I dreamt long last night of San Francisco,
As I have done on so many nights since
I left my heart there twenty years ago,
I trust these verses will you too convince.
I stood upon summer brown Bernal Hill,
Watching the golden city laid before me
Like a lover spread ‘cross a crumpled bed,
In no sweeter place would I rather be.
Standing astride the stunning Sunset steps
As Karl the Fog weaves his cool, wondrous spell,
Slicing Sutro Tower in half before,
In a heartbeat, it returns and all’s well.
Hanging for dear life from the cable car
I crest the hill on Hyde at dawn of day,
Siren song from all the foghorns moaning
As we hurtle down to the glistening bay.
Eating popovers by Pacific shore
Among the tourists and locals well dressed,
Humming to O Sole Mio on a Saturday
While wrestling a ristretto at Trieste.
Hailing Emperor Norton and his doting flock,
As they follow him on the Barbary Coast,
Waiting two hours in Mama’s breakfast line
For bacon, eggs benedict and French toast.
Hunting for tie-dye tees in Hippie Haight,
Paying homage to Harvey on Castro Street,
Reading a whole novel on the F Streetcar
As it clanks and clatters to a Market beat.
Drinking a cool, tall glass of Anchor Steam
With ghosts of Ginsberg, Neal and Kerouac,
In North Beach’s celebrated beat retreat
With Joyce’s peering portrait at my back.
Gorging on Gilroy's garlic fries at the yard
As gulls circle above to claim what’s left,
Pablo slams a mighty walk off splash hit
To leave downhearted Dodgers fans bereft.
Sharing tales of shows at the Fillmore West
In Martha’s line for coffee and muffin,
The Blackpool boat tram glides past and waves
To Lovejoy's ladies taking tea and tiffin.
The scent of jasmine on our Noe porch,
Sea lions honking on the wharfside pier,
Sourdough crust with Coppola chardonnay,
And that bracelet of bridges held so dear.
These and other images engulf my mind -
Painted houses, murals and gleaming bay,
Neighbourhoods full of music, food and fun -
I mourn the undue advent of the day.
By Tony Quarrington