The Comparative Literature Undergraduate Journal

A Premier Humanities Research Journal at the University of California, Berkeley

following the yellow brick road

Jennifer Carter

I rise as the wind speaks to me in punctuation marks
creaking throughout the house, howling beneath the doorjambs
the rhythm of the night accentuates in tango step
with the beats of the inner city lights, beacons through the fog
mismatched socks and fruitless ravings of bums
scattered along the intersection of Haight and Stanyan
wading through mists of incense, stumbling through beaded curtains
tripping over my mind
tripping along the gutter
falling in between the cracks
stifling, as the thickness of the dense, brooding clouds
dew drops encasing the red-tainted span of steel columns
the massive iconography of eclectic rolling hills and cable cars
stickily sweet melted chocolate scraped off Van Ness
running into the deep creases of my chin
staining my fingernails
staining the sidewalk
smearing into my cleavage
mingling with the salty, crunchy sea air
washing it down with precipitation
the wafting air of garlic tumbling down the streets of North Beach
kissing the night sky and the chilled air along Mission
the impassive tourists counting their change
as they toss pennies into the Wharf, at the beached sea lions
flinging their discarded crab shells into the streets
crunching beneath the weight of my feet, pulverizing into sand
that washes up along the banks of the Marina District
my belly filled with sourdough, seeping out from under my eyelids
yeast and salt rising with the ebb and flow of the Bay
returning home, I trudge bare breasted, brazen to the wind

San Francisco, 10.18.09

Jennifer Carter is a writer and poet from the San Francisco Bay Area. She holds a BA in English with additional research in Women’s Studies and Cultural Studies. She’s the founding editor of the online literary journal The California Journal of Women Writers. An avid traveler and outdoor sports enthusiast, she uses her experiences to add to the life and richness of her creative work.