707 Scott Street: The Journal of John Wieners

707 Scott Street: The Journal of John Wieners (Sun & Moon Classics)

A reminder that just because something is printed, doesn’t mean it’s good. I got hip to this book from Welcome to Painterland and figured I’d check it out, the journal of a poet from 1959 living on Alamo Square in 707 Scott Street. Unfortunately, like my own journal from age twenty-five, it contains little of value. Unlike me, John Wieners was doing a lot of heroin and peyote and writing a lot of nonsense, hepped up on his conception of himself as Poet. Mostly I read this hoping for some sense of what life was like in that spot, oh so many years ago. No mention of the park; the only mention of the house is that Chinese kids who live on the floor above beat and stomp the floor while a car horn “busts our ears.” They drive to Sausalito and down to Big Sur, they have a lot of parties, they have poetry readings with Michael McClure and Jack Spicer. Wieners writes a lot of crap poetry in this. Only the last sentence is of interest, and only after a lot of tedious buildup: “In the green shadow of the lamplight absolute reality is all I am interested in, the light shining on the silver edge of these keys, the magic formation of the letters in rows upon the green field of the paper, looking like the shadowed corner of a garden, elaborating on none of this, entering in communion with it, picking up speed as I go further in, looking out that nothing disturbs me from it, this place which cd. be called, magic, but which is not, is only here, 707 Scott Street, San Francisco”