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All writing on this page is by Alicia Lee Farnsworth copyright 2000-2015

Recession Haiku

Summer Pay


June,July gross pay: Lay low.

There's always ebay...


Mediocre Wine

Medocre Wine

Not bad enough to pitch

Too lousy to praise





Here 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

Flights grounded.


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.

I 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.

SOMA Eulogy

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.

There 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.

Occasionally 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.

Even the pigeons are gone.

Rant done.

Alicia Farnsworth, June 29, 2001



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