Jackhammer beating the dust out of the sidewalk. Thin sun struggling to breech the skyline. Clear air gives up the ghost: Nothing is good for anything any more, Impermanent steps, the crumbling fingers Of saints on cathedral top ledges crack down on the Treasures that sit in broken café chairs Offering temporary respite from the day's various indignities. Who can be offended over Trieste coffee cups And heavy cream apologies filled with Old Country sweetness? Each new generation is beat up by the old: Claims of deterioration, panic over organizing unionization Artistic variations on deprivation, various Useless improvisations on a theme accusations levelled Nothing is as it seems: we are all dying before The birthing is even completed; depleted units of suffering unbound defeated. A rain-soaked queen-sized mattress, wrung-out, homeless Props up waterlogged flotsam bones jettisoned by mother ships Thrown out of safe harbor, sanded down in rat-run docks By hands that work by the daily unpromised hour on slow-running foreman's clocks. They drained their washed-up luck in street-shell-games And poured out pills and powders on their abandoned ignored aches and pains. North? you asked as I demurred with my feet dug Into Californian sand, Beach, I responded with your heart in a locket and my fingers Spread over your hands: there really is no place else In all the clam chowder, hill-climbing, streetcar riding world I want to be. Besides, my Alcatraz dreams and addiction to the way The sun beams through my east-facing window will not allow any wandering to break the surface.