SF Stories: Alejandro Murguia

16th & Valencia

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GUARDIAN ILLUSTRATION BY LISA CONGDON

 

46TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL I saw Jack Micheline reciting Skinny Dynamite

on the corner of 16th & Valencia

and he was angry

and the next day he was dead on the last BART train to Concord

and maybe that’s why he was angry

I met Harold Norse shuffling around in a beaten world

his pockets stuffed with poems only hipsters read

It’s a cesspool out here he sighed

before retreating to his room in the Albion Hotel

where angels honeycomb the walls with dreams

and the rent is paid with angry poems

I heard Oscar Zeta Acosta’s brown buffalo footsteps

pounding the Valencia Corridor

and he was shouting poetry at the sick junkies

nodding with their wasted whores

in the lobby of the Hotel Royan “The Mission’s finest”

and even the furniture was angry

I joined the waiters at the bus stop

the waitresses the norteños trios the flowers sellers

the blind guitarist wailing boleros at a purple sky

the shirtless vagrant vagabond ranting at a parking meter

the spray paint visionary setting fire to the word

and I knew this was the last call

We were tired of living from the scraps of others

We were tired of dying for our own chunk of nothing

And I saw this barrio as a freight train

a crazy Mexican bus careening out of control

a mutiny aboard a battleship 

and every porthole filled with anger

And we were going to stay angry

And we were not leaving

Not ever leaving

El corazón del corazón de La Misión

El Camino Real ends here

 

 

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