There is a corona around the moon tonight. ‘Corona’ may be the wrong terminology—perhaps coronas only exist around the sun—what it all simply means is that there’s just enough humidity in the air to have light form a crown around the one and present celestial body. Because it’s night, this means the moon; it’s coronated with a halo that is rainbow on the inside despite the present darkness. I see it from my porch where it is lacerated by the knifing of telephone wires and the occasional plane flying in, just over Mt. Miguel and down past Balboa’s tower.
The planes flying in, wingtip lights blinking; the moon exhibiting its strata—it’s signal to walk, which I do because recently I require less sleep. These walks are no longer about clearing the head, rather expanding it.
I don’t believe in fate. But I naggingly insist on symbology, so it’s of no surprise that I live in a neighborhood once torrented by a jet-crash a year after I was born. We all became something different after 9/11; NP became something different the year I was still in a car seat, and when PSA 182 hit the houses that remain, rebuilt, a stone’s throw from where I live currently.
I walk the neighborhood under a full moon and the barbeque pit is extinguishing its last coals, when the pit-masters break up the last and spent embers with their tongs, sending up fast-dying sparks, there still delicious smoke; when patrons weave their way home, women dressed to unnecessary nines and drunk in their own effluvium of perfumes.
I walk down a new alleyway, which I didn’t know was dead-ended. My failure as a mammal—we’re supposed to have a better sense of direction. But I tell people that we are very much unlike our dogs or cats; rather our senses are ordered like birds. We rely on sight, and when that’s blinked out, it’s hearing; followed by smell and taste. I don’t talk about ‘touch’—that’s something different.
At the end of an alleyway, where I can’t see, I’m at the edge of a canyon. There’s houses here, but I best hear the military order of sprinklers, chh-chh-chh; there’s sourgrass , iceplant and aloe—chartreuse and magenta and orange blossoms—but also chaff wettened, all the dead stuff coming back to life. And because I can’t see, I hear the sprinklers, I smell the familiar smell of straw like the sticky smell of buckwheat enliven the near-midnight hour. There’s the sound of a squirrel in the bushes, maybe a late-night and near-terrestrial bird, so I turn around.
My therapist looks at me over her glasses. There are bookcases behind her, and I focus on a copy of Franzen’s ‘Freedom’. Since my therapist has set up a neighborhood book exchange outside her practice, I suggest giving ‘Freedom’ away. ‘Freedom’ is shit next to ‘Corrections.’
Like I said, I believe in symbology.
“Perhaps you’re bi-polar.”
This is the punch in the eye I don’t need.
“You keep saying euphoria.”
“I don’t want to go back, Peg. Bipolar means you have to go back.”
“You could be unipolar,” she suggests as if we’re watching a butterfly being eaten by a hummingbird.
My grandpa used to sit in front of the television when I was young, the television as furniture and with the faux-gold ash-piece next to it, he smoking and I rooting on the Saints because I had no allegiance; he gave me pennies and would pinch my arm with a wink. He would sit next to me with his arms pounded to the floor, gorilla-like; he liked me and I knew it (my grandma didn’t), and I felt comfortable though he was uncomfortable with just one and a half lungs, why he sat the way he did, holding himself up because it was hard to breathe.
He gave me three cents when the Saints scored a touchdown.
He whispered things to me, flannel-jacketed, which I only now remember. There are papers which had him diagnosed as manic-depressive.
I won’t repeat them, the words he said to me..
I don’t want to go back. Though Grandpa planted a field of iceplant with flowers like fuchsia anemones that I’d navigate in my corduroys, six years old, not knowing what would later be mine.
Inheritance is not always a good thing. And we sometimes say sorry, without being, perse, sorry on purpose.
We apologize on accident.
We apologize for accidents.
We are accidents.
Nothing is anybody’s fault.
With grass-stains on my knees, my Grandpa told me this: