Volcano Pilgrim
Five months in Japan as a wandering poet

San Francisco

Mission Dolores Park has been taken over by the neighborhood’s newest hipsters, sprawled in the grass in their tight jeans and hoodies, with their bikes and their messenger bags. They are beautiful in the awkward way of kids who do not know how beautiful they are, they are telling the story of themselves to whoever will listen, sitting patiently through each other’s stories, waiting their turn. They seem so much younger than the kids you knew ten, twenty years ago, though it is only that you are older. You are leaving the world behind, or the world is leaving you, but the afternoon sun is warm and the sky clear and for once this seems right and fitting.

 

           In San Francisco

                      an afternoon without fog

                                 is a splendid thing

 

Later, at dinner, over the homemade pizza, the red wine and the white wine, you and your poet-companions swap your lists of Top Five Poets. The talk of poets is always obliquely about themselves—

 

           All of us sitting

                      around a table talking

                                 about the table

 

When your friend insists to you You’re like me, you like people, you know this to be is true, you do like people, you long for company and conversation. Only you wish that talking with them didn’t make you blink so much.

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