Army Dave

army dave

on a drum circle day
in golden gate park,
i met dave.
broad shoulders
one brown eye brow.
said he quit
the army
because he wanted
to control his own life.
“they own you,”
he said,
as he passed
the grass,
“uncle sam supports me
in the off chance
he wants me to go kill people”

Written in San Francisco, CA 2010
Author’s Thought:  One afternoon in the summer of 2010 I was aimlessly wandering around San Francisco without a place to sleep that night. It was a Sunday. I found myself  entering Golden Gate Park on the east side near Haight Street. Coming up on “Hippie Hill”  (where all the wanderers and scavengers migrate and stay), I was drawn by the thump and rattle of drums. Every Sunday hosts a drum circle in the park. On the sidewalk below the hill was a circle of all sorts of colorful people slapping skins of drums; shaking and rattling and dancing beneath the sky. It was loud. I found myself a seat on the hill, leaning against my little backpack, watching. There was a thick fellow with a crew cut a few feet down the hill from me. Eventually he invited me to sit with him to listen and watch. We talked, introducing ourselves. His name was Dave. He’d just quit the Army and was staying with his girlfriend in San Francisco. There is where the poems come in.

Later, I told him I was looking for a place to sleep; that I was thinking of finding myself a corner of the park to spread out my sleeping bag that night. He looked at me like I was mad and began pointing to all the crazed bums around us that would “fuck me up” if I slept in the park. He insisted I find a place somewhere else in the city to sleep. Somewhere inside. That night (after searching all over the city for a place to sleep well past midnight) I ended up staying at a hostel down an alley downtown. This one, in fact:

Categories: Puzzling Poems, Travel Poetry | Leave a comment

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