I didn't have the heart to photograph the shining new places and people. The Google camera car zipping down Valencia St. can do that without my help. Let new SF look upwards, forwards – I'd rather look down. This city has always kept its diary in its gutters.
The changes in San Francisco seem less surprising when the afternoon the fog comes rolling down the hills, determined to make an airy substance of all in its path. Whole neighborhoods appear and disappear. The Bay fades and returns. Vapor cinema.
In the whirl overhead bodies twist, fold, encounter each other – sweat evaporates in soft clouds – spastic, hurried, then slow, slow breaths exhale – In the expanding arms of mist there is a quivering night, finally happening, with someone that you’ve wanted for so long – there’s the happy gliding of walking towards the home of a beloved –there’s downward pull of wandering drunk and heartbroken – there’s the circular current of those going from work to home to work – there’s the bristle of the thousands of dollars that pass through the city every hour – there’s the apartment window once bright, now darkened by the high-rise condo that cuts off all light and view.
Like the fog the wind gathers the city into itself – sirens, construction banging, words, sighs, shouts of pain and defiance, grunts, whispers, lover’s truths, political lies, testimonies, eulogies, memories recounted, lives made up between shots of whisky and late night pillows, secrets spoken alone at 5 a.m.. Beneath it all, finally, the last breaths, the last words, the memory of a silence that equaled death, made all the more clear by the rush of the wind and the snap of the gigantic rainbow flag of above the Castro.
Nearby, a soiled red shirt waves from a shrub that marks some abandoned, homeless lovers’ camp. There are empty lube packets scattered about– small, single use ones, labeled “I.D. moments.” Identity moments. Time leaked out of torn plastic. No condoms in sight –only the Ironic evidence of quick, anonymous, unprotected fucks in the rattlesnake grass. For some life here on the ground isn’t any more solid than the fog above.
There's so much that could be written about SF - what's gone. what's going, what remains – I'll leave it with this: