Saturday, February 10, 2007

California Gothic

It's a nice quiet rainy weekend in San Francisco -- well, at least, for me. I've been very involved with the class I'm teaching at SF State in the TPW program. It takes almost all of my time and energy. In between, I try to keep up with po biz -- submitting, applying, and so forth.

We got a lot done today, a lot of little things, like putting up paintings in my office. And, of course we spent quality time with Greta la pooch. We cleaned, we got groceries. What? You want something more exciting here? You want poetry?

Here's an old poem, an old, old poem. How old? It was written when I lived at my first San Francisco address (a totally cool address: 789 Tenth Avenue). We moved from there in 1982. The poem was in my Master's thesis. But it was written on a rainy day, like this.

California Gothic

More rain comes down on streets already slick --
    purple liquids  iridescent greens
ooze, effulgent
    scum, jewels -- cool, radiant, evil ...

Two doors away, medics remove a small white parcel,
    the elderly lady who lived there
who, bird-boned, beak-nosed
    neither spoke or smiled
but only, over and over
    swept her piece of sidewalk.

Sick or dead? you ask, as I enter.
    I don't know, I tell you.
I want to forget her, now that I'm next to
   your dry, warm skin
but the palm fronds sway,
    retreat and beckon --
shadow of a hand trying to get in.

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