The Place That Inhabits Us: Poems from the San Francisco Bay Watershed

Every day is made better by a dose of poetry. A goal for this year is to read at least a poem a day, something I’m helped tremendously by Matthew Ogle’s daily email, Pome.

This collection caught my eye when I was trawling the library shelves for something nearby. Tapping into people’s thoughts about the Bay Area from current poets and earlier ones (Rexroth, Milosz, Gunn, etc.), it comes close to capturing the magic of this nature-abundant, foggy sunny paradise that is San Francisco. Because this is my site, I’m allowed to play favorites; the one that captured my heart was Alice Jones’s The Bay, which ends with a section of words that smear around like a jelly donut in your mouth:

bone cold skin nip capillary constrict clipped off sting lips flip flop fat layers gone cold useful jelly fish numb-toed slop slung song overwashed and underworried the sea swishes its tail around drinks what it likes spits out takes in abrades harries the dry people rising sea levels melting polar glaciers beach front lot it’s a matter of time lycra in the bay stretched belly rubber and polyfoam plastic goggles salt licking and licked can’t help goes down the mouth tube how unsteady the land is when you stand up afterwards with ebb tide out the gate thousands of gallons in one narrow space the bay sinks 6 feet of water swept out solidity and substance flux flowing around itself buoyed up drunken