The Tenderloin, San Francisco

It smells like coffee grounds,

to keep us awake, 

and I'll spend half an hour’s wage,

to drink it and wait.

But my apartment is too cold,

and my mattress has bugs,

and I'm stressed about money

because you don’t make ends meet

and I'm reminded 

to be thankful

because I have a space that’s mine

and like bridge trolls

my front door

is loitered by 

popped balloons,

that are somebodies, too.


It smells like dirty person,

and I know what it is,

and the street's always wet,

are the cleaning or

is it just garbage and waste.

If I don't plug my nose

then I might get a taste.

There are kids on the corner

and I ask yourself how

or where or what should

they be doing, right now.

There are needles and beer cans

and clothes on the street.

No one is violent

but they'll aggress me to speak

about 'hey, where you going'

or something inarticulate.


I think:
I don't belong here,

I'm bigger than this.

I'm smarter, ambitious,

don't need drugs to find bliss.

How did I get here,

If I work all the time.

Why is is the city so hard to make mine?

Who hasn't heard that the rent's too damn high,

but really

is there a logical reason why?


This city I loved-

yes I hoped and I prayed.

When I tried to jump in,

the rent wasn’t paid.

I was hit where most tender,

And sore in my loin.

Golden gates aren’t mine,

They’re seven miles away.

It's an unhealthy partner,

a something I need,

San Francisco and these people,

and the fight against greed.








This poem is about: 
My community
Our world


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