April 8, 2003

Late for the poetry
reading, I balk at                      BOLTHOLES
the crowd overflowing
on to the stairs, and
instead just wander
the aisles.                       At "City Lights".  Call me
                                  a name dropper, I don't care.
Nothing tips me over the
edge -- I keep my sales
resistance up, even for
that pamphlet in defense          (But who am I fooling?  I'm
of Sartre.                        going back for it.  Might as
                                  well get it over with tonight.)

A late touch of sunset in                    LAST_DITCH
the sky sends me climbing
up Telegraph Hill.

      I detour up an alley I'd
      never noticed before. It's
      a staircase climb, then a
      turn to the right. At the
      turn is a strange court:
      car ports under a
      building, open on the
      left, with a wooden
      balcony that overlooks the
      hills of North Beach.

                             San Francisco's
                             geography defies

I ran up two blocks of 45 degree incline,
and then up some even steeper stairs:
the long straight climb along the south face.

                            At the top I find new
                            staircases built into
  My thigh muscles          the back of Telegraph
  go blank, it gets         hill, formalizing a
  hard to keep from         shortcut to the crest.
  huffing loudly and
  distracting the                  And even I
  tourists.                        will not gripe
                                   at this
     Who are already               improvement.
     eyeing me
     surreptitiously:                          Erosion's a real threat
     long hair, black                          on a heavily trafficked
     leather jacket,                           hill, and I've seen
     black combat pants.                       worse constructions than
                                               these rough bordered
                                               stone/concrete steps.

                                               Each step is emblazoned with
                                               the name of a contributor...
                                               desperate to be known for how
                                               desperate they are to be known.

The sky is clear, the dark strata
haze down low and far out to sea.
                                     (For once.)
Just a few thin streaks of red
slash the sky behind the bridge.

A streak of cirrus rides high
in the sky, another horizontal         Even worse:
parallel in this composition of        the geography
parallels.                             of the sky.

The distant buildings have all
gone a dark blue gray, yellow
lit windows just beginning to
outshine them.

People snap photos
of each other
against the ocean.

   I plan a photoshoot of
   my own: clad in black,       The City Seal on the
   climbing around the rim      side of the trash bin is
   of Coit Tower.               turned to the wall, but
                                otherwise (because of
                                this?) has been left

Then I'm off, scrambling           No graffiti, mud, or
down the staircases in             signs of fading.
search of Italian food.

           Running down the steep streets,
           I plunge through a burst of rose
           smell from a garden wall, and
           think "All these moments will be
           lost --"

           Too bad that's been sampled so often.

I scrounge about, determined to find Ravioli for less
than $10, and only beat that by five cents.