Saturday, July 21, 2018

Fifteen Minutes in San Francisco

A few years back I had one of many eye-opening experiences on San Francisco's public transportation routes. 

Rather than convey the story through dry, grammatically-correct prose, I chose a freewrite voice better suited to the lively, elastic vibe of those fifteen minutes. Here it is.  

When I reached the bus stop Saturday night a young Spandex-clad woman rambled full tilt into her phone and a really good listener's ear

A bus rolled up I went to the middle of the last row where I could see everything

The guy in front of me to the left played rap music through his phone for all to hear

The guy in front of me to the right bopped his head along just barely to the beat and

Directly in front of Head Bopper was Full Tilt, still yammering away about a friend whose parents were pushing her through school but she wasn't studying enough because she didn't really want to be in school and

A stop, a cat got on, sat next to Rap Boy, fist-bumped him

Stop after that a middle-aged woman got on with a bunch of bags but

She rode just a few blocks and at one stop as the driver was about to close the back door and move along she suddenly yelled, "Wait! I have lots of stuff to carry. Wait!" And so

The driver waited she got off Head Bopper grinned at the drama, started bobbing his head again to the music

Bus pulled up to Van Ness and Market the guy directly in front of me fist-bumped Rap Boy got up to leave and loudly sucked mucus up into his throat without breaking stride and

Did it one more time as he waited for the green light above the back door to come on

Head Bopper grinned again (the shit you see...)

I got off at the next stop, said to Head Bopper, "Endless entertainment on MUNI"

He smiled broadly, said yes

I came down into the long Civic Center BART tunnel two brothers were playing smooth jazz

keyboards and sax over a drum track

I gave 'em a dollar the saxman said thank you I said, "No. Thank y
ou" and

When I looked ahead I saw a homeless man near the add fare machines dancing in a winding drunk belly dancer style to the jazzmen

He saw me see him as I passed and smiled big and full of teeth except the one in the front which was missing

I smiled back and gave him a thumb's up

Through the turnstile,

Downstairs on the subway platform I ran into a soft-spoken bearded dude from my old meet-up group who wrote verse in a little black leatherbound book, if memory serves,

I said hey, don't I know you?

He said

Are you still going to the group?

And so on...

I broke away when the train came

The doors closed behind,

Sealing me in. 

                                                     San Francisco on Truth and Beauty:

eye-catching architecture, and miscellaneous city scenes 
in a stroll from the Mission to South of Market to downtown

"Crystal Blue Persuasion" is a walking photo tour of San Francisco from the Bay to the Ocean (and a golden sunset) on a pristine sunny day just before Xmas

 "On a clear day you can see forever" explores Noe Valley, Ashbury Heights, 
the Inner Sunset district, microclimates, and street art on a pristine September day 

"A Sunny* Monday in San Francisco" is a day tour of the city, 
from Mission Street to the Pacific Ocean

"Random San Francisco" has 46 photos which range from 
ornate architecture to vistas to murals to sidewalk messaging

"Waiting for the Sun" is an essay about riding the bus in San Francisco

"San Francisco sunset, 12/23/14"

"A noirish door mural in the Mission District"