under the sappho south of the city

imagine -- although they are only garlic breaths --
words which she commands are immortal.

i tell you this from mengin's sallow skin tones
and robust browns -- hanging in manchester
where the smiths louder than bombs for 15 minutes
with her oh they wouldn't say no.

mendocino mendocino -- you hid to the left at the
first light in a 100 miles -- having stepped up
to the cymbals-surf as we pass you 6-hours slap-happy
as we lose you unawares as we glimpse you momentarily:

cakes of angel cakes of white
resting calmly in sallow-glaze
of an evening ocean sun -- briefly
seen from the shimmering silver
blues and drought gold hairpins
twisting northbound.

but instead we grin smack into fort bragg
rolling over the precipice of its craggly surfy
harbor. got any soldiers here, ma'am?
no, you're thinking north carolina. oh.

so who is the real sappho? and which is the real
fort bragg? what is the essence of the city?

the dolores mission of saint francis? where halfway
down the nave -- hiding to the right -- by the 4-foot
thick adobe wall flickers a third of a battery of
votives arrayed under the black madonna? she is
the one decked in garlicky sallows-browns-and-golds?
the patron of poland? how far she has come. how far
i have come to see sappho.

so who are these playful setting sun-sallowed men
just a block to the west outside -- sporting short-shorts
and sappho-grade legs selling copies of old playboys
and john kennedy books? they are sitting or walking
talking and laughing on the sweet and shady side of
the 16th. one says hi and so do i. but the joseph
schmidt chocolate city bitch-dyke condescends through
her anti-tourist barbed-lashed make-up:

everything here is sw. eeeeat! everything here has shoe.

makes me wanna leave not buy. we leave. on sanchez
a step away armed with water bought from smiling
gracious ancient asian sapphos we step-stop sit down
and talk in the long low wedges of city shadows in the
neighborhood-sallowing sun -- taking in the castro
having fun. we are admiring the exhibitionist happy men.
we are ogling the california anglo scrumptious jailbait. we
are enjoying the delicious slender sluts. we are thrilled
with the sapphony of silk-haired asian women.

what would sappho say of these garlic breaths: she.
the sappho. the essential. the persisting. the everpresent.

the fragmented one.

Copyright © Marek Lugowski
24 October 1994
Menlo Park, California

Thank you, Karen K., for edits, driving and the Sappho
by Charles-August Mengin, Manchester City Art Galleries, UK.

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Copyright © 1995 A Small Garlic Press. All rights reserved.
Created 1995/8/26. Updated last on 2008/5/2.