North? Beach.

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. 

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