The Self

1 “Keep quiet and be considered clear-headed,” I tell myself, but do I mean it? Suddenly, I must sit on the fire escape, no matter how inconvenient. 2 Through the escape cage’s cracked white paint in sun and shade, I see clearly Geary Street stretch out under blue sky a canyon of cornices cages windows signs wires. 3 It might not matter what we think. Squat people walk into their tall shadows below me while I squint into the relevant distance into which all things become an appearance.

28 September 1981, San Francisco