Jun 9, 2009

Originally uploaded by macnamband
Photo by Jacobovitz (http://jacobovitz.smugmug.com/)

Jun 4, 2009

You haven't gone for a walk in a week but tonight you walk. The moon is imperfectly full and shrouded. You walk north along 47th Avenue to the park. At the corner of Kirkam Street you stop for a car. The car is black and blacked out. As it passes, at a creep, the passenger in the back seat and the passenger in the front seat both reach out and arms unraveling like Frog tongues they slowly give you the finger. These shadows make no sound. The car makes no sound. And still they keep holding out their fuck-yous.

The car passes and you cross the street. Two blocks further on you glance at the dancing school on Irving where the dark-haired Lithuanian woman dances, sometimes by herself, sometimes with clients. The building is dark. Across the street, the Pacific Catch Restaurant is closing. Customers are filing out, saying their good-nights.

What time is it? You cannot see your watch in the dark. You keep walking until finally you can see hands. They're joined at midnight.

You come to Lincoln. There is no traffic. To the left, you can see the blue and red 76 sign above the neighborhood gas station. You cross the street diagonally, to the park entrance. There are no street lights. Three men stand in the shadows by the entrance. They're not blocking the path but you need to pass close to them to go on. The men are in their 20s. One is wearing a hair net, the way gangstas do. Another hops up and down. The third keeps lighting his cigarette. They're talking about one of their friends, how he's gonna get fucked up if he keeps acting stupid.

You pass them by and disappear into the black. There is only enough light to imagine the path, as it winds up and around. Eventually, you see a street light far ahead. The light at the end of the tunnel comes to mind.

Meanwhile, you imagine the contents of the dark. You hear a stick snapping, a voice in the bushes. You tune yourself for flight or fight.

But nothing happens, and now you've come to the light at the end of the tunnel. You can see your surroundings. You are inside the park with the Polo fields a quarter mile to the east, to your right. In the other direction, toward the south windmill, the ocean. If you stop you can hear it. You cross a road and continue walking north toward the other side of the park. You pass the entrance to the soccer fields. Just before the north windmill you see the path that cuts down in behind Beach Chalet. You turn in. There is no light. The path is narrow, like a hiker's path. It runs over a bridge. Someone could set upon you but they don't. Then you round a corner and there's the bar in back of Beach Chalet. You watch the people for a moment, listen to the music, and go on.

Now you walk south, toward home, but instead of going out to the lighted way that runs along the park edge, with the car lights and traffic lights if nothing else, you take the path that runs close by the soccer fields. There is no light, save the day-for-night light from a shorted moon. This used to be a wooded closet where gay men trysted, but the park service has cleared out the underbrush. In the day, no one comes here anymore, but at night, once again, it's a haunt for men who prefer the nuances of shadow to the bulb swinging slowly in a club bathroom.

As you walk along the path, wide enough for a narrow car, you see the tips of lighted cigarettes in among the bushes and trees. Figures move out of the shadows. Occasionally, out of nowhere a figure stands in the middle of the path. It moves aside as you pass. It says nothing. You are in someone's nightgiest, you are in a palace of extreme anonymity. And for that reason, you are more safe than you might imagine. But there's something else. Something else that is appealing about this place. It conveys, however theatrically, a vision of after life, as if you had suddenly passed over into deathtown. You might think of it as a practice area, to train your fear away.

But just when you have found a comfort, even a justification for being in such a place, you are nearly shot dead with fear — from a howling, a horribly piercing howling, so animal-like and so close that for a moment you think there is an animal right there in front of you. It bring you to a crouch.

But it's not an animal, it's another figure-spirit, standing in the middle of the path. Now suddenly he's coming toward you still howling. You brace yourself for destruction. You say something by way of shield, 'what do you want?' It wants nothing. It passes. It has a knapsack. It speaks Spanish under its breath. It's a jin, an angry, nutty jin, a creature from the inferno, but for that instant it had you, it drew you over, over and into a bardo where they work with live ammunition.