pale yellow screwdriver, good vodka + crappy orange juice. black straw punctuation.

beach town, nowhere california. barefeet and dusty sidewalks, cool pavement underfoot, boardwalk and gravel. jcrew jeans rolled to the knees, soaked + dirty. 30-year-old grateful dead t still an obscene shade of green. wind-blown white blonde beach mane. walking toward sunset dinner with the smiling man. frog prints in pavement, weather-beaten buoys on the wall. bathroom outhouse with cool stone tiled floors. beautiful food and fiestaware – melon spiced mouth explosion, comfort food found unexpectedly in mashed potatoes and the world’s most perfect green beans.

food as marker. a meal just as perfect, ice cream sandwich and 7-11 dinner. diet coke, memories of the tree zoo behind us.

back on the beach… sea otters poking noses above the waves. ten minutes of me. leaning against cool concrete, lazing in the sun. punk-rock boys, british men with friendly little dogs the color of the cali hills. pelican dives, a different life – my life? a feeling of rightness that has been missing for a long, long time.

beautiful surfer grrls with long bleached dreads.

gold. that color unescaping eyesight. permeating landscape and mindscape. dotted hills. the colors of san jose muted yet fresh. a desert oasis, friendly football faces. tooling around in a little white car, lost but never worried. the museum imposing and perfect. ART! cali art, native art, a coastal vibe expressed in chaotic color. helicopters change to babies above my head in total darkness. i peer through peepholes into mini worlds expressing the past and my immediate here-and-now. sit in gothic thrones, look ever upward to glass demons in saturated hues. pass places where men congregate to express the energy that infects the surrounding acres like a beautiful virus.

a red-haired cyclone pressed against me in a burgundy shirt. scorpio and cancer engraved on one forearm. i have met these boys in a different life – a flicker of recognition passes across matched irises. on a different trip there would be conquest – on this, only desire and the knowledge that this is not the end (walking away in the night), only the beginning……

three nights. memories fogged already like the land they were conceived in.

dave matthews sang us along the coast, easy tunes triggering reasons to leave all this behind and return to EST. missing someone who means little, but maybe sometimes you just need someone to miss? this week was for healing, and the gods have been generous with this gift. i find new scars beneath the surface, poke them as i poke at sobriety and lucidity, feel their knots present but unpainful. there are men under my skin who will never work their way out, but they can become memories, lines and harmless lumps of loosely connected flesh.

did i find what i came for? yes…… yes…… but i think it has only whetted my appetite for more of the same. remembering aloneness and its beauty, independence and spontaneity. fulfilling only my own whims, needs and desires. why would you give this up? why will i give it up again? i will, some day, the tradeoffs of compromise, of matching speed with someone else, in exchange for warm breath on flesh and someone to share the recognition of those moments of perfect beauty. the compromise won’t be made so easily, again. the next man who gets these pieces of me will be someone equally as reluctant to lose (give away?) himself.

when i left, i thought i was running away from something. i found, instead, that i could just run.