OCTOBER 12, 2014





So anyway, the weather is getting finally into the schizo realm of what used to be called "Indian Summer", but which latterly features 80 degrees alternating with cool overcast nights and mornings. Meanwhile we had one of the last Supermoons visit us Wednesday around 4 AM. This full moon was accompanied by an eclipse, caused by the shadow of the earth somewhat blocking the light of the sun and causing a blood-red appearance.

Few persons are awake at that hour. Mothers with newborns. IT personnel tending the quietly humming machines. Fishermen. Some construction workers and factory employees. And devotees of Wicca, who always get up or stay up for such momentous events, as only they seem to appreciate the large quality of what goes on.

Pedro was motoring out to the lanes when the moon quietly shifted to red and he stilled the engines and paused to gaze up at the apparition the moon had become. Ferryboat, learning the ropes and adapting to the sea as a new seadog sat there, awaiting instruction on the placid swell. The sea all around the boat dimmed and took on a strange magenta cast during the eclipse. Strange birds from Africa took refuge in the rigging. Sailfish leapt from the water and glided for yards before diving down again.

The radio preacher said that Pastor Liz had taken up lodging down by the lake, which meant she had given up her bizarre foray into the Byzantine and had returned home to her people. Home to the place where she had always belonged.

And it was odd hearing this homey declaration while something so strange and beautiful was happening in the world.

Officer O'Madhauen, parked down by the old brick DelMonte cannery building, soon to be rehabbed into fancy apartments for people who make more money than you and I, observed with his Styrofoam coffee in hand the moon rise and change color with his mouth open the entire time, agape and wondering, especially as no traffic headed down that road at all. For in fact, all the scofflaws and red-light runners had drifted their engines to the side at that hour to watch the Supermoon go through its changes.

The moon is a powerful influence upon our lives and the Moon Goddess has always, down through the ages, always been someone with which you do not want to trifle. Toni Savage gathered with her coven down by Crab Cove at the usual meeting spot and there many spells were cast and much disputation was put to test, until, ultimately, at the appointed hour there they stood, all in a circle with their candles and their robes while the moon rose majestically, owning all of the world's bald show and pretense and the members of the coven stood in awe, each bathed in a blood-red hue. For this we worship and do what we do.

When the moon began to change, Fey almost ruined the mood by running to get her camera, while Susan tried to take pictures with her iPhone.

O, for pete's sake, said Toni, when the flash went off. Put that thing away. It's koyanniskaatsi!

Davidka, head sorceress, got everyone into a circle and had them Om the moon, Om being the universal sound of harmony. Nobody wants a coven of bitchy witches.

Down by Lincoln Park the Man from Minot was taking a walk back from the Old Same Place Bar when he encountered Pimenta Strife dressed in a robe and they paused together to observe the lunar changes. At one point Pimenta dropped her robe, revealing that she was naked underneath. The Man from Minot had to say afterwards that what resulted was one of the best nights of his life.

Senor Erizo was observing the moon, as was his wont, when his den mate emerged to also watch the events unfold.

"Alors! La lune est rouge et tres belle ce soir!", she said.

"Sí, ella es hermosa," said the Don.

As was their habit, Don Guadalupe Erizo spoke in his native Spanish and Madame Herisson spoke in French. The wise man knows, these creatures understand all the languages of the world, but seldom speak to humans for fear of being misunderstood. And of course the wise man also knows that men and women always seem to speak entirely different languages at one another.

"Elle doit être grande pour être un Philosophe et contempler la beauté du monde." (It must be grand to be a philosopher and contemplate the beauty of the world.) she said.

"Miro la luna y las estrellas", he said. (I look at the moon and the stars).

"C'est merveilleux tout de même. Tu regarderas, la nuit, les étoiles.." (It is wonderful all the same. To observe the night, the stars)

"No es nada especial. Todas las personas tienen las estrellas", the Don said simply. (It is nothing special. Everyone has the stars.)

"Les gens ont des étoiles qui ne sont pas les mêmes." She said. (All people have the stars, but it's not the same for everyone.) Then she continued, "Pour les uns, qui voyagent, les étoiles sont des guides. Pour d’autres elles ne sont rien que de petites lumières. Pour d’autres qui sont savants elles sont des problèmes. Pour la businessman elles étaient de l’or. Mais toutes ces étoiles-là elles se taisent. Toi, tu ont des étoiles comme personne n’en...".

"Ah, Ah , mon cher , mon bien-aimé," said the Don, quite out of character. "Je crois que tu est le Philosophe ici." (I believe you are the philosopher here.)

"Ah!" (O!) and she blushed as much as any self-possessed hedgehog can. Then she snuggled up to the Don, who permitted this rare affection, because this blood moon was a rare event indeed.

Marlene awoke as the moon's radiance limned her window, Andre slumbering deep beside her. She stroked his forehead, knowing the pain he had gone through with his abusive father and his drug-addled mother. Marlene suffered from insomnia -- indeed from what she had suffered herself, she sometimes feared to slide back into the repetitious world of nightmares -- and so she watched the lunar changes begin. As the moon hung full and swollen at the main stage of the eclipse, she whispered, "Will we ever be happy again?" And then the moon glided quietly through the hours back again to its bright, shining face. Then, the girl lay back down and slept without dreams, or if she dreamed, she was possessed by dreams of walking through meadows thronging with hummingbirds.

Over at Mr. Howitzer's, the landowner threw a moon party, but everyone got so drunk on the gin rickeys tossed up by Dodd that they all fell fast asleep, including Mr. Howitzer, who snored loudly in his reclining easy chair, leaving Dodd to pick up trash and clean the place of upchuck before driving home to see the moon turn blood red through his car windows down by the Strand. He pulled over and watched the whole thing, standing and leaning against his battered 1977 Volvo, feeling the Bay breeze waft over the shallows and tousle the hair he had left to him. He got back into his car, saying to the moon, "Well done. Quite right," and then drove home to the missus and his warm bed.

Musicians -- and artists in general -- keep different hours than the rest of humanity, so that is why Denby puttered around, up and about, doing the odd chore while dressed in his underwear and wearing his newsboy cap so as to govern his unruly head of hair. He was cleaning the tub when a splash got on him which made him take off the undershorts.

The bathroom faced southeast and so when the moon began to change, a strange color filled the window. Denby turned off the light to see it was much brighter outside, so he stepped out of the bathroom and out onto the third floor landing to observe the moon going through something interesting. He heard a click behind him and discovered that the door had closed and locked behind him and so there he was on the third floor above the street. Figuring he might be able to scoot along at this hour the second floor and then up the stairs undetected to his apartment, which he was sure he had left unlocked, he descended to find the second floor fire-escape also closed and locked. It was never closed and locked, especially during the recent heat wave. Someone always propped it open with a brick, but there the brick lay, somnolent and innocent on the landing right in front of the locked door.

O yes, there had been burglaries in the neighborhood recently. Hot prowls resulting in terrible things being done to elderly people. So someone had closed and locked the door and there Denby stood, stark naked save for flip-flops and a hat.

He heard a sound coming down the alley -- It was Linda Wooten, an RN coming off shift from Highland Hospital, returning home.

"Uh, ma'am excuse me, but uh . . .".

The girl started in fear and looked up.

"Um do you have like a bobby pin? I am locked out."

The girl looked down and then looked back up again at Denby, who was holding the footmat in front of him. Then she looked down again. It was a small footmat.

"Well, um, I have a lab coat and some paperclips," said Linda. "I think the lab coat would be a good idea."

She balled up the coat and threw it up as high as she could. It opened and fluttered down to the first landing, so Denby descended with many apologies, carrying the footmat. He retrieved the coat and the paperclips with many thanks.

"No problem," said Linda. "By the way, nice hat."

Denby thanked her again.

"You can keep the coat." Linda said. And she walked on down the alley, her heels clacking upon the stones.

Denby found someone had placed a key under the first floor landing footmat, which got him in and he hung the lab coat by the door, wondering how on earth in what manner would he ever be able to return it. And the thought of doing that caused a physical reaction in him that made him glad it had not happened out there on the landing. . . .

And so the night passed quietly into morning, drifting on a sea of peace and wonder and no one got shot and no one got stabbed.

Then came the ululation of the throughpassing train from far across the water as it trundled from the gantries of the Port of Oaktown with their sentry lights along First Street, letting its cry keen across the waves of the estuary, the riprap embankments, the grasses of the Buena Vista flats and the open spaces of the former Beltline, through the cracked brick of the former Cannery with its leaf-scattered loading dock, its ghost-haunted, weedy railbed, its chainlink fence interstices until the locomotive click-clacked past the shuttered doors of the Jack London Waterfront, headed off out of shadows on the edge of town past the old Ohlone shellmounds under the gaze of the Supermoon to parts unknown.