Monday, December 28, 2009

1604 Annex was a pretty rough place

Charles Kemp
1604 Annex was a large, densely packed apartment complex with dark wandery corridors with lots of corners and a number of hidey-holes under stairwells and whatnot. Most of the apartments were one bedroom with 3-6 people living in them. The gangsters hung out mostly at the two back entrances, but there was always a good-eye in front and back. I knew a lot of people who lived there, including a Guatemalan woman. She was friendly and nice and we’d talk now and again. One day she invited me to her apartment, which, like so many other apartments in the neighborhood was sparse. The only thing in the living room was a pretty funky old couch and I was sitting there and she brought me a coke or something and sat down right next to me – as in sitting against me. We were talking and I realized she was working as a prostitute and was offering me sex. I don’t remember exactly what I said – something like, “You’re really pretty and I dig you, but I can’t do this (I do remember sounding pretty lame to myself). But I guess she was okay with it because we moved apart some and talked and I finished my drink and left. We were friendly after that, and not even very awkward.
Photos from la clinica - above: He walked for three days and nights in the Sonoran Desert; at right: child with H1N1 and asthma

I think we all want to sing our song and have it heard. We want to be and be seen as we are. As we are: unarmored, clean, strong, hopeful, beautiful…

When you find out who you are,
Beautiful, beyond your dreams.

After years of no serious baking, I've started baking bread again. Coarse, crusty old loaves of whole wheat goodness. Last week I baked 4 loaves of whole wheat bread - just what they used to have (maybe still do) at the SF Zen Center. Whole wheat, water, honey, oil, yeast, a little salt. Kitchen warm, kneading and kneading the dough, the fragrance of yeasty rising dough, and then the aroma of baking bread, then the bread - with way too much butter ... It's fun to make pies, cookies, etc., and it's something more to bake bread.

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