I Must Leave This City Before I Leave My Own Heart.


The torso lifts, elongating its web of fascia as the pumping piston of the legs intensify, the oscillation of the pelvis and the graceful leap.

I maintain circular breathing, a smooth exhale that mirrors the intake of air as I sail over the obstacle with finesse; perfect.

My mind was as untroubled as the lapis sky above me, framing a gleaming disc that shone in burnished opposition to the full moon in Leo which would illuminate the night.

I was slick with sweat, a glistening specimen of grace and power and utter, abhorrent callousness.

Serenely I flicked across the city towards the park, no trouble furrowed my briny brow.

It wasn’t until I had circled the park and sauntered along the ocean that I was struck with my own coldness, even as the icy surf lapped my loping legs.

I was horrified with myself, hot tendrils of shame seethed along veins lacing my neck, I looked around reflexively, absurdly, miles away from my haughty solipsism.

No one on the beach, lolling about with their dogs, running or wandering along the shore had witnessed the atrocity: the way I leapt over a collapsed drug addict, a broken-down, indigent man, as if he was a pile of refuse on the street.

The way I arched over his body and my only thought was one of being pleased with my smooth exhale, perhaps, even more horrifyingly, glad that I was releasing breath and not taking any in.

Completely untouched in every way, even the breath in my lungs would be untainted by this human. This man, tawny hair obscuring his face, sprawled on the sidewalk among needles as I turned the corner, seen and surpassed in a fraction of an instant.

Seen by me as merely an obstacle to overcome with agility, marveling at my stealth with an icy vanity that belongs to no civilized person in a functional society.

But that’s just it, this city is not a society, it is a disemboweled metropolis with a bipolar schism in place of a gut, a terrifying binary that works with precision to separate those being devoured by the machinery and those somehow balancing aloft, above the gears.

Weaving above the gnashing as I was, prancing like a mad show pony with a glossy coat and glassy unseeing eyes.

Though perhaps unseeing eyes gives my twisted torquing over the figure too much leeway.

The truth is closer to my eyes not registering what they beheld, not receiving the humanity of the person I floated above, airborne over appendages splayed on the concrete.

This is not an unusual sight in San Francisco.

I don’t pretend that I act with any more benevolent concern when I see the sight normally; the fentanyl siege has decimated those considered fringe in the city — the addicted, the homeless and the waifs.

It has ground up that whole realm of society in its gnashing maw, its glinting synthetic fangs and lolling opiate tongue sliding languorously over that which it devours, anesthetizing them to their own demise.

The deaths from fentanyl have been roughly twice those of COVID-19 in the city.

A dark plague of despair and man-made destruction chews through the tenderloin, and some in that spewing froth are flung up the hill.

Like flotsam and jetsam spat from the fomenting bowels of San Francisco up the slope, as far up as Russian Hill where I live.

Cantering about as though I have a silk ribbon in my mane.

The full moon in Leo sits opposite the Aquarian sun — a sign of egalitarianism and concern for the welfare of the many, not the individual.

The awareness of the individual is the field of consciousness symbolized by Leo, in polar opposition.

How blithely I had traipsed over the focus of this solar energy in my leonine leaping: a fanatical flaming feline.

Margaret Mead was quoted as saying that the first sign of a civilization is a healed femur.

This is because it would take the care of others for someone to survive such an injury, to feed and shelter and hydrate the body of that member of the community.

That regard for another human life cultivated in a group indicated its civilized status.

Broken thighs and blind eyes were consuming my mind as I walked back in the twilight, I’m ashamed to say I avoided the same route home.

The city is overwhelmed, the problem is systemic, not individual.

Even centers designed to treat the issue are themselves drug dens, and are picked up by international media.

I have no answers to the problem in the macrocosm, but I know that as an individual I cannot remain much longer in a city where I see myself morphing into a dark, unfeeling creature.

The shadow of Leo: lack of feeling for others, being encased in an armor of impenetrable vanity and myopia.

I see this manifesting in me, the unevolved traits of my sun sign.

In reflexive defense or an innate pattern activated by stress, it doesn’t matter.

I am overwhelmed by the condition of the city, a place I once considered my home, which now feels like a dark labyrinth of cold, glittering and unfeeling towers that press the lives of others into the sinking soil.

A place where I delude myself into feeling connected with nature by prancing wildly through the increasingly gray streets to the manicured park by the ocean and running in the sun, pretending that I’m on some ancient Mediterranean isle.

I must leave San Francisco before I leave my own heart.  


Maren Zweifler enjoys teaching Yoga with a focus on free movement and intrinsic shapes, emphasizing spinal fluidity and innate, primal posture. Deeply inspired by movement systems that embrace nature like Sridaiva and Continuum Movement. He completed a 500-hour certification in SF and has taught both there and in Austin where he honed his skills teaching private classes tailored to the individual needs of his clients. He created a wellness/yoga program at a non-profit. These experiences allowed him to explore both the unique individuation of the physical experience in one-on-one sessions, and the commonalities of the human form that can be witnessed in large groups. You could connect with Maren on Instagram.


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