June Pin-Up Poet Week #2: Julie Beveridge on Vancouver & San Francisco

This week, Julie and I continue our discussion about the concept of home and how travel can reveal some unlikely ones…

Over to you Jules,

*****

ALS: San Francisco and Vancouver are places that provide a home for you / the poet in home{sic}. What is it about those places that provided the space to call them home?

Having travelled to Vancouver a couple of times – when I went there last year (with you, remember?) it felt as though I was travelling home after a time away. The landmarks, spaces, the way the city moves all more familiar. A dear friend put us up and we came ‘home’ every night.

It was my second time to San Francisco too, after travelling there with my family as a young girl. The city came to me completely unfamiliar, though every now and then I would have a geographical memory  … I would find myself on the corner of something and somewhere street and just know how to get somewhere else (being six months pregnant this was usually around the need to go to the bathroom). Memory slides would flick over in my head of me as a nine year old being toured around the city by my father to all the tourist destinations.

When I travel I like to become a local and I soon found San Francisco had a pattern to it. Grant Street. Market Street. City Lights Bookstore. Vesuvios. North Beach. The Mission. A daily trek around these places became the routine. City Lights especially felt like home, having pregnant lady naps in Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s rocking chair most days while my husband (that’s you sharky!) methodically thumbed through every book on the shelf. China Town was our home. Sleeping thick in the belly of the beast and waking up each morning to the same beautiful Chinese women handing out the same beautiful menus.

Having said that, I struggled with San Francisco much like I struggle with Tasmania. I loved it, quite passionately, but don’t think I could ever actually live there. It’s a strange feeling to articulate.

Also, travelling pregnant, had a turtle like feel to it… not just because I looked like one. Our little family moved around together so effortlessly. We could be anywhere together and it would be home.

*****

Julie launches home{sic} at Riverbend Books on Tuesday June 19. Doors for the event open at 6pm with the event starting at 6:30pm. Tickets are $10 and are available by calling the store on (07) 3899 8555.

Here’s an excerpt from her long poem, Song for San Francisco.

*****

San Francisco

Your men hold their cameras like cocks
and your women cuckold
their overpriced waterfront shopping bags
each silk scarf a steal on Grant Avenue at a quarter
of the price made by the same
tiny brown hands

San Francisco

Your honest homeless men
spruiking change for weed or sex or alcohol
or their hundred dollar a day meth habit
Your homeless women absent
most likely sheltered together taking your
homeless men for every penny we provide

San Francisco

I came into your 20th Century history with eyes open
wanting simply to sit in Ferlinghetti’s chair contemplate
the feet that have walked these boards
read in this room
not knowing all the while that when I got here
I would take the photo like all the other tourists

San Francisco

You sell women from a specials board
today we have four girls
one Filipino, one Thai, one black and one white girl
she’s been on shift for a few hours already
… the others are hot, fresh and ready

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “June Pin-Up Poet Week #2: Julie Beveridge on Vancouver & San Francisco

  1. nice.. sounds like she paints a realistic and honest picture of san francisco..would love to read the rest of the poem as well..and loved the pic as well

  2. A fine capture of one section of SF.

  3. “Your men hold their cameras like cocks
    and your women cuckold
    their overpriced waterfront shopping bags”

    clever/hilarious, julie

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