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Indybay Feature

Bernal Litterati [sic]

Wednesday, March 23, 2022
5:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Event Type:
David Giesen
Location Details:
amphitheater, corner of Cortland and Moultrie
(outside the Bernal Heights Branch library)
500 Cortland Avenue

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

I've got an electric bi-i-eek
I've got an electric bi-eek
Sometimes I don't switch it on
It's still easy to ride;
I listen closely to the talk I cruise by
Most everyone has something
Somewhere they're going
Then I pass by Driscoll's mortuary;
The nomads in tents face the statutory
Propane camp tanks feeding Fentanyl to the masses
Russian oil splattered roadkill debris;
I hit every red light when I ride this street
But still only hear half the stories
I'm still too fast for the others;
Listen now, sisters and brothers
I ride an electric bi-i-eek
I ride an electric bi-eek

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, our 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


When I rang handbells a thousand years ago
–Doggone long ago, my friend,--
I lived in a village
Above a bay,
Upon a bluff,
Below a cemetery with an epitaph,
“Gone, but not forgotten.”
And everywhere, trees:
Madrone, tan bark oak, and redwood
From sea to ridge for ever and ever.

The village?
Just a stop between Point Arena and Gualala,
Between Sandy and “River coming down place.”
On summer nights fifty cabin lights
Of salmon fishermen anchored this side of Fish Rock
With no bell buoy marking the danger,
Only the seals barking all night in random sets
Like waves roaring ashore . . .
Heard in the small hours when I turned
Shoulder to shoulder,
The klaxon bark of seals.
In winter, rain unending, and wind
Knocking down boughs
To be gathered in summer
To be burned in autumn, ashes wafting
Into a drizzling sky
No shortage of rain then.

The highlight–once a fortnight–
The bookmobile the county sent around.
I read all of Dostoyevsky, Andre Bialy, Turgenev, and Pasternak;
And the plays of Imamu Amiri Baraka;
All, variously, the spoils of souls iced by wretched thoughts
In tumultuous times . . . like the then present when
Khomeni succeeded the Shah
And 52 Americans held hostage in Tehran
And my college housemates, Iranian.
All that, my nearest memories before moving to Mendocino . . .
And, how would you know? the first edition of
Make America Great Again,
Ronald Reagan.

But over a summer, and then a year
When I dropped out of school,
The silence of the forest and vastness of the sea
Swallowed everything but books and handbells
Once a week handbells! There’s a tale!

I rang handbells with the man whose father
Designed the school that 90 years later
Was the original campus of GISSV Berkeley!
Way up on a hill, like the hill I lived on 35 years before in Anchor Bay!
Handbells rung with the motion of waves
Or boughs lowing in the summer airs

Yes, the silence of the forest overpowered
All I had known,
When down in a dell or gulch
On the slope above the sea,
Or far enough away I
Could no longer hear the salt spray
Eroding the continent.
A thousand years of redwood cambium
Cushioned the cacophony of motorized life
Until that noise faded away into the rampant starlight or
Into the needle duff beneath my feet.
A thousand years gone but not forgotten
Of everything not motorized,
For even when cut,
The arc of past years rang,
Revealed in the butt ends of massive redwood timber
Used to form the Point Arena wharf:
A thousand years of rain and drought in rings
With not a single ache or jubilation left out.
Added to the calendar on Tue, Mar 22, 2022 2:35PM
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