Wednesday, July 18, 2012

SanFran PanHand Sort Of Sonnet

The sort of dodgy blogs and ezines I like to publish in seem to be dropping like convictions in the midst of a political campaign (despite my scruffy preferences, I definitely have to start writing for a better class of publications.  This kind of stuff doesn't happen to New Yorker writers). The latest casualty is Xploited, which was a fun zine out of San Francisco.  Its publisher, Kathleen, used to run issues devoted to a single theme such as public restrooms (the article about the odd coin-operated portapotties in SF was my fav).  I wrote a poem for the homeless issue called "SanFran PanHand Sort Of Sonnet".  That issue never came out in print, but Kathleen put together a webzine.  Now it appears that's gone too.  She also apparently found my poem impossible to top since she refused any subsequent poetry submissions (that's my story, and I'm sticking to it).  Anyway, here's what I wrote about the poem in 2009, with the poem following:

"Last year I visited San Francisco for the first time. I liked the city but was stunned by the number of homeless people on the streets. I've never seen so many people begging and sleeping on the street, and I've been to many cities and seen this sad situation before; I've just never seen it on such a scale. The experience sparked a poem, 'SanFran PanHand Sort-Of-Sonnet,' which San Francisco zine Xploited has published in their new issue (#3 for those keeping track on their scorecards out there), which has a homeless theme. You can find the poem here."

From my hotel on Geary I turned right
Intent on exploring a new city
And the Tenderloin was a sight to see
Gangs of homeless people by day and night

Bottles in brown paperbags on the street
Dirty bodies, worn clothes, a sniff of piss
Some slept, some leaned, and some gave off a hiss
Digging through the trash for a tasty treat

On to downtown, at least one on each block
One had a guitar, another a cat
Hands out, spare change, a sign, a line of scat
Some were missing a leg, others a sock

Though the hills of San Francisco are steep
And climbing them made me ache gasping breath
In Cleveland the homeless can freeze to death
So if I crap out, to SanFran I'll creep

Though to be homeless anyplace is crime
PanHand overwhelmed I spared not a dime

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