Anthem for the better person I’ll become.
Tonight, I introduced myself to three random people and gave them my zine. One of them was at a taqueria on Mission at midnight, two of them were at a slam in Berkeley, all of them kind.
The pink velvet stool in the salon window
assigned to you by virtue of your affection
went missing this evening.
I walked up Sutter from Stockton
and down my sleepy avenue — 4 miles —
in search of happiness or answers.
Finding neither but feeling foolish, persistent
I passed by the window…
We shared an after-dinner mint, and if
we only shared it—so that I took half
and you placed underneath your tongue’s moist lift
the other—and we sat there, muted, stiff
and sated in the kind of pleasure that’s a pleasure
because it’s sticky and simple, then to
say I shared a dinner mint with you
would wrap up the whole experience together
quite nicely. What that would miss, though,
is how the plastic crinkled, how the crumbs
stuck to the callus on your thumb became
the crumbs my tongue’s tip sizzled with. And, no,
we didn’t kiss, or even move our palms
so they touched, but left, and quietly walked home.
Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.
On Father’s Day, I left work early
to ride a bullet train to the south.
I rode past towns I’d never been
and still haven’t. I read stories
by Dylan Thomas and I napped.
In San Jose, I got out and walked around
as does a tourist in a foreign country.
Then I beat a prompt retreat, as does an
accidental stranger at a family reunion.
San Francisco is large and lonely —
a cold hulking mess of isolation.
The only meaning in life is to live
shortly, then to move far away.
Salinger returned with a palsy
and a wont for sitting alone
with Green Apple’s free books.
Spied nightly tucked into a donut
shop corner, Salinger reads — mouth
agape against his will, hunched
over the night’s printed finds,
hair whiter than his portrait,
pallid, unappealing, yet tall,