Stories tagged san-francisco


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Once you start telling the truth it's hard to quit. You look around and reasons are everywhere. It's like a new appliance, truth-telling, a can opener that's so good you barely have to turn it.On the phone my sister asks me why I don't come out and see her in San…

Billets Doux

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Dear Aspertame, Okay, are you REALLY bad for me? I keep getting e-mails saying you'll give me MS or Cancer, but then I also hear it's total crap. So tell me, are you going to kill me or what? Consider your answer carefully while I drink this Diet Coke.

The Great San Francisco Poetry Wars, 10

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It was Warren who introduced me to this bouncer fellow named John O'Toole. Warren met O'Toole and his wife, Angelina, through the dark prison poet Eugene Forcer. Forcer and O'Toole were the best of friends until a riff erupted between them one…

How The Sixties Ended: or, The Great San Francisco Poetry Wars, 4

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We woke up at a rest stop on a knoll overlooking the Platte River, somewhere in Nebraska. Deborah and I were under a blanket on our mattress when Greg and Steve peered in the door. “Psst! Janov, you awake yet? The sun’s been up for like a whole hou

The Great San Francisco Poetry Wars, 1

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I lived for a time on Red Square in Berkeley. You may have heard of it. It was run by Von Rotten (that’s just plain Von), who was considered the Vladimir Lenin of the Foul Language Movement of Poetry (FLMP, pronounced “Flimp,” sometimes “Flump,”

The Great San Francisco Poetry Wars, 16

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Von Rotten had us all go out and paint this huge red square around the Red Diaper Baby factory. Then he held a big naming rally, at noon, during our lunch break. We weren’t allowed to eat our sandwiches. There was all this pomp and circumstance. We were


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There is nothing I love so much as a fat person, or admire. The largeness of their soul demands abundant sufficiency of casing and, further, because they are so grand of psyche, so much more than those who are skinny (not I!), they need—require—that f

We Will Elevate (Part One)

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As a kid, I never imagined that my death would come at the base of a massive presidential shrine. Well, at least not often

We Will Elevate (Part Two)

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The Buffalo group together in herds and are massive, intimidating creatures. You get the impression that--if desired--they could easily orchestrate a plan to stop you atop a hillside, then ram your car over the edge.

Field Sobriety

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A San Francisco cab driver named Jake, a friend of a friend, was my date for the party. I didn't really like him, but I needed someone to bring. In the 70s free love was the norm, but it was hard to have sex with a guy I wasn't really attracted to. …

May You Never Be Happy Again

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“Everybody’s seen Tom Waits,” Chris said. “Everybody. His son’s a real asshole. I can’t remember his name, so let’s call him Fred. My friend saw Fred walking with his Dad, in Orinda or somewhere, and was like, fuck you Fred! And fuck yo

Pumpkin Patch

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Artie invited me to go with him to pick out a Halloween Pumpkin for the house. I had recently moved into a communal living situation and we were still getting to know each other. Artie was the kind of person who made a special occasion out of ordinary life. Why…

Turkey Hunt

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While I was still new at Black & Twigg, shortly before Thanksgiving, Percy brought me a handwritten memo to type, the subject “Turkey Hunt,” addressed to all Black & Twigg employees in the San Francisco office from management. It said that the firm…

Why won't you lie?

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And out on that lake that day you yelled “desperation please!” And I heard “desperate pleas?” I wondered about first impressions.

What you're waiting for.

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I figure maybe I’m mostly alone; they are all running down staircases or falling down fire escapes, some of them naked, some of them with towels, mostly probably naked though.