Transmogrified

Barbara Golden

I was playing at a dance class for kids at a rec center in East Oakland. It was somewhere on Avenue A near a bakery. Suddenly, it sounded like rocks on the roof: the piano slid away. The kids started running out the door. Seven-point-something earthquake.

 

piano earthquake 1989

Driving home to Berkeley on the 880, the radio saying “Cypress Freeway is down, get off the freeway, the Bay Bridge is down.”  Around High Street, I go to drink with my mechanic Marvin, a tumblerful of Bushmills straight. My house, on Walnut Street in North Berkeley, is unscathed. From my roof I see San Francisco burning. Write music now, ’cause you’re gonna die! Before the quake I swam a mile, I kept singing M’s song, “Young Man Transmogrified.” It is gypsyish, romantic. I always think: “Would W. like it?”

“Outward over matter, he moves guileless, like a deer.”

Did not sleep at home. Too afraid. Went to Toyoji’s in Oakland– on his street, in the headlights, I saw a huge rat. All T’s bookshelves were down and there was glass everywhere. We had a lot of red wine and slept with our toes touching.

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