Market Street Blues

The men, they tap
their feet so fast
like a battery of bullets
against the boards
against the pavement
so the people clap
and give their dollars
and sense
to the woman
with her too big sweater
and pajama pants
and the tan
of a thousand summers.
She comes so close
to join the dance
for a moment
before she remembers
about not belonging anywhere
and the child asks, Mommy
did she ever have a mother?

City. Night.

Electric nightlights
ripple concrete rainwater
and a man lies tight

to the wall,
all huddle and tatter
and ankle crossed

sneakers protruding
from shrouds.  Ride up
into nighttime lifetimes,

past yourself
walking arm and arm
beneath the wistful

magnolia. They say
the streets of San Francisco
hold more lives

because of these hills,
even your tonight
body conducted

along forgotten wires,
and though you cannot
see the black water

that surrounds you,
you recognize
the days washing out

under the red bridge,
each weary breath,
each eager step

as you climb
higher and higher
into the city night.

turning

say they, the weather
is changing
to snow,

deep cold,
cloud to crystal
falling into

the sunrise that slips
further away
with each passing

night, past the geese
that fly
to far-off places, calling

and calling
before the silence,
but tonight

your breath is rising
and falling
and there is fire,

two candles burning,
the music
easy

and the hum
of living
nighttime.