Black, grimy, gritty sand grinds between my molars. The smell of Half Moon Bay ocean spray erupts in my senses, a wave crashing on the rocks. Soft, chewy — malleable like my energy riding the tides of the day.

I split the shells open, like an old book I’ve have many a conversation with. Seeking wisdom and discernment, a friendly word of encouragement. Reaching for another tray — I’m at that french restaurant in north beach now. Diana’s new boyfriend reaches across the table and dips his bread in my soup.

My eyes twitch. I look at her to see her reaction. I should make a joke to draw a boundary. But I laugh nervously, always trying to people please. Draw the line.

Crunch on the shells, and grow some muscles. Flex. Firm, strong. Veins where the blood of a winner course through.

8th grade, Mrs. Darby’s class at Egan — I heard the bell ring. 3rd period over, time to get to the next class. Only 5 minutes to get there. Backpacks are rustling, yellow pencils are being placed in see-through plastic pencil bins. Thick heavy textbooks are being tossed into faded jansport bags.

I’m looking around to get up. But there’s something in my pants. Coming of age age. Tense, embarrassed. I look across the room. Sarah is bent over her back-pack — she always wears revealing top with those big juicy firm…

Ding Ding!

I stand up hesitantly, bending over my backpack. Taking more time to re-arrange my algebra book with my US history book. I can feel everyone staring at me, laughing. Caught dick-handed.

Ding Ding!

The room is empty, and i’m still switching my books — bent over. Trying to find a reason not to poke myself.

Angel City brewery — the hustle bustle of beer drinkers and brawlers held at a dim roar as I shook hands with my old friend Majik. Big husky, pulling his 250 pound frame in toward my body as we did our trademark handshake/hug. Strength in vulnerability. …

I pinch the little brown coin between my thumb and index finger. Feeling the sticky metallic dust of copper finish — the grime of a thousand transactions gosh knows where doing gosh knows what. …

Walking towards Kyle’s house, I heard the crunch of fall leaves underneath my Reebok’s. Stepping closer, I heard the wail of badly-played distortion coming from a Fender amp. Someone was playing “Highway to Hell” by ACDC. Neil, the ginger-haired freckled sophomore, was thrashing away on the drums — clanging away on the cymbals like an octopus with a toy. My electric guitar was heavy as I gripped it tight. Releasing, I unpacked my sunburst guitar, the smell of the guitar shop expanding with the open case. My Weezer lightning bolt guitar-strap was heavy hanging across my right shoulder, I plugged in — the hum of the amp ascending with my excitement. I gulped down a big wad of saliva, loosened my thumb and index finger around my hard-plastic pick-let’s show them what I’ve got.

Porcelain honeys with french legs, peeking under their maiden skirts. Singing in a broadway revue at the top of their lungs. The young girl in a farmers dress sits at the end of the dark mahogany table — surprised and astounded, as she waits for a palatial dinner. A candle…

The camcorder took it all in. Howling like a yoga class full of Golden Gate suicide chanters. Woosh, praying for more hope on the other side. Or the underbelly of the tourist link. Bridging from the vast ocean to the tiny point on which San Francisco meets Sausalito. In my…

Knuckles white, I grip the metallic cart with terrible excitement. Tick, tick, tick, tick — our cart moves higher and higher on these clown-red tracks. Higher and higher we go. I feel my stomach lifting up out of my chest. Whoosh! The fragrance of popcorn smashes into the cold air…

The roar of the caged tiger reverberates through the carnival walls. A thousand voices claw for the attention for your ears — melting into a sea of sound. Buttery popcorn wafts from the seats below you, as you scratch the top of your left hand in hot anticipation. Sweaty, moist bodies, it’s about time to take off your sweater.

Free now, your forearms breath as you raise them up, to exclaim and yell as the man with the illustrious mustache cajoles the tiger. Pointing at its muscular belly with a spear. Caged, like all of us — yearning to break through the bars holding our true selves. With your arms around her, you exhale. Feeling her little body in yours, tensing up.

“Secret”

An innocent young man sings in a British accent. Sounding far-away, back into the recesses of the pre-adolescent 60s. A jangly guitar twangs out, as the 3 part harmony responds. It sounds like the soundtrack to the intro montage, of a teenage boy rummaging through his dresser, as his mom cooks breakfast downstairs.

He puts a Beatles record on the turnstile. We watch it rev up to spin. Before it starts, he slides the window up, and ninja jumps out, flowers tucked between his shoulders.

His bedroom door opens, and his mom appears, eyes-wide when she doesn’t see her son. The Beatles keep playing, “listen, can I tell you a secret.” The catchy refrain bounces along, as she fumes.

A little Weerd

Experimental muzak and Righting

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