San Francisco

The scent of bread,
crabs rolling over boiling in great vats:
the roaring hordes of tourists;
great heaps of wanton flowers
in a riotous profusion of green;
the quiet couples snuggling at the stop
amidst the clattering of the cars, careless of gender;
the strutting street walkers
and stumbling street sleepers;
sweet stench of garbage rotting
in the streets in the morning sun--
the roaring Dionysian glory of The City.

This once was my geography of soul
in another place and time,
a dozen languorous summers in New Orleans.
Decatur Street our own North Beach:
mystical, poetical and drunken,
we lived as we read and gladly
would have died of it.

Worn out, we scattered
like shattered mercury
away from a ruin of dreams.

Now I live in a hard and icy land,
treasure a warm fire
like a Neolithic hunter.
A comfortable bourgeois,
my old dreams tucked away
in collapsing bookcases,
scraps of paper, old photos.

The City stirs old worlds within me.
The almost forgotten gods murmur in their sleep,
wash perfect sea dollars onto the shore,
place mystic stones among the bonsai,
stir familiar forms in rolling fog:
lures for the unwary wanderer.

I lash myself to the mast, and listen.

No comments: