A trucker in a giant red rig

blows Strauss waltzes

down California Street.


A man with dulled black eyes

stares at me from a doorway

of cardboard and plastic—

I am the intruder.


A woman, rolled in a blanket

of faded orange, brown, and yellow,

makes a spitting noise

as I go past.


An old couple walk by slowly,

bodies just touching—he in a tweed

sports jacket and cherry-red vest,

she in black, smelling of lavender,

tottering, a little, on immaculate

twenty-year-old heels.


They are on a date in the city—

the city that smells of money

and garbage, of earthquakes

and exhaust, of urine and pigeons

and dreams.




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