Authors Rise Up Against Amazon


Lovely new poem by Neeli Cherkovski

This is a little longer than most poems we post but I’m sure you’ll find it worthwhile. –BJS






some place he is   over nature     subjugated


he wears a clown’s costume

balances ten tea cups


air is pure   unfettered


yet rages


a truck rages down the Grapevine

twisted       ruined       plants drowning

in corn syrup         trucker belches

pulls off to the siding

eyes filled     mist clamors


Tule fog elk              no more water


dead High Sierras              trucker tries

to live

in harmony   the sky rings


a Google map   (perhaps)     island republics

crammed         to live

one’s life surrounded by the South Pacific


work the clutch

get ready to slide


hot damn!


see the wings     open wide


to make use of hitherto unspoken areas

unknown arrangements     proper nouns, oh


Odysseus but not as you know him


when he came like a thunderbolt

now useless


is a fact fable   great stone monoliths

formed into sections        moon pours down

through open throat of a stone


today on the freeway


a thousand reasons


turn back

enjoy an entire aria


melodious Monk prevails


these hours

woven into fine patterns where the mind

wishes for a body    hot blood


blood racing to the brief encounter


passing the ice cream factory and San Francisco International



or two years more or less

blond hair fell on shoulders

of the older man

in fog-strewn night      wishing a star had come

near enough to stuff it in a shoulder bag




strength one feels in knowing

hand is bent

over a stiff cloud


sunlight before what       whatever traffic flows

and floods


doors slam shut this window bars your movement


school boys little girls


an elderly crossing guard

from World War One       ninety feet tall


he tells us about the murdered boys

and witches

on tractors

in the field


then he dies and we buy

little purple flowers


you know the children had no choice


to quell the storm       Ruben kills a bird

rips open the body


he says this is the heart


leave time alone    for once in your life


nothing here but the soldier

in a closet

upstairs, he hangs like

a linen jacket


do you know death by his first name?



we hang


in the closet

next to the linen jacket


of body bags         so much for


a sparrow on the windowsill


beginning to see

what only you can see


a stranger on a tractor down Valencia Street




buried in a museum


the road narrows into a path

past white washed sea side villas

and humbler houses


through a bramble

into a caldera of rocks


as if it had been pre-ordained


the tufa fields      a lunar-like landscape


invisible eye


ripping the web

beginning to see

till the lemon tree offers only the most delicious



only the finest wisdom




tomorrow will be better


snow banked at 2,500 feet


stop the car and go there

to make snowballs

throw them at the sun

and see what happens


to envision

and to understand     beginning

of comprehension


how often the door will open

onto a vista

of unexpected occasions


wait until the silos

are emptied of what they store


Vesuvius was nothing


it rained on that day

tramping in mud


why can’t they build

a metal walkway


or see how music lives

on the branches

many trees





dripping forest

of glass


on the land   somebody has to




the lost rose        sun light   on close


splinters a log


over the distant ridge


stripped of redwoods


reverberating over meadow and arroyo


one eagle


then a simple crow


the usual ocean breeze


winging it


diplomacy fails

and out come


a few gray clouds mist up on the log


some bugs


everywhere silent silos


as we prepare to vanish


no more days or weeks


no need for latitude


will the birds be wise


and not disappear


the winged truth a rueful truth


has no mercy

for the trucker or the


people in charge


beauty    a robin


the bird chirps




inside of us


Amazon = Standard Oil?

imagesJeff Bezos as John D. Rockefeller. Interesting…

Ted Cruz, NYT, and Amazon

Bulk sales have been around forever. Remember “The Road Less Travelled?”

More Amazon News

Enforcing antitrust laws? What a quaint idea.

Is This Really the Best Esquire Can Do?

I found this kind of interesting.  Why is it 80 books a man should read and not a person? Why the “should?” Why not a gentle ’80 books a person might consider reading?’  Am I not a man if I haven’t read them? And if so, where’s the cutoff?  Anyway, I’ve read 53 by a very strict count, arguably more if you consider I’ve read lots of Fitzgerald, just not ‘The Crack-Up,’ which I consider a very dubious choice anyway,  or that I’ve read a bunch of Salter, recently, too, but not ‘A Sport and a Pastime.’ Why ‘The Road’ and not ‘Suttree’ which is a million times better (though nothing beats ‘Blood Meridian’).

Letter to Ernest Hemingway, a new poem by Neeli Cherkovski


Papa, naturally I hate to say this
I was 18 when you killed yourself or
maybe 19 in the car
with my mother I was eighteen
memory pulls me apart now
so much older than you were
when suddenly
you got that gun from the cabinet
and blew out your lonely brains
right where the caravans travel
with ancient candles and braying camels
now I am 70 for sure man
the 20th Century seems like a failure
Einstein tried to clean up the mess
but he was useless so were you
with those beautiful stories of being
a boy a young man a young adult
the Indian Camp still haunts me
you nailed it there the ripple effect
and those stories of cowardice
the ones on betrayal the soldier
says no I do not love my mother
the fate of you the letters you
wrote home all those Hemingway
boys man the women yes Mary
when you died how she went rushing
your art as large as the mountains
a hint of snow our snow white beard
fishing with Fidel Castro
the finca the Idaho wilderness
Spencer Tracy is THE OLD MAN
AND THE SEA, you owned your own
beloved Pilar, we owe you, I owe
so much of how I think I dream
you did not commit suicide you did
commit suicide I remember the
tears my mother turned the radio
louder I was thinking your prose
would be poetry and the woods will
whisper Paris oh Ernest I grew up
dreaming, I’d find you in a café
having done the day’s work
your steady gaze all those Toronto
letters will we go to Spain we
will be there or on safari again
never your macho pose and all
those sentences endure across
the divide I meant you are not
divine, Papa, a moment to praise
the work the work we know
has to be done

July 8, 2015

Thursdays at Readers Poetry Series: Alejandro Murguía and Patti Trimble

Join us every Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in our Readers Bookstore Fort Mason for our weekly FREE poetry series! Browse books and enjoy a glass of wine while listening to internationally acclaimed poets and artists such as Jonathan Richman, David Meltzer, Diane di Prima and California Poet Laureate Al Young. The series is  curated by Friends’ Resident Poet Jack Hirschman. For a full line-up and more information please visit our website at

Proceeds from our bookstores benefit the San Francisco Public Library

TODAY we are excited to have  Alejandro Murguía and Patti Trimble read!

alejandro Alejandro Murguía is the author of Southern Frontand This War Called Love(both winners of the American Book Award). He is a founding member and the first director of The Mission Cultural Center. Currently he is a professor in Latina Latino Studies at San Francisco State University. He is the author of the short story “The Other Barrio” recently filmed in the street of the Mission District. This year City Lights Books released his new book Stray Poems. In May 2014 the SF Weekly named him Best Local Author. He is the Sixth San Francisco Poet Laureate and the first Latino to hold the position.

trimble_patti_headshotPatti Trimble lives in Petaluma and Sicily. Her poetry is widely published and she performs/reads—often with music—in the US and Europe. Her two 2014 spoken word CDs, on Out of Round Records, are: Hello Heaven! Poems from Arabic Sicily, new translations with singer Ramzi Harrabi; and In the Middle of the Night of the Road of My Life etc. with SF musician Peter Whitehead. Patti’s work has received grants from the Lannan Foundation, Poets&Writers, Djerassi Foundation, and a Pushcart nomination. She writes for the S. F. Ethnic Dance Festival and teaches writing in the Bay Area.



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Best Things of the Week July 9, 2015

Best Things of the Week

by Byron Spooner 

July 9, 2015


jagger_frank_335wideBest Thing I Read All Week, Hidden America, By Nicholas Davidoff,  New York Times Magazine, July 5, 2015: One of the enduring pleasures of having a personal library is being able to get out of bed at eight o’clock on a Sunday morning, pull down a copy of Robert Frank’s The Americans and bring it back to bed to accompany this article on the ninety-year-old photographer/filmmaker without having to get out of my pajamas. Davidoff tracks Frank’s work from his Swiss birth through his immigration to America and his involvement with nearly three-quarters of a century of photography and independent film; from Dorothea Lange to Jonas Mekas, Walker Evens, to Andy Warhol, James Agee to Jack Kerouac. Coincidently David Amram screened Frank’s Pull My Daisy at The Beat Museum’s wonderful Beatnik Shindig last weekend—a grainy, dim film I’d never seen before featuring Kerouac, Ginsberg, Amram, etc, that appeared to be a lot more interesting to the Beat aficionados in the attendance than to a non-specialist like me—and went on about it at some length (apparently a Beat specialty) at the Q & A that followed. I was glad Davidoff reminded me that I’d seen Frank’s much better Rolling Stones movie, Cocksucker Blues, at the New School back in the seventies, with a much, much shorter Q&A by Frank himself afterward, during the time when, for some strange reason, the film could only be shown in his presence. It was as memorable as Pull My Daisy is forgettable—as great a depiction of debauched boredom and existential loneliness at the summit of the rock ‘n’ roll mountain as ever put to film. I was also glad to have the occasion to re-familiarize myself with the ground-breaking book, looking through it with Davidoff’s explanation of how the blurred images and shocking subject matter changed photography brought me to a deeper understanding of the pictures. Read more »

Ferlinghetti/Ginsberg Letters

From our friends at City Lights: