Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence

Scott, Supervisor of the Dispossessed

Kevin Simmonds

for Scott Wiener, San Francisco Supervisor, District 8
 
I know this city
its namesake friar
the mystic who bled, Scott
 
800 years before
all this cement
& scaffolding
 
we know the birds
in his name
the visions
 
what to do
with this history
this minority
 
who now
does the city claim
as progeny
 
the longhaired boy
smelling of patchouli
his hemp spread out
 
Nick the Wiccan
in an open relationship
his desiderata of dick
 
pregnant Alexandra
her architect husband
eyes tortoise shelled like Johnson
 
she teaches private school
so they can afford
a child they can afford
 
Jonathan fanged
with defiance
monitoring the news for intolerance
 
then shaming the fuckers
on his SOMA blog
Jack in North Beach
 
who stopped giving a shit
in the 80s but writes
love poems nonetheless
 
Anand who is trans
& hasn’t spoken to me since
I told him I had no idea
 
then I asked questions
because I don’t know the things
I should know in solidarity
 
let me be in solidarity
but he doesn’t respond
& made me feel white
 
Khalil who is warm water & speaks
in longhand
who stopped the 36 bus in blackface
 
rabid  he came west too
eyes closed above his wet
guitar

he tells me to stay
if only to crescendo

into an angrier shade 

of black
of deviant homosexual
rivering my need
 
back to church
not with steeple or benediction
but with a flock desperate
 
as I claim I am
so far west
from the south
 
situated among the acronyms
& tolerance
for ambiguity
 
I understand all that
& this:
I’m among the terrified
 
I resemble a frightening thing
central
in your family lore
 
of what
you can trust
to threaten & tarnish
 
& how I wish to hurt
those who should know
better
 
the source is the same, Scott
extols itself into an accelerant
for a many-winged fire
 
& can you say it with me
the source
is the same

 
this city of exile isn’t always
a city of refuge
no
 
I burn here
like I did
there
 
used to make me cry
now I can’t cry
or scream
 
there’s nowhere to go
like I am
beholden still to elders
 
I’m a singer of spirituals
but no longer a believer
no longer captive
 
to the Word
I’ve made flesh
a manner of reconciliation
 
Church won’t have me
as a tither
a sinner saved
 
& Katrina is a marker
of when my family was unmoored
pancreatic cancer seizing Aunt Trina
 
& my love of men
can’t eclipse
my chroma
 
what wrong
have I done
to you, Scott, to me
 
to my broad-backed kin
the nameless men
with my nose & whimper
 
whatever I say here
for the literate & enlightened
has been translated
 
from the gut
& groomed
I’m screaming
 
walking unburied
in this city of boutiques
& acrylics
 
of Divisadero
& the sainted indignities
of the poor
 
I want to call you
brother  comrade
shit stirrer
 
I want you to call me
something civilized
vex the segregationists
 
with your trust & tone
your reckless raced
risk
 
I want to be
post-raced
black haired brown eyed
 
in this
the inaugural year
of adulthood
 
I’m 40 & potbellied
frowning regretful
indignant with bad service
 
call me Mr. Simmonds or sir
not Kevin
never dude
 
there’s a poverty of manners
wherever I go there’s
me to contend with
 
& have you any idea
the demands I make
the seals
 
I think should go
unbroken just because
they exist
 
I’m not curious enough
to be an intellectual
but not unquestioning enough
 
to remain unaware
of my station
pedigreed like my shut-in mother
 
who always makes it
into my writing but never
a note of her in my music
 
unless it’s to be played
by cello
then it’s her without question
 
emptying
her psychotic bravura
arpeggiating heat
 
prudence haunts this city
its prison island a mirror
its wages a purgatory
 
I can’t afford the view
beyond the fog
the unruly eucalyptus in Presidio
 
what to do with this vendetta
when I’m distressing
& cause a purse to shift
 
across her chest
as if that would prevent me
from taking her shit
 
Bitch, I’m from a land scented
with magnolia & weed
& a cauldron of gumbo is the altar
 
so fuck you, your ancestors & descendants
I wish you barren & cast out
until you open your blue eyes

 
down Mission St.
down Webster
down Turk
 
down where I can walk
feel right
rub up against people
 
& am uncareful
see the hunger lines
see Glide showing up
 
because democracy detests
the electorate
& capitalism castrates, Scott
 
the little lights here
people point to them
say, look at what we’ve clarified
 
but it’s one thing to turn
the light upon something
long gangrenous at the ready
 
to take the whole body with it
than to rip the fabric
deliver the tourniquet
 
saw off purple pounds
& see to it that the lights
these little necessary lights
 
are thrown out
& replaced with blaring
& blasted attention
 
look beyond your zodiac
I’ll look beyond mine
to a tangled cursive
 
that’s neither sky
or nameable
even for a poet
 
this city of executive coffee
executive children
isn’t it instinctual
 
that these cannot last
but will nonetheless as we drone
our evolution
 
devolve into kings
digital scars down
past the capillaries
 
into the white windows
of memory
or is it the boulevard
 
of memory
all the childhood trees
a truce
 
the inspiration for this section
is grateful hopelessness
a religion of the resigned
 
this shit makes its own
sense
& the ordering keeps us busy
 
worker bees, honey
& that’s that
like it or not
 
I keep sizing up my wrists
data mining for a metaphor
that no one could insult
 
its precision would be epic
self-evident
& like an element
 
on the idiotic table
where other things are ordered
then given extraordinary weight
 
enough to build doctrine
snake handling
or Calvin’s predestination
 
when my dog shits
under this city’s occasional
eggplant sky
 
I know he won’t shit
in the corner of the living room
who’s to say there’s nothing praiseworthy
 
in that moment
sniffs  decides  shits
I praise  give treats  we’re relieved
 
both of us locked
into an ancient weave
King Solomon was right, Scott
 
there’s nothing new under the sun
when it comes to the brain’s counterpoint
but there are developers unconvinced
 
that we are even close
to what we should be
achieve in
 
the name of    of
manifest destiny suits us
the fit’s tailored
 
our pecs accentuated
the ass outstanding
hard to believe we shit
 
displacement is development
is renewal is urban is
infinitely chambered
 
load the ammunition of micro
apartments packing them in
shoveling them in
 
insert here
the hulls of slave ships
house them
 
stop
& frisk
them
 
my lungs are happening
regardless
of my mind’s evocation
 
of stoppage
& nth degrees
like the expanding universe
 
under these clothes
my naked body forbidden
to walk the streets of this city
 
Dear Scott, gay Jew supervisor of the Castro
who legislates for good behavior
admonishes the cock-ringed attention getters
 
restores solvency to the portfolio
shuts out the hard-headed from the plaza
says this place is no mecca
 
you are just getting started
your pilgrimage is the pilgrimage
of a city intent on order
 
but a mob forms
even now
the women will ululate
 
a decibel of undoing
need I tell you
every city falls
 
under the ascendant weight
of body bags too early
too soon
 
all the preventable forms
of death
abort any reprieve
 
no time to swallow
no time to impersonate
lovers of freedom
 
freebasing the party line
instead there’s satchels with baguettes
heated discussion about bike lanes & residential parking
 
behold the glistening howl
degenerate into a yelp
of online screams
 
they have keyboards
screens to assess
their asses cushioned
 
into retreat
that’s what it is
retreat
 
the irony of these
world-envied bridges
us drowning
 
us deliberating if there’s
any ground
worth taking
 
lesbians seem happy here
grouped together
like notes in a chord
 
of difficult music
tossed like a comet
through the exceeding darkness
 
the cello hurts me
but how do we bear
without laceration
 
it is in us
to break into each other
through the sensation
 
of skin
through the entering gate or grave
of the mouth
 
damn I’m alive with you
corresponding to you
in priceless atoms
 
forgive me just now
I’m too late again
for blamelessness
 
there are novenas
in this city of antagonism
where the whore works
 
his her his her hands
to polish the stones
& dares us  any of us
 
to raise our voice
above the whisper
of our shame
 
there is no shame
in this city bound
to relive the Old Testament
 
Isaacs & altars
Jonahs & plagues
the saviors came
 
but as ordained
died on hospital beds
set up in living rooms
 
enter the didactic lesbians
some nursing others outside
pamphleting like a sect
 
of bullhorn believers
we should believe
or else we’d
 
be left behind
assimilated into a red circle
of ruin
 
theirs were vein-throated demands
necks craned in surveillance
our stalwart emissaries
 
reincarnate me as a lesbian
spare me the affront
of a smug faggot staring
 
back in the mirror
a faggot who only smoldered
never made any trouble
 
who lived scared
through the 80s the 90s
who still waits to be
 
infected
& how would he  would I
become infected
 
infect me so I can be certain
of that one thing
naming me
 
like the long dead of this city
a city anesthetized
& irrelevant to the second
 
& third
& forth
comings
 
soon but not before
the ratcheting of progress, Scott
the listeners will hear
 
how it’s crashing terrible
the talkers embellishing
life aboard this throttling flagship
 
what are the rescuing words
how do we adhere to their bright affection
attest to it
 
by cleaving to the people of this city
their clamorous witness
mutating their frontal lobes
 
delicious cigarettes smoked on the curb
translucent onions stuffed
into a Los Hermanos burrito
 
I concede that I am uneven
& not everyone feels erasure
the way I do
 
I’m thrilled by abstinence
as an abstract
but let that chalice pass from me
 
to the bread breakers
the farmers of the faith
sowing liturgies
 
pass the hemlock
expose my wires
my mother says I can return
 
return to the south, Kevin
say good morning good evening good night
welcome the patois back
 
into your mouth
suck teeth & call on the sissies
to bless your triumph
 
say good-bye
leave the vineyard
for the vine