Almanac Poem

Today’s NaPoWriMo challenge is to complete an “almanac” questionnaire about your favorite place, then use some of your answers to create a poem. The questionnaire includes such things as weather, customs, flora and fauna, what you see walking down the street, what you hear at the border, etc.


my father called it

the air-conditioned city

with its fine ocean breezes

and bone-chilling fog

you can call it

San Francisco or the City

but never, never call it Frisco!


walking  to Chinatown

breathless, climbing

always climbing

at the top of each hill

a different view of the City


rest with the sea lions

out on the docks

sunning themselves

slacking off

and lazing about

me, too


amongst the beauty

of parks and palaces

homeless encampments

life in a tent

scrap of a letter

he wrote to his family

but never sent

death on the street

beanbag rounds and

bullet casings

justice delayed

justice denied


does Rodin’s Thinker

contemplate these things

as he sits on his pedestal

sad and serious

unaffected by

his lack of clothing

or shelter


at the ocean’s border

the crush of waves

the cry of gulls

the fog-bearing wind

the rhythm of wheels

meeting the steel bridge

singing their high-pitched goodbye

rhythm of a heart

that beats for the city


 bridge skyline crop2

Golden Gate – NaPoWriMo Day 28

Today’s NaPoWriMo challenge is to write a poem about a bridge. For me, the choice was obvious. I have a love/hate relationship with the Golden Gate bridge. Well, mostly love. But read on….

Photo Copyright: Janet L. Brown

Photo Copyright: Janet L. Brown

I left my heart
in The City
just like the song says
but only part
it is split apart
by the beautiful bridge
its imposing structure
orange, not gold
and no golden gate
still, it is the gateway
to two halves of my soul

it always seems too long
vibrating beneath me
whining against
the texture of my tires
lanes too narrow
always nervous
always wondering
if I’ll make it across
without incident

then I am on the other side
and northern California
opens up to me
I sit for hours
in Sausalito
gazing across the bay
and watching seagulls
feast on human food
I bask in the shade
of Muir Woods
I don’t feel so old
amongst the ancient trees

it’s a white knuckle drive
back across the bridge
my reward, the skyline
The City sparkles
lit up in evening dress
inviting me to dinner
(I accept)

finally, to bed, to dream
of waking Rodin’s Thinker
to ask what he is thinking about
of basking in the sun
like lazy seals on the pier
of seeing a different
view of The City
from every hilltop
of driving over my beautiful bridge
that whines when I leave

Photo Copyright: Janet L. Brown

Photo Copyright: Janet L. Brown

NaPoWriMo 7 – Golden Gate

Today’s NaPoWriMo challenge is to write a love poem about an inanimate object.

Photo Copyright: Jan Brown

I love

the view

from the bridge

when my white-knuckled

steering wheel and stiff neck

can finally relax enough to look

I love that you take me over the ocean

to Sausalito, Marin and John Muir Woods

I loved the drive down Lombard that brought me to you

of course, that was before they realized how preposterous it was

to let tourists drive rented cars on the crookedest street in the world

I love that you take me back to The City, the city of Armistead Maupin

to the city of Marcia Muller, Bill Pronzini, Sharon McCone and Nameless

I love that every picture I take has that annoying shrub that throws off the balance

and I love that you allow me to fly across the water to retrieve my heart yet once again

NaHaiWriMo – February 14th

Happy Valentine’s Day! Today’s writing prompt is “harbor.” The twin themes of love and water inspired me to review some old photographs of my favorite city.

As the song says, I left my heart in San Francisco. I probably should have left my camera, too.

I’ve taken lots of not-very-good photos in and around San Francisco. I love the omnipresent fog, the way it absorbs and filters the sun. But the resultant photos always seem to be too dark, off-focus or just plain weird.

Still, there have been rare occasions when, despite the fog and my lack of skill, The City revealed itself lovingly through my lens.

Wherever you live, I hope you get to visit San Francisco with your sweetie, or at least with your digital camera 🙂

haiga SF restaurant
We’re halfway through National Haiku Writing Month!
NaHaiWriMo’s writing prompts can be found on their Facebook Page here. 
Lots of lovely haiku can also be found on their Facebook timeline.

Smooth Sailing

across the bridge

in Sausalito

no fog to block the view

sailboat glides in rhythm

with gulls that swoop for crumbs

harmoniously honking for attention

a sudden gust of wind blows

no sail to catch it

but bread chunks soar aloft

birds play a game of dip and stretch

the winner gets free lunch

and laughter