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We’re New. Arts, Letters & Culture from SF Bay & Beyond.

Issue #1, April-May 2017 – Contents:
 
 

Samarzidja Does What He Can

What can Samarzidja do?
Though he may be black & blue,
Samarzidja does what he can.

Samarzidja perseveres.
His stuff is pretty good. That’s clear.
He’s a pillar of strength
even more than most.

Pessimists say
Samarzidja does not do enough.
Such assumptions are mistaken,
based on data incomplete.

This at least is certain,
he gets out of monster jams
difficult for casual
fans to understand.

With a special swagger
atop a giant plan,
Samarzidja does what he can.

  

© 2017 by Robert Lane Wilder

Digital Ambivalence

Faceless minions every day
bubble up from coffee cups
gadgets of all shapes and sizes
piteously holding sway

A harrowing despair
spilling over everywhere
bodies pink and overweight
pasted into chairs

Frantic fingers plinkity plink
knocking over pricey drinks
overflowing greed
an arrogance that lingers

Icky packs of yupsters
simply don’t look up
pawing pointless laptops
a south of Market coffee shop

 
 

© 2017 by Robert Lane Wilder

Rainbow Grocery - San Francisco

Meeting at Rainbow Grocery

Suzi endearingly perceptive,
she concludes,

Not with cell phone…
he’s not someone who can’t bear to be alone.
He might well be complicated,
soulful being situated.

She sees in him something
only artists understand.

Suzi rolls up satin sleeves,
showing in her pleasant face
sensitive insightful visions of
the human race.

Suzi sorta smirks and smiles
glowing with substantial grace,
owing to some special
rainbow flavored dreamlike taste.

 

      Meeting At Rainbow Grocery (Sound Clip) - Robert Lane Wilder

The above is just a sound clip. You can get the entire track, of the author reading this poem, by clicking here.

 

Rainbow Grocery = A popular health food co-op in San Francisco. A random scene from it pictured above.

 

© 2017 by Robert Lane Wilder

George Grosz

George Grosz rearranged and reinvented imagery.
Into human folly, grasping zeitgeist by the throat…
he took apart convention and conformity poignantly.
Nailing its reality, civilization in decline.

George Grosz - Robert Lane Wilder poetry

Pointing out pointlessness,
the evils of an ugly age.
Grosz, a peerless visionary zeroed in…
exposing all the underpinnings of corruption.

Skillfully he’d spotlight this milieu,
its grim chokehold…
Grosz unequaled social critic
prescient, he foretold.

Everyday I trudge around
disgusted much like him,
social failures wreaking havoc
without and within.

Bureaucrats, pervasive
corporate robots waving fists,
clearing out the best and brightest
from within our midst.

 
 

Drawing above by George Grosz

 

© 2017 by Robert Lane Wilder

richard brautigan - trout fishing in america

Remembering Richard Brautigan

There was this movie theater on Geary Street in San Francisco, now long gone. I can’t even remember what movie it was that brought me there that night with a woman who could have been a second or third date, but I do remember that we were inside the theater lobby waiting for the audience of the last show to depart.

As we stood there I happened to look across the room and saw a familiar face. I couldn’t place it right away. I kept looking until I said to myself, “Wait a minute! I know that guy, because he looks exactly as he does on the cover his novel, ‘Trout Fishing in America.’ That’s Richard Brautigan!”

So I said to my date, “You see that guy over there? That’s the writer Richard Brautigan. Have you ever read his work?”

She responded that she hadn’t. I went on to say something like, “He’s a fine writer, and very funny at times. I recently finished one of his novels!”

Not long after that, I came across his obituary: committed suicide at his place in Bolinas, which is about an hour drive from my house.

From then on, whenever I read something by Brautigan, I pictured him standing there in the lobby of that movie theater. Looking exactly as he did on the cover of that book. . .
 
 

© 2017 by Jeff Zable

at least 10 minutes away

At Least 10 Minutes Away

Coming home on the N Judah around 3 p.m.
a homeless man gets on at one of the stops
holding a blanket, a pillow, and all of his
worldly possessions in a cotton sack.

As soon as he sits down in the front,
everyone gets up and moves to the back.

Now the only one sitting within a few feet of him,
I take in the strongest smell of urine and excrement
that my nostrils can remember.

And just as I’m about to get up myself,
the guy turns to me and says, “Good to see you!
and smiles a toothless smile that makes me feel
too guilty to move,

So I smile back holding in most of my breath,
hoping I don’t faint before the streetcar
arrives at my spot. . .
at least 10 minutes away.
 
 

© 2017 by Jeff Zable

Unfulfilled Desires

Unfulfilled Desires - Robert Lane Wilder poetry
Jaded I parade around
under San Francisco
waiting for a train to come
underneath feeling glum

Noticing the dim and dumb
wannabes from office towers
rap tap tapping phones
todays faceless robot workers

Everywhere distractions
tech geeks discomboobulated
clamoring for something better
gazing down at shoes

Inside gobs of ire flailing
flummoxed by my never ending
unfulfilled desires

True enough a little dopey
mild mannered joe
falling prey to corporate metal teeth
that don’t let go

 

      Unfulfilled Desires (Sound Clip) - Robert Lane Wilder

 

The above is a sound clip. You can get the whole version, of the author reading the entire work, by clicking here

 

Drawing above by Frost Newton

 
© 2017 by Robert Lane Wilder