Rousted at Civic Center – Thomas A. E. Hesketh

Rousted at Civic Center
As leaves from fallen lives
Delivered from their thought trees
Gracing the morning moist sidewalks of despair
Between the monuments of culture:
Civic Center’s Main Library
And the Asian Art Museum, alike solemn
Bastions of the tax base

Encamped against the barrier wall
Itself holding stacks of books in and the populace out
Under the protection of Pioneer monuments
Celebrating the conquest of California
Dominated by the Goddess of Victory
And her tamed verdigris, bronze, golden bear
Each with their gaze fixed on the City Hall Dome
In the style of conquerors as only statuary can stare
With a grey pigeon perched on the Goddess’ head
White deposits crusted beneath, accreted, accenting her crown

This the moment, humanely half-seven
When the homeless are roused
Rousted from overnight nests of cardboard and disaster blankets
Raked up by officers wearing baby blue plastic gloves
As a barrier against the contagion of unmanageable lives
Lest our finest be fouled gathering what is left behind on sidewalk,
Stain makers’ leavings, untidy evidence of eking out an existence

As some mothers’ children – many parents themselves – now haggard
Windblown, sundried, eyes glazed to the squint of lost focus
Tumble without conviction to begin a new last day, another rung on a ladder,
Directionless, herded, heedless away, with tattooed emotions licking their pours for salt
As the unnamed, unwashed, unfed, unattended
Slowly disburse along unmarked paths to elsewhere
As they emerge in pairs or alone, with unleashed dogs, guided by scent more than sense
Or tethered themselves to the providence of a wheelchair, or rubber tipped walker
Zombie-shuffle to today, with the past trailing like a wheel across the plains
Ruts cut too deep to close the flesh of the earth, too deep to leave an open mind

As they flow slowly into the community, preachers find corners
To preach the unspoken word to absent audiences
Philosophers serve notice by soliloquy unnoticed by the absent crowds
Indifferent seagulls peck at stirred refuse in competition with the spilt crack harvesters
Workers hose down the sidewalk encampment to still the odor of homelessness
Urine San Francisco someone laughs without glee or commitment
You’re a species of feces another flings a retort
And toothless mouths laugh, glancing sideways
Even numbness has feelings so the paranoid used to say.

Thomas A. E. Hesketh
Born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on a cusp, in the last half of the last century of the last Millenium. I once saw a meteor explode in the heart of Orion. Otherwise, what has happened to me has happened to other persons, too; so it seems.

Loving Couple
Tigran Demurjian
Concrete Crucifixion
Tigran Demurjian

Tigran Demurjian
I’m an aspiring photographer born and raised in San Francisco. I find myself compelled to document the expansive change our City is going through. In the blink of an eye things disappear, and most are worth remembering. My work can be found here

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