When kids are dying, lilacs
heavy, and wet grass
soft to keep them,
their backs soak up the hidden snow.
Sure they grow.
And they share the blood.
They can’t leave the sky,
though city grief is all they can believe.
Dazed above their heads,
the leaves are chrome: society.
Then between the apples and the apples
they see home,
the blue trees of their homeland.
Her hands hold all they ever wanted, the pain
of a beloved calm that once drew
every shirt from every town; and so
they go, wound
with wound, grain with grain
in the whirring afternoon, into
the blue with blue.
We are in San Francisco to celebrate our 16th anniversary and to do some Red Hen meetings. We always have a lot of work in the Bay Area, but we manage to have a good time. It was over 100 degrees much of the drive up here and smoky from the fires, but when you hit the 580 and swing past the Livermore Lab producing more nuclear weapons than pretty much anywhere except possible Los Alamos, the air is cool and refreshing. I’ve been coming to Berkeley since 1988, and have been staying at the French Hotel, now the SenS, always kind of fun because of the amazing coffee shop.
And now to the SenS Hotel in Berkeley, I say goodbye. Mark and I have stayed here a couple times a year on Red Hen business and visiting our daughter and Mark’s brother for more than twenty years, but I think this is our last time. The rooms are bad, the beds are uncomfortable, and even the amazing coffee doesn’t make it worthwhile. We will find another Berkeley hotel to work from as we do book business up here. I’ll come by the coffee shop again for old times sake. Ben Saltman introduced me to this hotel. What he used to tell me was that life is very big.