Brandon Faloona, my soul mate from Seattle, visited San Francisco for 48 hours last weekend and slept on my couch. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The most rewarding moments were our quiet times alone, when we engaged in rich dialog. As I’ve said before, he’s the best listener I know. There are many understandable reasons why most people (or so it seems) are so reluctant to speak from the heart and interact openly and mutually. I’m constantly trying to better understand and accept those reasons. Nevertheless, it is refreshing when I experience greater authenticity.
The fact that Brandon possesses a high degree of emotional intelligence and is very astute in his observations of others’ behavior and social conditions helps to enrich our time together. In particular, I appreciated his forgiving me for some mistakes I made in what I wrote about his father, Gerry, in my autobiography. His comments helped me see my residual bitterness about a conflict with Gerry that led to some passages being too curt. If there is another edition, I’ll try to correct those mistakes.
Brandon’s visit has had a particular enduring impact. While he was here, he encouraged me to think more about my retirement plan. Jesus said, “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.” I lived my life according to that principle. Partly out of an ego-driven desire to be recognized as a great man, and partly out of a commitment to community service, I have not concentrated on making money. And whether from good karma or good luck, I fell into ownership of a taxi medallion, which provides me with some security. Brandon’s comments, however, have led me to realize that if I were disabled, that medallion would not provide me with enough income to make ends meet. So I’m researching retirement accounts. Indications are that I will have to drive taxi at least ten hours more each week than I had expected, which means I’ll have less time to write and travel. Hopefully, I’ll find time to write another book, my manifesto, which is tentatively titled Changing the System with Love and Power.
Otherwise, highlights of Brandon’s visit included visiting Allyne Park at Green and Gough where we used to play when we lived together and Brandon was three (see group photo of our household), walking by the six-bedroom, split-level apartment where we lived, hanging out in North Beach, hearing some great blues at The Saloon, and going around the corner to a new gallery, The Emerald Tablet, on Fresno Alley.
After we arrived, we learned that the gallery was hosting an 80th birthday party for the esteemed Beat poet, Diane di Prima. When I wished her a happy birthday and referred to a 1968 poetry reading with Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Thom Gunn, herself, and others that I co-organized, she said, “Oh yes. I remember that. It was the only time I ever read with Thom.” She then signed for me a copy of a poem that was distributed that day as a memento for her birthday. The poem reads:
The Phoenix is
as gold is
She heads for
like a grown child
leaves the warm ash
Later Brandon helped me produced a one-minute video of our time in North Beach, which I uploaded to YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?
And here are some photos I took: