Airport Music On the Way to San Francisco


Between flights, between rows, between seats. Between states. I’m heading to San Francisco from North Carolina. I have no flowers in my hair. I have stuffed pieces of myself in my luggage; a Filipino piece, a black piece, an Irish piece to be crammed in the overhead luggage compartment before skipping over, under–in between–time zones. The airport is a dance. It is a quirky dance of aeronautic suspended animation. In walking the corridors you observe fellow travelers; they have arrived, are ready to embark or occupy an area of waiting–a sort of “time-out” state where one can catch one’s breath or wind of what one has missed. Going back to San Francisco after 4 years living in North Carolina. The pieces of me I carry in my luggage–the Filipino piece, the black piece, the Irish piece–all move about, looking to come together, to reconcile, to become what I know as Frisco. Going back to San Francisco–Frisco–going back to myself–going back to what? In the airport you have no home, you are in a place of uncertainty–will my flight arrive? Did I lose my boarding pass?

The things that identify you are taken from you by people in uniforms. You are patted down. Shoes, belt, jacket come off. Your wallet and phone are deposited in a plastic bin to be scrutinized. You are no longer in control. In San Francisco, the things that identify you are taken as well–your home, your memories, your art; and sometimes your dignity and mind in the name of profit. San Francisco, a giant snake eating its own tail, shedding its own skin. Yet I return. The Frisco fog traveled 3 thousand miles to North Carolina to find me. It covered me in its damp coldness and said: Remember me?

Yes, I remember you shooting black and brown people in the street. I remember that the city forgot its people, forgot who it was. But in this area of suspended aeronautic animation, I remember the people, the poetry, the music, the fire of Frisco that made me a poet. I return to it–a visit–to the city that created me, for better or worse, skipping over time zones and heart stones in search of the beat of my Frisco heart 3000 miles away.

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