Whatever Pleasures (North Beach Poem # 37) by William Taylor Jr.

Another day readied for the scrapheap
of forgotten things,
and I’m doing what I can
to keep the fear at bay long enough
to make it through the afternoon,
stockpiling whatever pleasures
I stumble upon, however strange or small.
There’s a pretty girl down in Kerouac Alley
standing in the sun in a purple dress.
She’s posing  for someone’s photograph,
as perfect as anything that was ever dreamed.
She catches my eye and smiles,
acknowledging the fact of us
caught together in this moment,
uselessly beautiful and absurd,
her presence a momentary balm
for all the meaner things that forever lurk and hover.
Her smile lingers as I sit with everything
lost and ruined and forgotten,
everything murdered and betrayed
throughout the years
hunched upon my shoulders
like a dirty beast.
I go to the bathroom
and then the bar for more wine
and return to find her gone.
I take a drink for us both
and look around for something
new to dream.

William Taylor Jr. lives and writes in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco. His work has been published widely in journals across the globe, including The New York Quarterly, The Chiron Review, and Catamaran Literary Reader. He is the author of numerous books of poetry, and a collection of short fiction. He is a Pushcart Prize nominee and was a recipient of the 2013 Kathy Acker Award. To Break the Heart of the Sun is his latest collection of poetry.

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