Poem on Demand: “Your First AIDS Test”

Maybe this woman gave us the theme because it was Gay Pride Day and there were free tests being given.

Subject: “Your First AIDS Test”
Word Count: 15

Your First AIDS Test
Pass / fail tests – when do they ever get respect?
But this one cannot mean more.


Poem on Demand: “Front Yard Gardens…”

This theme was given by the red-headed woman who wanted us to write about “Why am I still single?” – for some reason that sparked a conversation but no poetry challenge.

Front Yard Gardens in San Francisco

Outside, flowers that grow in light.
Inside, life that grows in the dark.

New Poems & the Key to Prolific

My friend Mike and I have had this game we’ve been playing for probably five years.

We go to a bar or coffee shop with notebooks.

One of us will come up with a topic, and the other word count, and we write a poem in that many words about the topic.

Yesterday we were at Zeitgeist, which is probably the coolest spot in San Francisco. With a large outside beer garden (probably seats 150+), dozens of great beers on tap, and a crowd that gives you hope in humanity, Zeitgeist has become a regular spot of ours.

The beer garden’s share-tables-with-strangers thing stirs the pot.

So, yesterday the people sitting next to us noticed Mike and I writing and they asked what we were doing (every time Mike and I go out and write, people ask this). We told them we like to write.

Within minutes, one of the guys sitting next to us (who was wasted) said, “alright, I’ll give you a topic and you have to write about it!”.

We said sure, we could do that. He was surprised, we hadn’t told him that we typically invited strangers to give us a topic.

I asked him for a word count.

“150” he said.

“Usually we just do anywhere from 2 – 20 words, we like really short poems” I said.

“150!”. He was drunk and insistent and I could see I wasn’t going to win.

“The topic is — ‘diversity in this crowd!'”. He then allotted us 15 minutes. He clearly did not get the point that we like short poems so we can move on – after all, this is a drinking game.

I finished mine in about 5 minutes. I wasn’t racing, but I knew I was done when the thought that came to me was down on paper. Mike went down to the wire on time – there was a countdown that forced him to drop his pencil, as though he were taking the SAT’s.

So here is mine:

The Diversity in this Crowd

Do I define the diversity in this crowd
by the distance between my identity crisis
and the stereotypes that deny you yours?

There is only:
Who is here
And who is not
Who is sober
And who is not
Who is happy
And who is not.

But who is?
Who is?

The Olympic Torch Runner Political Issue: What San Francisco Should Have Done

We have all heard about the protests that have been accompanying the Olympic torch runners.

Olympic Torch Runner

In San Francisco today, city officials changed the scheduled route of the torch run when they took one look at the crowd on the Embarcadero.

I had the unique opportunity of taking the ferry this morning from the epicenter of where the protests were anticipated. At 8:00 AM, I watched a bus of policemen unload and get ready.

Rather than changing the route, which is sort of clever, I would have hired hundreds of decoys to run around with fake torches. The decoy runners would be armed with mace, stun guns and tear gas. That way, if anyone got too close, they could let loose and bring a few dozen people down before running off to safety – preferably a pub.

In my version of things, the hundreds of runners would have emerged simultaneously from AT&T Park and immediately sprinted in every direction possible. The confused crowd and media would be split into hundreds of tiny groups largely incapable of keeping pace with the runners.


When all the runners had ripped the crowd apart, I would have then had a fat guy emerge from AT&T park walking with the real torch.

Why a fat guy? Because fat people look funny trying to run. And carrying an Olympic torch, they’re even funnier. And in the middle of this mayhem: hilarious.

Oh, and I’d have him stop for a smoke break every few blocks.

No one would suspect a fat guy smoking cigarettes would have the real torch, so he’d be fine.

The “Me Vacation”

Every year, I like to take what I call a “me vacation”.

I started doing this 12 years ago.I like to go somewhere remote – the coast of Northern California and Oregon have been my favorite destinations.  I like to get a small, cozy place by the water.

Whereas typical vacations are usually about exploring your surroundings, I like the Me Vacation because I explore….well, me.   

I bring my laptop and my guitar.  I do a lot of yoga.  I bring books. I write.  I check-in with myself.This year I am finishing a work version of the Me Vacation.  People at work are referring to it as a “sabbatical.”  

I’ve been holed up for a week in my apartment designing the 2008 line of SEO products.There are some nice tricks to making a work week like this exciting (well, I love my work, so it would have been anyway).

I went to Trader Joe’s before the week started and spent $100 (which as you probably know, goes so far at that place) on tons of tasty, pre-prepared meals (well, I did cook once), and other treats.  They have a Cherry Vanilla “soy-cream” that is so amazing.And what made this week even more enjoyable was the rain.  

Having the heat cranked up, a hot pot of tea, and hearing the rain beat down on the roof as I designed exciting new products and listened to Groove Salad on beloved SOMAfm was my version of work heaven. 

On the topic of rain – I love the rainy season in San Francisco.  It reminds me of what a cozy city we have. 

Environmental Armegeddon: Real Estate Investments When Global Warming Hits Hard

We are all worried and anxious over the impending environmental Armegeddon.

However, there have got to be good investment opportunities as well.

I just sent the following email to my realtor, asking her to address the question in her upcoming San Francisco real estate newsletter.

“We all hear about the upcoming environmental Armageddon with flooded coastlines, water shortages, species loss, and longer and hotter heat waves.

I am wondering how I can turn this inevitable global tragedy into a golden investment opportunity. Where should I be buying land so that when human suffering is at its worst, my investments can command top dollar?”

Note: this is filed under “satire”.