Friday, September 7, 2012

"with love, san francisco"

"with love, san francisco"
written after a bay area weekend by jake kilroy.

ah, san francisco,
you did it again,
when i fell asleep in your gut,
and so it came;
waves of freedom and hope
coasting along the breeze,
waiting, waiting, waiting,
which is always the best and the worst.

one nap in delores park to cull the heat,
brought into the throat
to cough up a sly grin
that once belonged to a cowgirl
who was feeling like a teenager
and gave it away instead of her heart,
telling her loner lover, "you can have enough heart,
but nobody alive can have themselves enough grins."

so the world turned,
sipping at its oceans and tucking away its forests,
waiting for cities to wreck and ruin;
all beloved temples to humanity,
tremendously overgrown with rot.
but the clean spaces,
the most sacred of places,
were built for wayward merchants
selling their souls for a piece of paradise,
guessing at joy in between meals
and sifting through trinkets during drinks,
always remembering
the sound of the romantic getaway car,
and what it was like to undress on the beach
that doesn't really exist anywhere else
but in the shores of a wondering dreamer.

it was in an airport
i called a friend
to tell him i was coming home
for nothing and everything,
gunning for the girl like a bandit of the west
who could be easily distracted.
but that was years ago,
and i've been in a saloon ever since.
every once in a while,
slumming the planks for a bed,
creaking steps that rattle bones
like the metal frames nobody has anymore,
i feel the strangle of my own neck,
admiring the muscles in it,
the ones that can vibrate and shake,
the ones that can speak truth and lie,
the ones that separate my head and my heart,
as no southern boy with a good drawl
wants to admit the futility in his veins;
he just wants to talk about smokes
and the gods he demands to bring down,
so he can ask them just what they had in mind
when they gave him the girl
and then gave him the chance to lose her.

sure, this is the longest wind-up toy a man could ask for,
but how else are wordsmiths supposed to spend eternities?

so it's just one shoulder shrug
one nod, one click of the tongue,
before all outlaw spirituals notice
the dusty shelves of knick-knacks,
kicked up true and put on display
to hide the glorious holes of the wall;
waiting for the piano to play downstairs
so a grown man can dream like a boy.

so many metaphors, so many mistakes,
so many repeat words and overused phrases,
so little done with the empathy here.

i curved my hands around
the bottle, the cigarette, the girl,
and i told another yarn in a place that doesn't matter.
but this was the time i saw the world for what it was,
hoping to see sails in the harbor
with the freedom to abandon it.

but it was san francisco that gave me heat.
it was the city in full view that rumbled my heart.
all i could do was sing to myself and sleep,
and all of the pale rivers that coursed through me
painted a picture more honest than any words of mine.
so came the smoke, and so came the gods,
and all i was able to do was thank and beg,
for even a gunslinger makes his way to the church,
if only to bury his heart or dig up another.
so came the laugh, so came the hearty fire,
a fully loaded weapon of unholy mirth,
spent against the wind of a cackling sunset,
with more cliches and more words she wanted,
all while ale poured out of the bullet holes,
letting the land drink up the spilt blood of rye.
so came the love, and so came the escape,
whistling a tune unrecognized by most,
when the clouds part and nothing is asked,
and all of the world settles into itself for a nap.

1 comment:

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