Reunited in the Fourth House
By Gary Singh
After leaving the BART station, I visit my Berkeley astrologer at her spooky wooden house near Rose and Milvia, where paint-peeled steps take me to a porch milieu of hanging plants, ancient wicker sectionals, and apathetic cats. Soon enough, the door opens, revealing those same clear eyes of a clairvoyant nature I remember from morning Tarot readings at Baker Beach in San Francisco while Ella and Satchmo’s “Cheek to Cheek” played from the portable radio. She wore nothing but a teal fishnet shawl. That was our college era, her astrology practice just beginning while she finished a degree at the California School of Herbal Studies and I regularly took BART in from the suburbs because I was too scared to move out of my mom’s apartment. Now, as we navigate a moody set of stairs to an even moodier boudoir filled with old tarot decks, dim lamps, fabrics, and natal charts, I realize she owns this house while I still rent a dumpy suburban studio in a complex where tweakers break into the laundry room once a week. She reminds me it has something to do with the South Node in my tenth house of Libra. Due to accomplishments in past lives, my current professional situation comes very easily to me, so I’ve fallen into a comfort zone, she says. I’m treadmilling, she says. Can’t make a decision to change or evolve. That’s why nothing new happened to me in 2019. Nothing. And since I have Chiron in the fourth house I continue to struggle with rootlessness, childhood trauma and the perpetual state of perpetuating that comes along with being a poet in the same town I grew up in, a place I can’t seem to escape. As a kid, I tried to run away from home yet never found the courage to complete the task, which is why nowadays I travel whenever possible but can’t decide to leave town for good. Should I stay or should I go? Should I leave or should I stay? “Did you know Bob Dylan ran away from home seven times as a kid?” — she says to me. “There’s still hope,” she adds while reaching into the closet for a teal fishnet shawl.
Gary Singh’s byline has appeared over 1400 times in various consumer and trade publications, including newspaper columns, travel essays, art and music criticism, profiles, business journalism, lifestyle articles, poetry, and short fiction. He is the author of The San Jose Earthquakes: A Seismic Soccer Legacy (2015, The History Press) and was recently a Steinbeck Fellow in Creative Writing at San Jose State University.
© Gary Singh
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