The Drive to San Francisco

March 8, 2017
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The Earth still wore the modesty of night
when we drove through the silent city streets.
We could see only the outline of her body,
phantoms of shops and office buildings
and every mile or so a man
walking alone in the darkness.

I was less than half awake,
and you were only slightly more.
Because of that, or the time that has gone by,
or because of the many nights that summer
I drank a thousand cups of tea
and never slept because of you--
Because of these things, there is a dreamlike quality
to my memory of the morning we drove to San Francisco.

The landscapes, from farms to famous cities,
guarded by a veil of darkness.
The sun did not come up that morning.
Black clouds replaced the clouds of night
and it rained and rained.
It was the first time in a year
that I watched rain fall on the window.
Beautiful, heavenly rain.
It sang to us throughout the morning
with its hopeful, childish voice.

Almond trees grew by the side of the road,
and to the other side was the ocean,
tremulous, rushing to the shore.
Between us, the almond trees, and the ocean
were the little towns along the central coast.


At a market, we saw a medieval tradesman
selling avocados in the rain.
It was good to be still for a while,
to rest for an hour in a quiet cafe
in a town where only strangers lived.

I slept for the next five hours,
dreamt within what is now a dream to me.
When I awoke it was light outside
and no longer raining.
The clouds were in someone else’s sky.

We were crossing the Bay Bridge.
It lacked the fame and beauty of the Golden Gate Bridge,
but possessed a warmth no other bridge could offer.
So many times had I crossed this bridge when I was small,
it felt like crossing back into childhood.

The Earth threw off her veil of darkness
and wore so many brilliant colors.
She danced a busy dance,
and her streets were filled with people,
and the shops and cafes of the city
were open and full of life.

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