In 2003, a group of poets and performers started a weekly gathering on the corner of 16th & Mission streets in San Francisco. These weekly performances have continued for over a decade. I participated from 2003 to 2005 (when I moved away).

Dreaming of 16th & Mission

You shine like a gem
suspended in time
a decade and a generation
of dreamers
on 16th & Mission.

I remember a day
when the sun was too brilliant to face,
and we hid in the shadows
behind mirrored glasses,
longing for nightfall,
yearning for meaning,
channeling the great heroes
of Utopian America
I was singing the siren's song,
the drunkard's righteous wail,
and dreaming of 16th & Mission.

The cold and intoxicating
dark brightness,
howling poetry at the belligerent night,
arms thrust to the People,
chins raised to the sky,
personifying the Art herself
incarnate yet ethereal,
defiant and unyielding
through the piss-stained street-truths
of this concrete cacophony
as time and again,
we delivered the Truth to each other.

Ceaselessly shifting the elements
a kaleidoscope disillusioned
with the boredom of modernity,
spewing disdain and Beauty
upon the whitewashed walls
of a sterilized idealism,
in the faces and eyes of the passersby,
the children
stopping and staring,
eyes wide with the universe
as yet unformed and untainted,
faces not yet of judgment
but of wonder.

I remember a day
when a friend said to me:
- Say your poem!
Say it Loud,
above all this noise,
so the People can hear you!

That day we surrounded
a trolley car full of tourists
- This is America!
and yelling
- We are the Living Poets!
from all directions.

And as time swept us away,
I lay with my head in my lover's lap,
staring up at the sunshine falling
through the eucalyptus leaves,
- were these
the most beautiful
days of our lives?

Now the years turn like pages
a decade
of prowling the urban jungle,
walking with Purpose,
forgetting poems
while raising kittens
and children,
watching sunsets
reflected like dreams
on the glass facades of skyscrapers.
But of all the friends I've made,
it's those that shared this corner
(now so long ago)
that feel the most like home,
scattered though we've all become
our eternally shifting kaleidoscope,
like so many glass pieces
pretending to dream of the World
but really just
dreaming of 16th & Mission.

Poetry by sasha khrebtukova
Read 1110 times
Written on 2014-04-03 at 17:17

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What a very good poem! The beat, the rhythm, the words all so well chosen. I hope you come back soon.


Lawrence Beck The PoetBay support member heart!
There's something very Beat and San Francisco about the way that this poem is written. What fun!

Rob Graber
PS: Welcome back after seven years away from the 'bay!

Rob Graber
A great read! From "I remember a day--" to "forgetting poems / while raising kittens / and children," a gentle and reflective poetic tour de force!

Chaucer Whethers The PoetBay support member heart!
This is very fine. A fine read and an interesting artist history footnote*