San Francisco | TeenInk

San Francisco MAG

December 8, 2015
By AGarsson PLATINUM, Mill Valley, California
AGarsson PLATINUM, Mill Valley, California
24 articles 0 photos 1 comment

For generations, we have taught our children that it was
The desire for gold and fortune
That carved San Francisco out of steep hills and rocks.
We have shown our children that
Bridges that span the bay are used to commute to work,
That skyscrapers are meant for office spaces, and that
Telephone lines are only good at obstructing views.
This is not the San Francisco that I imagine.
My world cannot be centered solely around purpose and functionality, or I might as well
Sit in a void until the day I die.
If I were to give a second opinion about this city,
I would say that we need
To teach our children to perceive in ways
Outside of logic and reason.
I would tell them to break down each sense and
Master it,
As if each was their only perception of this world.
San Francisco is a city
That lives in textures:
The bench
Has small holes to put your pinky finger through
And is as cold as the fog that kisses the air.
The finish is a grainy metal
And each time I try to glide my hand over its surface
My sweaty fingers stop short.
I grind my feet against the loose pebbles of the pavement
And feel a coin near the right leg of the bench.
My hands,
Which have aged to form a new Grand Canyon
Cannot help but quiver to discover
Its smooth exterior.
They caress its perfect roundness
As it sucks up any remaining heat from skin
That flakes around the knuckles.
That lives in smells:
The warm steam of bitter tea
Which hisses in the mist,
Cannot drown out the aftermath of a cigarette.
However, the smell of exhaust as bus doors open
Does not hide the sweet, small note
Of fresh flowers
Tossed around in wrinkled papers
That crumple when grasped by excited hands.
That lives in sounds:
The child who drifts by, speaking broken Mandarin between huge gulps of laughter.
The swerving bicyclist who dodges the thunder of skateboarders.
The screech of opening up a tight, top-floor window.
Long nails that continue to tap the mug
Filled with the bitter tea,
That makes my tongue recoil
(That lives in [personal] taste).
Legs stuffed in tight jeans
Shuffling over one another to get comfortable.
Oversized boots struggle to get balanced,
As soft fleece rubs against the bench.
I feel the vibrations of its heartbeat.
Has it noticed me?
That lives in sight:
I’m afraid I can’t answer that.

The author's comments:

This was part of the poetry component of my Final for AP Compostion. For the past couple of months, we have been researching different aspects of our city of San Francisco. I have been investigating issues from gentrification in the Mission District to the effect of charter schools on the city's school district. This has really opened my eyes about what I miss every time I cross the Golden Gate Bridge, so I wrote a poem about a blind man who appreciates these small details the city by the bay has to offer.

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