The 49 Square Miles social poetry contest is in full swing through Saturday, and I’ve been meaning to post my entry for weeks now. But as a writer, I was totally procrastinating and thinking, well, if I write something, it has to be brilliant and earth-shattering, right? But then I realized I was making the perfect the enemy of the kinda-sorta-okay and just not getting it done. So I just sat down and wrote what popped into my head this morning, and here it is:
Blue sky over Bernal, pot in the wind, an old man in a speedo on the corner in the Haight, runners along The Embarcadero, bacon-chocolate-maple-something donuts, the sound of the J, skateboard dog clashes, sweatshirts on the beach mid-summer, hills, hills, fog at 4, more hills.
Not a real poem or any cohesive statement about San Francisco, but it’s what came up for me as I tried to define the City in 49 words this morning. There are a million scenes and adjectives and vignettes I can think of to describe the City. I have no idea why these came to mind first. I suppose the man in the speedo was seared into my brain when I saw it – I’ve never been able to get that image out of my head, and it happened like 8 years ago one morning when I was walking to the bus back when I lived on Haight St. Picture it: old man, corner of Haight and Masonic, nothing but tennis shoes and a speedo. Wild. I should also interject here that I have a hard time seeing men in speedos. It’s been a lifelong phobia.
The most important thing I learned from doing this little exercise is that I have so much to say about San Francisco, that so much of San Francisco takes up so much of my consciousness, that it’s hard to distill it into as little as 49 words. And that’s a good thing, I suppose.
Would it be depressing to live somewhere that you could sum up in a sentence?
If you want to enter the contest for your chance at a 49 Square Miles Big Mouth Hobo Bag (they are amazing bags, and expensive, around $600 a pop), you can put your own 49 words up on the 49 Square Miles Facebook page through Saturday.
Full disclosure: 49 Square Miles is an SF Indie Fashion sponsor, but this is not a sponsored post.