The name Philip Schultz is new to me, but that’s one of the joys of Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac. Today we were treated to Schultz’s poem called “San Francisco Remembered.”
In summer the polleny light bounces off the white buildings
& you can see their spines & nerves & where the joints knot.
You’ve never seen such polleny light. The whole city shining
& the women wearing dresses so thin you could see their wing-tipped hips
& their tall silvery legs alone can knock your eye out.
But this isn’t about women. It’s about the city of blue waters
& fog so thick it wraps round your legs & leaves glistening trails
along the dark winding streets. Once I followed such a trail
& wound up beside this redheaded woman who looked up & smiled
& let me tell you you don’t see smiles like that in Jersey City.
She was wearing a black raincoat with two hundred pockets
& I wanted to put my hands in each one. But forget about her.
I was talking about the fog which steps up & taps your shoulder
like a panhandler who wants bus fare to a joint called The Paradise
& where else could this happen? On Sundays Golden Gate Park
is filled with young girls strolling the transplanted palms
& imported rhododendron beds. You should see the sunset
in their eyes & the sway, the proud sway of their young shoulders.
Believe me, it takes a day or two to recover. Or the trolleys clanking
down the steep hills—why you see legs flashing like mirrors!v Please, Lord, please let me talk about San Francisco. How
that gorilla of a bridge twists in the ocean wind & the earth
turns under your feet & at any moment the whole works can crack
& slip back into the sea like a giant being kicked off his raft
& now, if it’s all right, I would like to talk about women…
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