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Bernal Litterati [sic]

Wednesday, March 02, 2022
5:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Event Type:
David Giesen
Location Details:
outdoor amphitheater at the corner of Cortland and Moultrie
near the Bernal Branch library
500 Cortland Avenue
San Francisco

San Francisco authors read from their work. That means you, too.
San Francisco located stories given preference.
Mic-less open-mic.

Loose-leaf authors
words in
the wind sha
of a library

Remember Charlie Varon's
"Ralph Nader is Missing"?
(In such constructions the question mark goes outside
The quotation marks to make the meaning plain.)

Where's MLK got off to?
BLM doesn't invoke him.
Nor the King Center, down at Stanford.
My God, only the No-vaxxers inveigh,
With non-violent resistant practice their hero.

And the point, my Droogies,
Is NATO throws Mig 29s from Poland,
And we cheer tossing Molotov cocktails
From behind our Youtube screens
Just a pious season since MLK went missing.

The question mark of our actions stands
Outside our actions, my friends.
It's way past time to find

Here's a recent work read:

Between the heat and Greta Thunberg lies the whole of America,
Still romancing road trips
Sky trips
Cheap stuff from Amazon
And a mythos that if only you had the expanse of a continent
You'd be as righteous and grand and pious and independent
As George Washington, who raped black women to supply his
Substitute for fossil fuels

And another:

Jack Hirschman

Jack the magnificent translator,
The charge d'affaire of North Beach plump words to the world,
Drank his Stalinovich vodka with a bobbing scoop of ice cream,
Then took to the air waves with a little murmur,
Trailing Italian and Spanish rime into the brisk begotten vaporous sky above Coit Tower.

I hosted him once,
He and four others;
Paid them car fare to Bernal.

And now?
His slushy pronunshiation
Won't fit into a single poem or eulogy,
But comes spilling out the alleys and cracked windows
Of the little town smelling of focaccia if you wake early enough.
Aye, North Beach.
Aye, aye, Jack Hirschman.
You've escaped the neighborhood and gone on tour.

And one more:

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

The neat, sweet, and big as life stenciled stick-on film
Adheres to windows beautifully:

Yet when I wonder out loud,
"Enough to end the private ownership of the Earth?"
The shushing begins.

I guess if you peel that lettering on film off your window
There's no need to feel like a dog in heat,
Humping everybody's morality trousers

And you can go back to backing Trump
By default as he collects the ground rent
at 500 California Street.

No, no, really; just one more:


You, know, even in San Francisco
Where the fog clogs the valleys
And cars gum up the streets,
There are plenty of vacancies
Obscuring the view that we could have.

The Ohlone landscape you can fantasize
Of scrub and sand and rock
Only needs the natives--all of 'em:
Everybody sporting a Giants cap or jersey--
To embrace the free market pricing
"We are on indigenous land" belly-ache-ers
And righteous do-gooders abhor,
Apply it to land as though Occupy San Francisco
Meant the land was ours,
And demand the titled landowners
Fork the location rent over.
That's what it means to eat the rich on their own tines.
That, kiddies, would obliterate land speculation
And give open space scrub and sand and rock
A kick in the Ramaytush.

and how 'bout one for this week?


Give me Columbus Day sans the Indians,
Sans the free-loaders, sans the socialists,
Sans the bison, sans the snail darter,
Sans the carrier pigeon, sans Bears Ears,
Sans the whole of the Americas.

Give me Columbus Day with
Only the Atlantic, grey and vast,
Or blue and green and vast,
With impossibly beautiful blond highlights at
Start and end of day,
Luring the dauntless voyager
To China and India
And nothing, absolutely nothing in between.

And from a short while ago:

Pore over and pour out the poor.
Another study, please!
Grab some data off the "net."
Convene a panel.
Conceive a syllabus:
List a course . . . Poverty 302, meets
In McClellan Hall, Room 407,Thursday afternoons.

Or, in a fit of pique at the dawdle:
Tax the rich,
Eat the rich,
Build houses, buildings,
Skyscrapers to the stars
Filled with running water and
Microwavable food, plus organic

But whatever
whatever you do,
Don't simply earnestly behave like the soil out of which they were formed was every bit theirs as yours.

From this past weekend:

Sabbath in San Francisco
(At Civic Center upon seeing the city's homeless village adjacent the Main Library, and then viewing a City Hall steps rally by Sudanese in favor of restoration of civilian government in Sudan)

On the other side of Jordan
Lies the promised land--
Jehovah said so--

For the Sudanese lost boys,
For Aunt Midge,
For the vets
Of wars and the streets
Of CRT denial
Of the puny property tax on land.

On the other side of Van Ness
Lies the opera house and Herbst Auditorium
Where the UN was born

For the healing of the nations,
For the deconstruction of colonialism
For the slow travail of one earth, one people.

On the other side of your life
Lies your body, aching for return, with the
Words of Natalie Merchant and Phil Ochs in mind:

"Which side are you on?"
"I guess I'll have to do it while I'm here."


The barber's in;
Buildings--even the hills!--have lost their tops
In fog, mist, and settled clouds


Chuck that, Chuck

There's the sonnet sonatina,
Fine in form branding high culture,
Analogous, I say, to the pomp
Of academia and place
Held in esteem by voter's choice,
Selected for a blue-ribbon
Committee studying the faults
Of you and me--hapless it seems--
To give to them what it takes for
The poor to ride the bus for free
With dignity, without crashing
The fare gate. I prefer a snort
And a simple communism
Of the land rent, thank you kindly.


What good's a smoke without fire?
The Prince of Dumplings steps to the corner,
Sucks a hint just a shake from the door,
Checks his pants and shirt for a match, a Bic,
Hell! a flint he could strike on the sign pole,
Fumbles, despairs, steps back inside,
Then exits with the whole crew
Who share a flame and nothing worse, really,
Than the 5G radiation the clientele walk in with.

Looking south, the big blue tank stands high atop McLaren Park,
Perched like a fat minaret or a medieval watchtower
Calling to submission or standing standing guard,
Silhouetted by near evening's burning haze;
And th city, with nothing worse than a few car break-ins and a racist epithet
Steps back inside for pork buns and sweet bean paste,
Waiting, very patiently, for a spark.


Block by block,
Street by street,
Man by man,
Woman by woman:
All over here,
Y'all over there.

Only the universe
Escape velocity
Unites us, as on a
Plantation, overseer
And field hand
Under the sheen of heaven,
Manning the gun 'against God's
Reckoning E.T. return.

Y'all won't make The Man pay
For his forty acres year after year,
So he cuts you ten, keeps his thirty,
And slinks back to his bougie ghetto campus, writing
The ten off as charity,
While Y'all, high on the low rent filched from
Pocket-bled collards and millennials,
Stew in the ant hive they built for you.


Near 20th and Alabama
There’s supposed to be a live performance art program,
But once I arrive, the word is it’s virtual…
And Eventbrite won’t recognize my password,
And though the program’s free,
An hour’s gone;
My life an hour shorter,
An hour nearer being virtual;
That’s why I write, record an iPod, paint the walls so
Something’s there when I’m not.

In the parklet a kind colleague of Camilla treats her to a goodbye tea and bagel
As she departs curating employees at a graphic arts outfit;
Meanwhile, twelve disciples of the food bank pass,
Pushing laundry carts full of pintos and arroz,

So what’s going on?
Who’s growing almuerzo? What’s unseen that’s real that lunch goes on?
That out of the earth tendrils, blooms, and harvest?

The solace, then, is
When I’m gone—and you too—
We’ll be back, on a plate,
Out of the earth,
Real, real time, with every bite.
Added to the calendar on Wed, Mar 2, 2022 6:54AM
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