Kathleen McClung

How to Drive in San Francisco

Purchase or borrow a fleck of rust. Add an engine. Stir.
You may prefer a bike with a helmet made of hemp.
Camper vans are not allowed except for Airbnbs.
My friend works for the Bicycle Coalition and approved this poem.

You may prefer a bike with a helmet made of hemp.
Your life depends on how you lock it.
My friend works for the Bicycle Coalition and approved this poem.
Members have more sex, on average, than pedestrians.

Your life depends on how you lock it.
Thieves carry bolt cutters and Power Bars from Trader Joe’s.
Members have more sex, on average, than pedestrians.
Join LinkedIn groups. No more than nine.

Thieves carry bolt cutters and Power Bars from Trader Joe’s
although parking is impossible there.
Join LinkedIn groups. No more than nine.
Chat often with lonely people in other time zones.

Although parking is impossible there,
Fisherman’s Wharf is more than a tourist trap.
Chat often with lonely people in other time zones.
They sometimes fly in and treat me to fancy crab dinners.

Fisherman’s Wharf is more than a tourist trap.
Sailors with trombone tattoos cluster during Fleet Week.
They sometimes fly in and treat me to fancy crab dinners.
We pretend to haggle over the check.

Sailors with trombone tattoos cluster during Fleet Week.
Many visit the Ferrari showroom on Van Ness.
We pretend to haggle over the check.
Einstein said imagination trumps knowledge.

Many visit the Ferrari showroom on Van Ness.
Everyone leaves changed somehow.
Einstein said imagination trumps knowledge.
I’m pretty sure he rode a bike.

Everyone leaves changed somehow.
My friend from the Coalition checked the archives.
DELETE: I’m pretty sure he rode a bike.
INSERT: Einstein loved bicycles. In fact, he invented them.

My friend from the Coalition checked the archives.
Purchase or borrow a fleck of rust.
Einstein loved bicycles. In fact, he invented them.
Camper vans are not allowed.

Author Portrait

Kathleen McClung, author of Almost the Rowboat, has poems in Mezzo Cammin, Unsplendid, Atlanta Review, Ekphrasis, Heron Tree, Naugatuck River Review, A Bird Black as the Sun: California Poets on Crows and Ravens, Raising Lilly Ledbetter: Women Poets Occupy the Workspace, and elsewhere. Winner of the Rita Dove poetry prize, the Maria W. Faust sonnet award, and the Shirley McClure poetry prize at the Los Gatos-Listowel Writers Festival, McClung is associate director of the Soul-Making Keats literary competition. She teaches at Skyline College and the Writing Salon and has lived in San Francisco for over twenty years.

View the website of Kathleen McClung