Scott Blackwell

Market And Powell


It seems odd, or maybe just
a little pedestrian and sad,
but among my favorite memories of San Francisco
are the cable cars,
mostly the times I used to ride them home from
Market Street.

Because often not wanting to put up with
the bus,
I would wait in line with the tourists,
their camcorders and Gucci shopping bags,
at the corner of Market and Powell—
the end of the line
where the men would spin the cars around
on a giant wooden wheel
before sending them back up the hill . . .

I would constantly try for the spot
at the very front of the running board,
sometimes to get it
even waiting for the next car if necessary,

then the cable would engage,
and with a jolt we’d be off—
I, seeing only the scene ahead
while flying up up
like an invisible bird, untouchable, incognito,
levitating just above the pavement,
gravity suddenly nonexistent, the streets
opening, unraveling
to a place where no one could accost me
for spare change,
shove a leaflet in my face,
try to convert me to Mormonism, Buddhism,
The New Capitalism, 

where I always found the city I loved,
the one I had traveled so far to find.        





Scott Blackwell is a former resident of San Francisco and an MFA graduate of the San Francisco Art Institute. He is a Pushcart Prize nominee and has most recently had poetry published in Ascent Aspirations, The Stray Branch, The Interpreter’s House, Main Street Rag, Floyd County Moonshine, Nerve Cowboy and Tribeca Poetry Review. He currently resides in ChampaignIllinois.

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