Orange Alley
The Mission
Tuesday, late afternoon


Some things I’ve had in San Francisco:

A Dream

Actually, I don’t remember the dream. But I remember exactly what happened right after it ended.

I sat up, turned to my girlfriend and said: “The thing to remember is that even though the fact that someone as inept as Gary Canter is needed for the system to grow, which is a failure, the fact that the system can continue to thrive despite absorbing someone as inept as Gary Canter is a success.”

She said: “What?”

I said: “I dunno. I guess that was the last part of my dream.”

She said: “That was weird. What was it about?”

I said: “Yeah. I dunno.”

She said: “Who is Gary Canter?”

I said: “I dunno.”

A Walk

Going home at around 3:25 AM Wednesday morning. As I walk out the door onto Capp Street a man on a bike tuning a boombox is the first to greet me. Possibly a full moon tonight? The clouds above me like argyle wallpaper. A beauty of a night, either way, between rainy days. Five men stand on the corner of 17th & Mission, doing various things. They stop as I walk through. They all glare at me in different ways. One is menacing, one is hesitant, one is annoyed, etc. The last and oldest of them stretches a belt out across my path. He seems to be thinking that if he doesn’t me hit me with it, he’ll just sell it to me.

“Nice belt,” I say.

I smirk at him. Eyebrows jumping, I decide to laugh about it later right now. He’s making his mind up without me anyway.

20 seconds later I’m alone under the deep sky, taking a long breath before it exhales again. On Sycamore Street my footsteps sound like gunshots. I am the violence in the night.

A Thought

Watching the neighborhood fill up with these familiar brands, getting so damn recognizable you don’t know where the hell you are.

A MUNI Ride In The Mid-Nineties

Get up before dawn. Put on David Bowie, Modern Love. Get dressed for high school. Walk from Dolores Park to Church Street station in the dark. Wait on the MUNI platform. Watch the MOceanView pull into the station. Check to make sure she’s sitting in that seat. The seat she’s always in. Get on, not taking your eyes off of her. Notice that she doesn’t turn to look at you. Even when you sit down next to her. Notice the smile that she can’t help releasing as you do. Go to school. Sneak into the back classrooms. Kiss until the bell rings.

An Unexpected Trip

Boy and girl have been together for 6 years.

Boy breaks up with girl over the telephone.

Girls is sad, drinks.

Girl lives on other side of bay.

Girl sleeps in my bed.


I spend some time at the 24 Horas Fiesta Wash & Dry.

A Feeling

The texture of the walls in Lilac Alley.

A Smell

The waxy smell all over the city on the cold nights.

A Sight

The crowd from Skylark mingling with the crowd from Esta Noche.

Another Walk

About 2 a.m. at 21st and Bartlett. Walking East on the South side. I pause to put alcohol in my body. Directly across the street a man walking West on the North side pauses to push alcohol out of his body. A bus passes. A blonde woman with her hood up and her head pressed up against the window, eyes closed, wishes she was home now. At least we hope she does.


Ariel is one of the four founders of The Secret Alley (

He also wrote and produced the short film, The Grind (

The rest of Ariel’s photo shoot can be seen here.


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