I remember San Francisco sadly as the place I go
to be in San Francisco. The supposed left ventricle of America’s heart,
breathing and pulsing out art, money, and Silicon Valley,
from older molds we knew.
I lived in California
for 9 years. The state bird
I saw on a homeless man’s jacket. The state flower
was supposedly innovative, growing in
the fecal matter and trash
left behind in the criss cross of streets.
A Californian can describe her state
with adjectives that are synonyms of positive words that
she’s never had the cause to actually use in conversation ,
but in truth
the city and the state
are little more than their name.
When I go back to San Fransisco I drive from Sacramento.
there along the road are fields, aching and empty, so life
goes field, field, field, homeless camp field,
I wave at the stark land and
ignore the whimpers it makes
as I pass.
Then San Fransisco goes skyscraper, skyscraper, skyscraper,
goodbye homeless camp, goodbye drought,
but you never forget,
how to lie when
you’re from California.
After Bob Hicok’s ‘A Primer’
I am taing a high school creative writing course for gifted ninth and tenth graders this summer. As a part of the course, we are having the students do a lot of exercises. In order to both encourage them and to encourage myself to keep writing, I am doing these exercises as well. We’re getting a lot of them from The Practice of Creative Writing: A Guide For Students by Heather Sellers. Check it out here if you’re interested!