Three weeks ago I wrote a series of poems about leaving the San Francisco Bay. A lot of the content of these poems has to do with how difficult it had become for me to live in a city. It was actually hard from the minute I arrived, but for a long time I thought I'd get accustomed to it, or that what so many other people appreciated about cities would become things I'd appreciate. And even though I did indeed enjoy access to good sushi, and big art galleries, and cities with very liberal agendas, mostly I just felt less and less at ease as time went along. These poems are about other things too.
Aerial-photograph-wise, the whole
Divesting hills of their water-runs-down-ness, their
Echoing capacity. Instead, un-
Furrowed, earth un-used except as back-
Ground for coffee shop and crosswalk and
Industrial space: cool glass-steel
Jammed with space, nothing but space, rentable space,
Kempt with a hint of rough.
Lo, this is why I'm leaving.
Mammalian, I seek a den or home, not this, not this; even
Nomadic, even un-pegged-down, not this.
Orion, guide me. Orpheus, guide me.
Protect me. I may
Quake but let me not waver.
Reckoned by the wish-plea-yawing hope to
Somehow be homed, knit, known
True, known human, better human:
Undivided or di-
Vided or visioned or divested of
Xtricate me, give ear to my
Zip me into your protection and spirit me away.
Slipping through the fence opening
under seagull call blessing,
the in/ex hale of waves--hale of moon reckoned,
this sea-Bay, my body,
another kind of blessing, the receptivity
of the water of me,
the non-independence, how I'm tossed and swayed,
sifted and churned, flooded and ebbed.
And now, here, soon, I'll say goodbye.
Step to the threshold. Slip through.
Desert land irrigated into a tropical
landscape they all believe in.
I can't. I never could.
It's all just one perpetual skid,
not even across the earth where I live,
but across the thin water membrane
on top. Except we're in a drought,
and we're running out of water.
I'm tired of trying to stand here.
I want my feet to touch the earth.
I want to stand where I stand,
sit where I sit, walk
where I walk. Wherever you go
there you are, true. But
also, where you go makes you who you are.
Who/where am I?
Who/where are you?
Not four different questions.
Thirty months in this Bay,
most of it flood tide.
Now I ebb. I'm still filled with you.
Just now in other scapes,
other coves, other harbors.