A San Francisco Mythology

 

O bottle!

Plastic bottle

o bottle

plastic whisky bottle

we’re in Fresno

pay attention

we’re in Fresno

a burnt shrub stands in a parking lot

like the skeleton of some primeval bird

in Orange County

I used to know someone fair, bottle

(she had orange ribbons in her hair)

Los Angeles

a journey to the end of the night

Celine’s bright midnight

Barstow, the edge of

the desert

the drugs have begun

to

(take hold). . .

San Fran

                  cisco

blues

      one

          two

            (a one two)

                        three. . .

 

Wandering

in San Francisco

following the light

along the buildings

of North Beach

City Lights

Kerouac alley

old ancient sad-eyed-wise-eyed sages of the promenade

with faces like brown paper bags

bhikkus and bodhisattvas of ancient San Fran

eyes of woeful bone

“prowling in the wilderness to hear the voice crying

in the wilderness, to find the ecstasy of the stars, to find

the dark mysterious secret of the origin of faceless wonderless

crapulous civilization. . .”

Kerouac with a bottle of whisky

weeping to the Void in the gardens of Paradise

old Ferlinghetti Rexroth and Ginsberg

kneeling and drinking, reading and reeling

soft night

(bright midnight)

strung out, best minds of their—

meanwhile Burroughs

searching, ever vigilant

the slums of Mexicali Mexico and Tangiers

for the next fix

& hopping a plane to the

warm soft malleable underbelly

of San Fran. . .

 

Westward was the time

that came naturally

to Steinbeck and Ford and Dos Passos. . .

 

And the hills stretch on

a landscape of the body

butts breasts and thighs

gold and glistening

contours of wheat,

trees billowing

planted in pools of shadow,

and the days run away like wild horses

over the hills,

and the sky

blue as sky

in (Van Gogh’s) Arles. . .

 

Sitting at a table outside a cafe

in North Beach near City Lights

Kerouac Alley Rexroth street

smoking a cigarette and drinking

a Bloody Mary. It is cool here

in the summer and the seaside breeze

blows diligent and it is

difficult to smoke cigarettes,

they go out, just like that,

or they burn

like

Thomas Wolfe and Saroyan and

William Blake and Whitman

even Henry Miller once burned

in the air

thoughts

garlands

and flowers. . .

 

      “Where are we going, Walt Whitman? The doors close in an hour.”

 

O bottle

plastic bottle

green bottle

in the depths

blue depths

green depths

subterranean depths

of the Greyhound toilet. . .

O bottle

remnant of some poor writer

long gone

(but not forgotten). . .

Bottle,

you and me,

pal,

you and me. . .

 

“The west is the best.

Get here. . .

we’ll do the rest.”

 

This is the impression

lost

out the window.

 

Hills stretch on and on and on

diminshing

the steep incline

of the sky.

And:

 

“I’ve grown two months older. . .

there’s all that humanity

of bars and burlesque shows. . .

gritty love,

all upsidedown in the void God bless them, but. . .

you and me

forever we know. . .

 

O

ever youthful,

O ever

weeping.”

 

 

 

Appeared in Wild Poets: ‘best of’ (Seattle)



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