“The Waiting Room” by Pat Wallace

The Waiting Room

by Pat Wallace

i shall miss
this warm room
i have lain fetus-like
to the liquid sound
of human voices

survivor among stranded
strewn seaweed
drifting with tide of talk
treading currents of conversation

harbored refugees tell tales
murmur  memories

tunnel to light     opens
and i squirm through

“The Waiting Room,” by The Waiting Room originally published in City Scriptum ([Forum] 1990, City College of San Francisco).

“San Francisco” by Orlando N. Bonilla

San Francisco

by Orlando N. Bonilla

A golden coin
Is hanging from your roof.
Rolling automobiles
Scratch the air of your belly,
While the tip-toeing buildings
Gaze toward the sky,
And two long fingers
Stretch across the bay.
Flames of people emerge
From the semaphores,
Biting the ground
With each step.
At night,
Your neon signs
And window lights
Crazily break the darkness,
And the whispering wind
Blows your face.
Your nightclubs,
Dressed in gaiety,
Adorn themselves
With naked thighs
And almost bare torsos,
While in the docks,
The lazy ships
Sing their fog song.

“San Francisco,” by Orlando N. Bonilla originally published in Forum (1959, City College of San Francisco).

Green Grownup Munch Yellow Fever I Suppose

by Ron Gluckman

The smell of left-over sunday corner nickel and dime wino lingered luxioursly between the aisles of a “hire a vet” ads and visions of Kentucky Fried souther handouts as the 12:02 stage roared its safely smelly arrival in a dazzle of vandalized green welcoming me to someone’s efficiency at the corner of supposed to be Powell and Market.

I survey the never knew Columbus new world opening little old ladies into shopping bag tight sweater legs. I search through the no good factory plated homebodies to find the really casually cool how are you.

Bleeding black mats grey in the touch of faded denim feet. Windows churn the landscapes into motion picture light shows for the Senior citizenized Sunday riders. Lured by the blaring silent radio sign I pass domesticated chinatown cheshire tourist and find-luckless lover seated beside my fantasy.

Without thought I carefully fold transfer in my most seductive K Ingleside stud finger hopeful searching I don’t care window seat strut.

She looks nervously past the Grodins other room double-knit marchers, the swirling seagull shit, the freckled soon to be thinks and heavys; the parade of faceless feet. She is hooked.

I am not ready to let her have me. I think I appear certain debating delinquency please take one muni foldouts with the caress of transfer punches I slink into the behind seat in a sexy second-hand Eddie Street manner.

She is —hoping, praying, pleasing. Will I? Will I will i she cannot move or breathe or blow it. Please, please the back of her head stares seductively at my pools of manly ivory suds.

I say nothing. Yet. Two teenagers fight over the roach remains of last past Saturday. A dry cleaned bum sips his morning Ripple. Naturally they don’t care.

In the back of a small colored boy harmonica holds playing into the tonk tonk tonk of bart future baying as he sucks away the grass smell boredom silence of the 12:02 stage.

I clear my throat.

Seconds before won over by my almost charisma, Julia (her name perhaps) rushes off into the Van Ness I can’t take it anymore farewell traffic horizon. Soon she is just a sea of Volkswagons.

I smile at the bus fumes dying plants; at the uptown sex ads; at the businessman sucking municipal fantasy into supposing low income socio-economic crime conditioning. I smile at the salty taste of my own smile.

Across the aisle I look out the mirror window back at myself. I pretend not to notice old shopping bags rustling wrinkled ladies–pretending, pretending. My tie is on straight and my lips are pursed just like the jade east commercial recommended.

I look into my eyes. Ocean beaches roll sand, waving, waving. Pidgeon seagulls salvage statue sentences from the Union Street flea market. I am back in myself at Castro Street. I am together. Besides, she really wasn’t that pretty anyway.

“Green Grownup Munch Yellow Fever I Suppose,” by Ron Gluckman originally published in Mild Perversions ([Forum] 1974, City College of San Francisco).

“are bones and red blood, dressed in flesh, to hold a soul.” (Janis Krug)

Under All the Layers

by Janis Krug

A city’s finest peacocks flocked and strutted,
dressed to celebrate the opening of the opera,
but perhaps this rosy, roughed extravaganza
was the opening of a vague Pandora’s box.
All were scintillating with complacent smiles,
the ladies ruffled, most in black or white silk satin,
and festooned with diamonds cut from the heart of Africa,
like bright teeth drooled from ears or cuffing hands.
There were necklaces, one worth five 3-bedroom houses,
hung like phosphorescent millstones at their throats.
Each dame paid thousands to flounce their gown among the flock.
“Let Them Eat Cake” was what a write-up called this gala.
And I bristle, angered with such foolish wealth,
though I know that underneath their fancy clothes
are bones and red blood, dressed in flesh, to hold a soul.

People wearing all they own upon their backs
life one city block away from the Opera House.
Some weary down to sleep on hard, green slats
and an emptiness they fall through on a bench.
A cold night sky without a bulb becomes a leaky roof,
while traffic, pierced with sirens, chugs a lullaby.
they breathe exhaust fumes through no windows with no glass, no walls,
and too many moons, too bright on poles, shine in their eyes.
Some of those sleeping have not tasted yet today
the simple pleasure of a starchy piece of bread,
and may dream tonight about a tasty sweet
or the fabled cake that baked a revolution.
And I cringe with pain, but can hardly meet their eyes,
though I know that underneath their tattered clothes
are bones and red blood, dressed in flesh, to hold a soul.

“Under All the Layers,” by Janis Krug originally published in City Scriptum ([Forum] 1989, City College of San Francisco).

“I was left alone as it had to be” (Kevin Reilly)


by Kevin Reilly

When I finally got tired of being tired
And of that too
I gathered together my courage
And while walking with a wise man his wisdom grew
Together we walked as far as he and his understanding
Could go
I was left alone as it had to be
My heart pounded while I clutched my memory
Feeling its security
Knowing it was felt by me
And being glad that’s who I was
I boldly lifted my mistreated head
Then rushing with joy and fully aware, I said,

“I love you.”

“Birth,” by Kevin Reilly originally published in acrophobia ([Forum] 1971, City College of San Francisco).