(this version is unedited, a straight through writing, I will edit later…)
I have always been different. But I didn’t know everyone felt that way, which makes none of us really alone…
A Ballad to HWY 101
I have always loved to dream big dreams and tell stories and be wild.
I lived in the ghetto on Happy Lane in Boyes Hot Springs when I was 5.
I have always been creative, when I was six, my mother made me a costume for Halloween,
I was fire, and I won the prize in Bennet Valley. The other girl’s thought I was weird.
I have been the only one of my kind in a San Francisco Ghetto school. (color)
I have been the only one of my kind in Tiburon in a rich kid’s school. (class)
(I had to go back to the city as I just could not fit in with the white kids)
I have been the “fat girl” according to “mean girls” in Novato. That is when I learned what mean was.
My education of mean girls continues to this day. I am not one of them no matter what this ballad says.
When I was in 6th grade I broke a boy’s arm with a baseball bat when he pinched my friend’s butt
too many times, this was on the baseball field in Boonville. (We were too young for that)
When I was in Jr. High I stopped being Preppy and moved on to the Dead Kennedys.
One day a boy who used to be my boyfriend stepped on my school lunch.
I punched him and got suspended. My mom said GOOD, a few days off, as we left
for the principles office in a radiant huff in Anderson Valley.
I stole a pair of black Jesus sandles from a girl who slept with my highschool boyfriend in a house
behind Coddingtown in Santa Rosa.
I had a little dog once, living on Main Streeet on Hwy 101 in Boonville.
I was given my first cowgirl hat there at that house, from the Italian logger’s son on whom I had a crush.
My hat was orange felt, a Stetson, and came in it’s own box.
I never lived in Cloverdale though I have eaten many an softy icecream there with my mom as we drove
from Hwy 128 to Hwy 101 and back to Hwy 1.
I have broken my word and had my heart broken Alameda. I am still recovering, some days, from that.
I have been at the top of my game playing volleyball in Potter Valley.
I have had my braids pulled while on roller skates in bad neighborhoods in Santa Rosa on Rockwell Court.
I bought paint brushes and jade beads in China Town and rattlesnake vertebrae to string on leather from the Castro town.
I have cut my hair, cut my arms and cut school and pretended to be cool. I was a punk rocker, I thought.
But the others assured me I was not for real, a fluffy, too nice to “rock” like them. I was an anarchist at Encinal in Alameda.
I stayed out all night, in high white boots, long red finger nails and red lipstick with drug crazed girlfriends at Raves in SOMA.
I have dined with pimps at Fisherman’s Wharf, eating Shrimp Louie and pretending I knew who I was. And I did after all.
I have sat on Market street with homeless women talking about justice in the middle of the night.
I lived alone on Nob Hill, learning to draw, choosing all the wrong lovers but enjoying beer in the sun,
sitting on the dock of the Bay and loving being alive, breathing the sea air.
I have worked corporate jobs selling corporate stocks and making enough money for the dentist and nice shoes.
I had a lover once, a Portuguese who took my picture, was married though seperated, and he taught me to believe
I was the most wonderful girl in the world. And I have never forgotten how I looked in his eyes. Thank you.
I have taken acid with the good girls pretending to be bad girls in Walnut Creek, I learned to risk.
I have befriend the popular girls, and learned to pass just in time to move again.
I negotiated with skinheads when I was too young to know better – always wanting to walk the edge.
Now I know what edges to walk, and which ones to avoid.
I have been on the big boats of big men who love younger women.
And enjoyed their good food when I didn’t have enough to feed myself and those I was responsible for feeding.
Once again, luck or God was on my side and I ran up a tab I never had to pay on that boat, and on his Union square bar.
I was stalked on Stockton Street for a few days by an old boyfriend and when I stopped walking in fear,
and waited for him to catch up, the spell was broken. I have been lucky. And played too hard too close.
I did hard drugs too, and listen to hard music with not so hard characters who watched my back for me
when I wandered too far one way or another. Conversation was always at the core of all our fun.
I have played pool in Petaluma with piano players and learned tricks of the trade from both my uncles.
I have made friends and lost them and regretted any of those losses like a wound that won’t heal.
(If any of you ever read this, I love you. All three of you are dark skinned, dark headed, often dark spirited and so beautiful,
and were motherless to early. We let me mother you and then you left home and I cried)
I have meditated in Mendocino, and slept on the beach with my bear. I have prayed on those cliffs all my life.
I even sprinkled my grandfather’s ashes off those cliffs. The other Grandfather was set free on the River in Oregon.
Old men of the sea.
I have eaten oysters at Stinson, prayed at Fort Ross and walked along the beach,
and I did hear the mermaids singing each to each.
I have held thrown pottery in Philo and raised hell there too.
I have seen marriages broken before my eyes in Navarro.
I walked seven miles one day, passing through Caspar holding hands with a first love.
I have had my braids pulled while on roller skates in bad neighborhoods in Santa Rosa
I have attended school in Kentfield, and was born there at Marin General.
I lived in Woodacre at the house my grandfather build and I learned from my Grandmother
about kinds of love and faith I have never seen anywhere else, since.
I lived part time with my Grandmother and learned to sew and make fried chicken from my Grandmother .
I got married on the River at Wellspring. He made my bouquet with pink roses and river grass
and one giant magnolia and some wild fern. He sang to me on bended knee.
I have run naked in the hills of Yorkville. With him singing beside me.
I have owned galleries on Sutter Street, Union Street and Sonoma Plaza
I lived in a hippy shangi-la in Caspar and smoked a few on the back porch with friends.
I rode a horse called Cloud through the woods and onto the beach on my 1th Anniversary.
I have made fortunes and lost them all across three states. And I am making one now too.
I have planted nasturtiums along low walls on Princess Street in Sausalito
I have kissed the cutest girls in North Beach dancing to the Bachelors
I have loved God as hard as I could in a gospel church somewhere far away
I have worshipped the God who loves everyone at Glide Church on Taylor and Ellis
I have preached one sermon about the Love of Jesus in Oakland on Harrison Street
I reclaimed my virginity at age 22 in the creek, a three time baptism at 4 am
assisted by my big sister cousin, the red headed mermaid
I have danced all night with my big sister, the blonde headed cinnamon cowgirl
I have learned how to think from my mother in over three counties:
Sonoma, Mendocino, San Francisco.
I held women’s circles at the Priestess Temple in Berkeley and raised up the
art of unknown painters sharing their soul and body.
I have seen the miracle of two children delivered in Mac Arthur Blvd in Oakland,
my best friend’s sons, delivered free of drugs and shining into her shining arms
I have seen the bottom of my own barrel and in short, I was afraid
(“I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker, and in short, I was afraid” T.S. Eliot
I have marched through the street of Healdsburg with my drum
I have taught Bible study to women who only loved the Goddess
I have taught the Feminine Wisdom texts to women who only loved the Bible
I have made and sold and made and sold, millions of dollars of artwork
I have opened and closed and moved on from 7 galleries
and a band of wild women and girls all the way to Electric Rose
I sang a song in front of hundreds one time, and I cried
I have made wrong moves and recovered hundreds of times
I taught painting to scholars in and PHD’s in Palo Alto
I learned to see from my mentor while milking goats
I have eaten from the gardens of famous women
and eaten from the buffet of wealthy men
I have danced to “We are family” with the Lesbians in the Castro
and sung to Dancing Queen with the drag queens on Market Street
I have prayed with Catholics, got dunked with the Mormons and took
Jesus as my Saviour at the Assembly of God on Hwy 128
while my friend sung in the chior
When I was a girl – I knew my littlest sister was the cutest thing in the world
I have said promises along the Russian River. Wetting my words with water.
I have kissed my lover on top of the world.
I slept with him in the back of my red pick up on our honeymoon
and the next day, sanddollars covered Ocean beach.
Since all that, and so much more
I have had a really good time.
I have made books and had conversations about
things that thrill me to the bone
I met the Virgin Mary on a big big hill in San Franciso
and she has never left my side and all my little altars
call her name. Finally I knew God was not alone in His work.
I have a relationship with something/someone I call Mother Wisdom
but what that means changes all the time
I have admired my male cousins and brothers, all hunters and kind men
every one of them..rugged and many, and sweet with love
I have learned that my Father is a medicine man and a sage
I have realized that what is important changes
all along Hwy 128 and Hwy 101
I have leared that compassion is the key to joy
I have learned that I am with God all the time
I have learned that making beauty, is my job
I have learned that money does not make my world go around
but it sure helps fuel the engine of the merry go round
I have learned that LOVE is the key to every single thing
and that art is my mission on earth
I have learned, there is always more think about –
and always more that I can learn and share and learn and share
I lost a child once in Fort Bragg, and I haven’t found her again yet.
I have learned never to believe the odds and never give up. Never.
I have yearned for justice like a fire in my soul,
crying for all of us, a burning desire to bring healing to the world,
that won’t leave me alone.
I have learned, that I love to teach more than words
I love champagne. And cake and dancing.
And since I have learned that Birthdays are for Celebrating
our lives, I shall celebrate and wear my gown and my cowgirl
boots and dancing the night away with the women of my heart
in Healdsburg, California.