If You Go Back to San Francisco
you could sun some days on deck
but you couldn’t skip time like stones
over water. Deep in the Mission
none of the boys would be you
back in your leather jacket and jean shorts
back in the thick of youth, none of them
hearing the music you’re remembering.
Play it again: which friends you fucked
at which party, whose heart you broke,
who died. Somebody was an artist,
everyone was a writer, or else
the other way, back to San Francisco
I’ll follow faithful as a shadow
changing shape. Look, the club
where you used to dance with Miguel,
gone now—and the men who watched,
what happened to them? No filter
can compete with the fog like it spread
the nights that repeat yourself
young and naked in your mind
in the crowd’s warm center, never darker
your hair. Blond thing I am, younger
than you were then: do I hold you there?
Or, like a matte around a portrait,
sharpen your edge.
Jameson Fitzpatrick is the author of the chapbook Morrisroe: Erasures (89plus/LUMA Publications, 2014), which collects 24 takes on a single undated, untitled text work by the artist Mark Morrisroe, who died of AIDS-related illness in 1989. Jameson’s poems have appeared in The American Reader, The Awl, The Literary Review, The Offing, Poetry, Prelude, and the Tin House online feature Broadside Thirty (poems in thirty lines or less by poets thirty or younger), among others. He is the editor of the Lambda Literary Review Poetry Spotlight, teaches in the NYU Expository Writing Program, and lives in New York City.
Photograph by Marcelo Yáñez
This poem first appeared in Lumina.