All writing on this page is by Alicia Lee Farnsworth copyright 2000-2015
June,July gross pay: Lay low.
There's always ebay...
Not bad enough to pitch
Too lousy to praise
is a foreboding poem I wrote October 23rd, 2001.
I first had these thoughts the day after the world trade center attack.
It is hard to believe we are still at war 14 years later.
September 12th 2001
Thought at the Beach in Evanston, IL...The Day After
It's all disaster all the time.
Stranded outside Chicago
Like a 3-day fish
Cozy clocks tick,
Throbbing dear friends apartment
NO way to go
Stranded in the bucolic town
Where I grew and flew away
A beautiful Indian summer day
Shines though the tragedy
As we will be expected to do.
Those planes made mandatory
Vacation with CNN
Need a Vacation from CNN
Pilgrimage to the beach
My lighthouse as a child
Memories of sand, castles,
Holes to China and the smell
Of toasted copper tone skin.
Now I marvel
Midwestern born toughness
How the child-me swam
With naive enthusiasm
In Spartan cold Lake Michigan
The art of suffering
Melted in me
Somewhere in California.
Carnivorous flies attack
Drive me to the lapping water
Distracting coldÉUp to my ankles
Search Solace in beach rocks tumbled
Co-mingling jewels of beer bottle glass
Softened smooth, like my memories
Nostalgic worry stones.
Fly bites return me to the moment
The nip of beauty's pink twilight
Holding still warm breath
My cold dread forebodes
A Long winter war.
wrote the piece below in Late June 2001. I was feeling the pressure of
rapid redevelopment in my old neighborhood spurred by what they now call
the dot com bubble. Soma Eulogy was written before the bubble burst.
Between the DotCom boom/bust and the loft developers, my formerly lively,
creative and funky neighborhood was gutted and the carcass left. New wood
construction of hastily built lawyer-lofts are monuments to the displaced.
Their stories erased but not forgotten. There is both a physical and economic
assault on all but the rich here in San Francisco. Everyone has to work harder
just to survive, even the criminals. I never really felt safe in my SOMA neighborhood
after I was mugged last October. Predators seem more ruthless desperate and
vicious. Just last week, my friend Eric witnessed a shooting near the neighborhood
health center (where I get medical care), at 6th and Minna. A large pool of
blood marked the spot for days.
used to be a lot more foot traffic and life on the street. Filipino and
other immigrant working families passed welders, mechanics and artists
working in their studios. Performers, drag queens and musicians (both
on and off duty) marked the change of the guard as night mixed with day,
Intermittent smells of exotic cooking, drying enamel, printing ink and
motor oil mingled with the scents of fresh leather, thick hops, quinine
and cologne. Now, except the snaking, honking, commuter chug through the
street, the sidewalk are sparse and lonely. Shortsighted planning left
the homeless half dead and the tenacious half gone. Sprits are rendered
down to ghosts with sunken, steely eyes. They, and the tourists feed the
predators. Clubs have been Muffled, Established business leases ended,
Artists, performers, working poor, the old and disabled, are steadily
squeezed like toothpaste, out. Evicted with no place to go, Thousands
are flung farther away, under rugs and radar.
you glimpse a new colonist. Loft owners scurry to their SUVs and eject themselves
like pinballs down the narrow alley streets. Pedestrian Beware. Loftmoms come
out later in the day, cell phone implanted in their jaw, propelling alert
little babygap kids in underutilized baby joggers. They glide obliviously
past caverns of vacant DotCom headquarters, unfinished construction flapping
in plastic, rent signs propped in unsold condo windows, semi permanent homeless
encampments foreboding outside threatened rent controlled apartments, and,
of coarse, the ever-looming predators.
Blind to sidewalk tragedies, in a bubble of bucolic bliss colonists descend
on formerly funky cafes. Watering holes were once filled with strong men with
embroidered name tags, and bodacious velvet vixens of various persuasions.
The air was saturated with sounds of scribbling sketchbooks, music amps dragging,
harmony and creative discord. The scene, once punctuated with ten gage steel,
custom leather, and sparkling waves of tattoos worth having, Now is a flat
sea of prim khaki and pedicures. Burnt coffee and boring tea is made twice
the price for half the product. I wonder why I stay to witness the homogeny;
to remember how it used to be.
the pigeons are gone.
Farnsworth, June 29, 2001
tuned for other writing and book arts.
A For more information please e-mail Alicia@artfulalf.com