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'SF Ramble' by poet soledad con carne

soledad con carne is a casually queer, intergalactic Oakland/Ohlone-based chicanx punk poet, working/poor multiple high school drop-out bookstore lackey, poet laureate of the San Fernando Valley, and blatant smoker sharing-trauma-with-their-mother.

let’s call this the SF ramble

someone’s abuelo is out on the corner

of Broadway and Columbus

screaming corridos with a certain despecho,

that’s scaring all the white tourists outta City Lights,

the books that float with the pigeons in the sky

scatter at each lovelorn note abuelito screeches

I listen to him

as I consume the Universe

with a tired desperation

only those with the mantra

“just one last hit”

can know,

I’m out in alleyways

ripping away chunks of my fingertips

to leave a trail

like kids with candy

Lost in the forest,

Post up

MISSING flyers

up and down

24th and Mission

35th and MacArthur

Broadway and Columbus that say:

“I lost my heart

leaving Los Angeles,

If you see it,

a deep shade of blue

cracked and crusted

from an eternal wound,


hand it to the houseless woman

that trades me Good mornings for cigarettes.”

She’s the only one

that know how to follow

My trail of skin

weaving through every BART station

There’s an old Asian man on BART

His whole life packed

into a little grey carrito

He kicks off his sandals

walks around in circles

flicking around garbage

muttering poems

in a dialect I don’t know

and I scream,

What did they do to you?

What did San Francisco do to you?

What did America do to you?

Is this what you wanted?

Is this what you expected?

What dream told you to come here?

How did you fail?

Who failed you?

What was the cost. . .

over drunken calls home

about to pass out

in-between Balmy and Kerouac Alley

My homie tells me

I’d be the same

if we were never colonized

I’d still be

that poet of place

if I was an atomik aztek

Write poems about our sacred lands

the Europeans never raped and sold

and raped and sold and raped and sold

and beat and post a selfie while they call the police

on a brown man already down and bleeding,

(My cousin needed help, not a bullet

Whenever you see a skateboard and a Dodgers cap,

think of Miguel Angel)

but I tell my friend,

Those poems would still be sad

Those poems would still crave love

Those poems would still not be enough

Eternal sadness is my multi-dimensional canon

What kind of poet would I be

if I wasn’t obsessed

with my sadness

What kind of poet would I be

if I wasn’t posted on the corner

of every Holy Virgin mural

a 40 in hand

Dead Kennedys on repeat

a Hello Kitty halo

hovering over my pumpkin head

What kind of poet would I be

if I never left my Valley

or decided to stay in the Bay

maybe run away again

what kind of poet would I be

if I just rejected all sense of place

dropped off the face

of these alleyways

and overpasses

where these cities

scream daunting melodies

bouncing off graffitied walls

over multi-million dollar homes

of love and loss and home and gone

and buried in the concepts of

is and was and are and here and were

the SFV and Oakland

Los Angeles and San Francisco

Their sun bleached and cracking bones

constantly repainted like crumbling sugar skulls

living in dreams

like coma patients on life support

I don’t know what ideas we’re trying

to keep alive anymore