–a long-time center of America’s poetry scene, filled with memories of legendary poets Kenneth Rexroth, Allen Ginsberg, Michael McClure, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and so many others– and legendary poetry readings such as the one at Six Gallery.
TODAY we have a feature story set in San Francisco, about poets: “My Poet Friend” by San Francisco writer-poet William Taylor Jr. A story of atmosphere and humor centered around one poet in particular, who is– like so many practitioners of the poetic art– a character.
More, it’s a story about the lives of struggling writers. Many of us struggle for years and never “make it”– but writing is not about making it. Being an artist of any kind is about the mad pursuit and the lifestyle and the experience. Creating and sharing those creations, and in turn, experiencing the works– the sounds, images, words– of others. Always learning, opening brain pathways, developing spiritually, hopefully, while experiencing more vitally and viscerally than many the echoes of life. Falling short in our artistry, maybe, but leaving behind some legacy or trace we were here, or at least leaving our carcass on the slopes of the artistic mountain we were trying to climb.
Anyone having met writers both high and low knows the more authentic version is the poet friend found in William Taylor’s entertaining story.
My poet friend returned to the bar and we drank in silence, looking at the girls and wrestling with our existential dread. The Revolutionary Poets got louder and drunker as the night went on, their table crowded with half-empty pitchers of beer as they argued about poetry and politics. Linda was standing now, swaying a bit as she drove her points home, wine sloshing out of her glass.