An American Werewolf in Japantown

An American Werewolf in Japantown

“The wolf, I knew,
would lead me deep
into the woods”
—Carol Ann Duffy,
“Little Red-Cap,”
The World’s Wife

Something—happened to me
When I was in Japantown—last weekend
Taking a walk down the Hill—from Pacific Heights
I met myself—in the Kinokuniya Bookstore

I met my Other—American Wolfboy
My Wolfboy Double—Hippy Sixties USA
The smell of Eucalyptus—Patchouli oil
Craving sushi—starved for Lupus Love

The Golden Gate Bridge—view from the Hill
The smell of clean ocean air—from the Bay
Strolling thru Lafayette Park—that evening
Funny how nothing’s changed—except me

Bringing memories back—now to 2009
Earlier times—SF Gay Literary Renaissance
Giving readings—gay bookstores in the Castro
And now my Double—all these years later

Finding myself standing—stoned & dazed
By the Kinokuniya Bookstore—in Japantown
My favorite haunt—whenever I’d visit SF
Staying at the Miyako Inn—enjoying myself

The Bowling Alley—long gone now
The soothing sounds—muffled balls and pins
As I drank tea—and cruised all the cute
Young Japanese boys after school…

Funny how things—come and go
Literary Renaissances—a long time ago
The Boys of Michelangelo—how they
Come and go—come and go

There I was—in Japantown USA
Looking at myself—in the store window
Of the Kinokuniya Bookstore—looking
At myself—a relic from the Sixties

Standing there—calmly observing myself
Tilting back my head—for a minute or two
Pretending to doze—my eyelids closed
Empty with no questions—to ask myself

Other than knowing—myself dead
Deader than a doornail—in a coffin or
Stuffed in a vase—in some mausoleum
My Wolfboy ashes tossed—into the Bay

Nobody would say—nodding knowingly
A great poet has died—we’ll miss him
And so will—the great Male Muse up
There on gay Olympus—weeping tears!!!

Hardly my dears—let’s get real…
What’s standing there—in the Kinokuniya
Bookstore window—isn’t Miss Whitman or
Allen Ginsberg—or Hart Crane

I’m not one of them—I never was
I never could be—I didn’t want to be
Naropa bored me—Boulder waste of time
Allen Ginsberg’s—sharp transgressive mind

Stonewall came and went—just like all
The gay bookstores—have all gone kaput
Proposition Hate—continues to disenchant
Mormon boyfriends—they’re so cute

Sam Hamill—Rexroth’s Zen Brother
Continues to rally—all the Antiwar Poets
Refuses to take Tea—in the Rose Garden
We all end up—Trolls under a Bridge

All my gay friends—they’re gone now
Dead or assimilated—Metrosexual Inc
Metropolis USA—everybody’s married
I’m just a lowly Zit—on the Zeitgeist

Standing here now—in Japantown
In front of the—Kinokuniya Bookstore
What do I know now—I didn’t know then?
What did I know then—I don’t know now?

Other than being—bitchy & disillusioned?
Sun and Moon Press—pulped into oblivion
Thom Gunn gone—man with night sweats
And me—just another American Werewolf?

Here I am—locked up in Coit Tower
Like Marilyn Monroe—in Niagara Falls
Sprawled on the floor—my purse scattered
Trapped with my—distraught killer husband
What happened—to the story?
We were never—meant to fail
It's not meant—to be this lonely
We were never—meant to fail

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