing itself in waves like sinister and again electricity but screaming with palpable aliveness the direct word from the vibration, the interchanges of the statement, the levels of waving intimation, the smile in sound, the same living insinuation in the way her sister’d arranged those wires wriggled entangled and fraught with intention, innocent looking but actually behind the mask of casual life completely by agreement the mawkish mouth almost sneering snakes of electricity purposely placed she’d been seeing all day and hearing in the music and saw now in the wires), “What are you trying to do electrocute me?” so the sisters could see something was really wrong, worse than the youngest of the Fox sisters who was alcoholic and made the wild street and got arrested regularly by the vice squad, some nameless horrible yawning wrong, “She smokes dope, she hangs out with all those queer guys with beards in the City.”—They called the police and Mardou was taken to the hospital—realizing now

1 note, November 30, 2012