April 17, 2011


Its been both a moody and a glorious this week on the Island, our hometown set here on the edge of the San Francisco Bay. Monday the dawn light slowly exploded in streaks of gold and vermilion through radioactive clouds of blue from the East, which is the direction from which normally all of us expect only ill. Yet the day brightened into legions of hope and sunshine. Other days pressed down with portentous chiaroscuro smudges, as if another Great War was being waged at terrible cost somewhere in the Nation or the World.

Denby went up to the North Counties to put his muscles and sinew to the task of fire abatement on the scree-clad slopes and water-fed scrub there for the weekend, so the usual entertainment got put aside in favor of sweaty work and hacking under hot sun.

Sometimes love must take a backseat . . .

Sometimes love must take a backseat in deference to labor.

It is Spring and all the broom and brush was blooming amid wild lilacs and exuberant irises erupting shamefully and without care amid the tangled wildness of the hills. It was a bit shameful to go about chopping down the vigorous efforts of Nature amid the blue blossoms, but such must be or all will fail in terrible fire later on, leaving only the shiny poison oak, which never seems to go away.

. . . now was come the Season of Venus and the time of Eros

After the harsh rough of bay laurel left the sinuses everyone repaired to the bar, after cleansing showers, to talk and make the usual gossip. And all the gossip and talk that there was concerned itself about love, for now was come the Season of Venus and the time of Eros.

In the lucky13 the story was told by the Carpenter of Wendy and Eusebio. Now Eusebio showed up at MacPac one day to work the depths of the basement there of that ancient hardware supplier for building contractors. MacPac was located under the confluence of the freeway interchange south of Market in the City, so even its front door was already underground by way of access to light and air. The contractors would enter and speak to salespeople who finalized the purchase of high end hardware for Victorian buildings. The Contractors then descended to the basement where it was Eusebio's job to fetch from the caverns there of shelves and storehouse the desired hardware. Across the street from that place yawned the exit portals of the City Jail, yea that door known as Seventh Street.

Across the street ... yawned the exit portals of the City Jail

Now Eusebio's hands shook with a spastic motion, and his eyes rolled in his head and he showed many mannerisms that caused others some grief, and moreover his speech was halt and disconcerting, but in the basement of MacPac he had found his place among humanity, far from the judgmental eye of the socialite and the self-approved and self-entitled. There he provided service and earned an honest wage and was paid and so did well for himself where before he had been scorned and cast out and sent among the swine and the filth. He brought his homemade tuna sandwich to work and ate his lunch on the stoop facing the place which released the evening hookers from the jail and then went down to finish his work and in such wise was he content with what he had. Such was Euebio for many long years.

Then, so as it happened, was come to Macpac an helpmeet for business was at that time well. Wendy was she who had earned a degree in mathematics from Yea Olde Standford, once yclept "a good school", but sore was she to find that no one wanted a woman of female design who knew the sine and the cosine and the equation and furthermore the significance of difference less than .05%. Nor was the calculus of space enjoined. That a woman of beauty should possess mind and heart, was much overlooked, if not disdained. And so for a long time Wendy wandered bereft of consolation or respect for her womanhood and her mind, but in the dark shadows of MacPac the mysterious calculus of the heart began to work its statistical inevitable destiny.

That a woman of beauty should possess mind and heart, was much overlooked

And lo! Wendy met Eusebio, who knew much of range and indeterminacy, and the quadratic equations which define the labyrinths of Borges and the two were ultimately conjoined by way of administrative ordinance in civic marriage and there began a great story that swelled under the dim wattage of MacPac's basement. And unto them was granted the great gift of fertility, as three children issued thence from that union as proof that Love doth indeed conquer all. And they ate their lunch together thereafter under the freeway and compared the lingerie and the shoes of the hookers let out from jail together with great wisdom.

So unto you, I say, unto you be not discouraged . . .

So unto you, I say, unto you be not discouraged that thou hast lost all thine teeth or be cursed with a large wen, a great nose, a homely appearance, dull wit, lacking beer or sense, be afflicted with bowlegs or tedious parsonage, or be in any other way comfortless upon the earth for the spirit moves upon the waters and surely thou shalt find love in some form, either in cabbage or melon or human form and so be comforted.

Thus spake the Carpenter as he ended his tale for the moment, although there was yet more to tell.

Denby remained absent from these discussions, and likely would for some time until this bogus love business was done with, for he had contracted a serious case of poison oak while hacking about the shrubbery of Marin, and as most folks know, a bad contagious rash really puts the kibosh on affection. That and the memory of Diana showering him with flaming peat in the cottage in Kilternan before wacking him with an iron skillet, just to demonstrate that Irish gals can be passionate about things as well as anyone.

So Denby holed up in the snug of the St. Charles Lunatic Asylum where he rented a room in partial exchange for caretaking.

she was some sort of martial artist

Over at the Old Same Place Bar a gay sort of gal named Danya had shown up full of piss and vinegar, much like Daniel in the lion's den, and looking for a fight. She kept punching people with great zest, while pretending to be dancing to the music -- she was some sort of martial artist or something -- but it was Padraic's idea the gal was all sublimation and showtime. Usually it was Drunken Ned who showed up trying to lock horns with everybody smaller than he was in every bar from McGrath's on down past the Forbidden Tiki Lounge, but this time the troublemaker happened to be Danya, a feisty and pugnacious woman wearing a leather jacket and attitude.

Danya delivered of him a mighty wack

Along chanced to pass Eugene Gallipagus bearing his Guiness before him well stacked when Danya delivered of him a mighty wack that sent the foam flying.


"Howdy cowboy! How's the poodle killin these days!" Danya shouted.

Eugene fled to the dark safety of the Snug in back, from where he refused to come out for many hours. Padraic sat there with him and consoled the hunter with glasses of Poitín and tales of Troubles and Women and the two combined were an evil business indeed for which there was not a better remedy than the uisge beatha.

Dawn was more curt. "She wants a good schtupping, but she's too short to climb the pole. Seems an American East Coast sort of thing."

that is the nature of Spring

In any case, Spring brings out the peacocks and all sorts of animals. Some of them want a fight. Can't help it for that is the nature of Spring. The lilacs will erupt and there is nothing to be done about it.

"Lets have another round!" Danya howled as she clapped the Man from Minot in the small of the back until his teeth rattled.

"You're quite a pistol," the Man from Minot said.

Danya laughed. "Ha ha! Lets see your ammunition big boy!"

On a jaunty Saturday, Jose went out on the first excursion of the season with Toby and Tommy on board their sloop, the Lavender Surprise.

Toby was concerned that Jose be all right there amid the close confines of the boat. "Are you sure you are okay with us here like this?" He knew that Jose was straight as an arrow and the purple pennant flapped from the mizzen with mad gaiety.

"Actually, considering Xavier being impaled by his last amor, Denby being set on fire with hot coals, the Editor hiding out in his office in fear of fierce Joanne, and all the collateral damage that happens this time of year, right now I feel quite safe." And so Jose snoozed on the decks, while Toby and Tommy made folderol below.

From far across the way, the long howl of the the throughpassing train ululated across the April waves of the estuary and the passionately pollinating lilacs and irises of the Buena Vista flats as the locomotive wended its way past the dark and shuttered doors of the Jack London Waterfront, headed off on its journey to parts unknown.

That's the way it is on the Island. Have a great week.