It Is No Party: Poems of San Francisco

As always Franklin is hopping
With suffering and insanity,
A downtown San Franciscan 
Dirty hippy kind of mundanity.
The cross streets scattered
With cardboard and bags:
Bags of shit
Bags that are empty
Or those sometime-lucky
Bags that have been dropped
In the rain but remain intact
With white powder or tan,
But who would risk it?
Someone who is not me
Not now my life is not
In the bag
Under the overpass or
Bleeding out in fractions
Of light and life and hope.
No.
I'm dangling by another
More fragile rope. 

A man drags himself along 
The sidewalk on his backside
Pulling his legs along using 
His hands: he looks broken,
Like someone stole his wheelchair,
Or perhaps he had been beaten,
Or pulled along by the hair.
He is in trouble of various
Exotic and mundane kinds
His pants are shredded
Newspapers on his feet
I can't bring myself to meet 
His eyes, I can't offer any help,
And the fact I feel useless
Matters not at all at all at all
Not when he is on the floor
And my back is against the wall. 

What matters is that life is 
Getting lived down, not up;
And the parties that everyone
Thinks are happening, are not.
And the fun that everyone believes
To be occurring is not
So much fun at all.
This is the long walk
Down the very short haul. 
Not tomorrows nor today's
Parties or expectations,
It is not hedonism:
It is existentialism.
It it the logical conclusion
To conservatism
That some have everything
And some have nothing
That some get the cream
And others the greasy slop;
That some get the boost
While others the chop. 

Franklin is always hopping
With insanity and suffering
And if you look closely
You'll see a woman with tears
In her eyes and a Velvet 
Underground teeshirt who 
Is wearing an average disguise. 

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