Sunday, March 02, 2008

San francisco thrice

Let me say in your defense
my first stay was a wondrous whirlwind
Haight Ashbury showered in April
whitewashed gingerbread cupolas and breakfast
overlooking a gated green park’s panhandle
first and only miniskirt (from magnificent Macy’s)
while I still had the legs for it
Top of the Mark one night, Chinatown the next
sixteen, white eyelet outside and in
when I mistakenly believed Sandburg’s fog
came on little cat feet through Golden Gates
before I even knew who Jack Kerouac was.

Thirteen years later but barely wiser
you were my last stop on a road trip
to revisit reminiscences of misty gray Bay bliss
instead, July’s blistering heat burned less
than waking to find bags, clothes, shoes
strewn across a motel parking lot
wallet and checkbook gone, all gone
numbed, violated, exposed
barely enough brass in pocket
for gas to get home
I confess my relief at seeing you
in my rear view mirror.

I’ve heard third time’s the charm
and eager to forgive, I flew to interview
five years more gone, you teased me again
lulled me with soft sunlight of gentle January
almost made me think I could stay
at a dream job in my dream town
only to turn fragile hope upside down
by meager means of a supposed salary
smarter now, I closed a motel door behind me
returned rental car, checked baggage
I’ll not be back, for
I’ll not be Frisco’s fool again.


Rethabile said...

Wow, nice reading. It brought San Francisco before my eyes (only been there once).

Christine said...

Loved the reading! You are a confident, fluent reader, and you really brought the poem to life! I read the piece first, and enjoyed the story, the images, the flow, yet when I heard you read, I was drawn in even more. Wonderful!

Becca & Joel said...

K - so want to teach me how to get you tube videos on my blog? It seems as though everyone else on planet Earth has figured it out, but I'm having difficulty getting just ONE clip - it adds every other clip made by the same person for some reason. Help me, oh wise one!

Linda Jacobs said...

So enjoyable to read it and listen to your voice! I love all the concrete images. Just excellent!

paisley said...

i live here.. just an hour north.. and i can tell you there is very little magic left in that city... this was wonderfully done...

Clare said...

Hi Chicklegirl! Powerful poem -- I love this (and I love San Francisco!). You did an awesome job with the visuals and feelings through the ups and downs of your experiences there. I awarded you with the "I Can Go For That!" award -- see my March 2 post for details.

anthonynorth said...

Never been to San Francisco, but I got the feeling I had from that.
Excellent piece.

Emily said...

Fantastic writing.
I know what you mean.

Crafty Green Poet said...

This is excellent, i really enjoyed it, specially your nod to Sandburg's fog (now that's a lovely little poem too!)

chicklegirl said...

Rethabile, Christine, Linda--thanks; I used to do a lot of interpretive reading, but I feel a bit rusty, so I hope I'm getting it back.

Becca--glad you got it worked out!

Paisley--interesting what you say about no magic left. I so wanted there to be, but I'm afraid you're right. Maybe someday I'll try to visit again, with no expectations at all. Perhaps it was having expectations (after such a wonderful first visit) that made my last two visits so heartbreaking. Sigh.

Clare--thanks for your kind comments and the award (as a child of the 80s, I love the H&O picture!) I keep meaning to post it, but I'm still trying to figure out who I'm going to give it to...

Anthony--I hope if you ever visit SF, you have a better time than I did. Just remember to move all your bags to the trunk of your car, or take them to your room. Which is actually a good idea where ever you go.

Emily--it's so nice to hear from you! I'm glad you visited my blog, and hope you, Jim and the kids are all well in SLC!

Crafty--oh, Sandburg is a longtime fave of mine; I did a school report on him when I was a kid, and got totally hooked. I think it started out because I was going through a phase where I was very curious about my own Scandinavian roots (Swedish on mom's side, Icelandic on my dad's), but then I fell in love with the way he used words and the stories he told.