The City That Could Have Been

All those folks that
stayed, who didn’t go
to school out of state,
didn’t leave home in
search of something

all those folks who
couldn’t leave the
smell of their kitchen

the smell of the cupboard
the smell of garlic in grandma’s
pores and the smell of her
medicine as she clung to our
arms to steady herself

all those born and raised
San Franciscans who couldn’t
wouldn’t leave their lives,
their people behind

all those born and raised
San Franciscans who wanted
to be regular folks with
regular jobs

they didn’t want
too much, just some
friends, some music,
some good food, some
soul, some style

all the folks that
were born here
and stayed

didn’t want to be
too clean, too successful

just wanted to be
themselves, be true to
the skin that covered
their bones

and some showed their
devotion to their city by
burning its name into
their skin

Didn’t need no PHD,
City College was
good enough

A little coffee
in a styrofoam cup
was good enough

and the city was
filled with many
who could have been


etc etc…

The city that
could have

the city that
was and still is
to those that remain

the city that was
the city before
the artisans came

with their
artisan peanut butter
and jelly sandwiches,
and artisan cupcakes

and artisan
toilet paper to
wipe their apps

(c) 2015 Tony Robles


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