Spoonful: A Gathering of Stone Soup Poets

An extension of Cambridge's Stone Soup Poetry Venue.

Samantha Milowsky

 Photo by David Marshall

A Week in San Francisco


On vacation, pictures perpetrate the myth of a more interesting life, the one where weary hopefuls lean in with their ears cupped for a spoonful of story. The mirage is presented on a dollop of surface sheen where we pose in marionette, pixel caricature, massaged by tropical fronds on pink and tan beds of upright residential plaster. No matter where we are, there are the same transgressions rearing mild fare.


Success employs fluffy bunnies, holds them rapt, basting them to good taste. I keep quiet about this, and keep my paws for good luck. Obliged by this temperate freedom to trolley hop and walk with locals like jack rabbits between the cherry lined and gritty streets, I ignore urgent messages from the cage. The only response is its own echoing hysterics in the minor key of forgetting this one life, the meaning. Very few end up destitute for this reason, so I fortify to be resolute, to be changeling, light and frothy, eyes like satin bows, playing in quaint Victorian fortresses fortified for earthquakes with mint and gold curly-Q storefront fonts, generations of taquerias and their spawned kudos of graffiti mingling with sun-kissed modern fashions and neo Parisian cafes. Gentrifying silos cascade from the Noe Valley towards the Mission District where inner city minds with their gazes and fugitive problems holding firm can still genuflect their wanton misfortune. Regardless, one can find art and books living in most pockets.


I discover my maternal ancestors, all the women from the late 1800s onward, were born in San Francisco, which employs in me the same pride and self fabricated panache of being born to hippies in the Red Woods of Humboldt County. Now entitled, I untie the good luck ribbon around my East Coast cage, and accuse it of still being there after I abandoned it so resolutely. Perhaps later, I will consider poems about the cage, jazzy versions that oscillate between gilded cage appreciation, the safety and shelter it implies versus gray monochromatic H. R. Giger nightmares and the function of feeding tubes into the monolith, but not on vacation, not while the plane is still above the clouds and only just now considering its descent.