The epigraph was used with permission of Stella Kerouac. Really. It’s good to get permission and not just take.
“because here we were dealing with the
pit and prune juice of poor beat life itself
in the god awful streets of man.”
In my heart, I have come back to
San Francisco, which sprang up
on the edge like a condemned man’s
last meal, where patience and action
are futile. I have come to kneel
where only prayer is valid.
In the Steinhart Aquarium, my brother
longed to swim in the cool peace.
In a dream I saw him on the BART,
plunge beneath the bay, searching
for water. But he rose up,
finding Oakland. He stepped
from the train, saying “we are
like men who have lost their legs.”
In a dream I saw him walking
south on Mission Street, turning
into an alley and a dark pawnshop.
Like poor Raskolnikov, the price
was just too high. The fog
lingered about the hills, anointing
the housetops, hanging from street lights.
Then Jesus rose up through the steam
in the street, parting the traffic,
leveling light on everything.
Dragging the curtain torn in two.
An army of angels marched
down from Bolinas,
swinging the broken chains.