Justin Hall's personal site growing & breaking down since 1994

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Mission District

San Francisco, CA

A culturally rich, property value poor neighborhood. Even in the year that I have known the Mission I have seen an increase in the number of Bars, Boutiques, and Boulangeries - hip businesses that cater to the ever influxing alternorad college graduated legions of alienated twentythings.

I came to live here in the summer of '94, with the Cyborganics. Attracted by the cool culture, great weather, and the cheapest rent in this exorbitent city, over ten of these folk have lived on the same well-placed side street at once.

Valencia West and North is pretty hip, college graduateds who like cheap rent. Mission street East and South is ethnically varied, Black, Latino, and Asian, who like cheap rent, for different reasons. Of course, I am a white hipster, so take it all with a grain of salt.

To get a sense of today's Mission, my friends Jonathan Steuer and Jorge.

mission (1/9/95)

I saw a gentleman
talking with a lady
and as one hunter to another
it mattered not

so pass I saw
one step removed
from musician to newspaper men

cry the chorus of crackheads
bald souls with livers cirrossed

a bald black sentry
jackets changing
with his seasons

Esta Noche
two latino transvestite gangbangers
are cop coralled outside

"late nite"
every morning
handfuls of change from cheating public transit
you wonder at their connection

I have seen minds
made great by whiteness
but I have their rapacious repartie

as legions of rejects pace by me again,
I see only the beginning of their trip
sometimes I return at night to see the end.
never did I have the strength to make it with you

on a lit street but two from empty
Carlos Guitarlos wishes he only had a brain

when I peeled a layer of soot, grime, and grunge
I found the nations top collegians
were raising your rents
as the chiq surpass the meek
a few outcroppings of humanity
in a sea of the unwashed

one night I joined your ranks
"you homeless too?"
childlike, twitching, curious
all I could say was
"not yet"

I wish I left behind
my upbringing at the door
as it was, it took me months to unlearn it
my slang,
entered in street parlance,
had much to teach me.

I was on acid,
and couldn't you tell?
it was like a play
me and Michelle
you were leaning in a refrigerator box
to extract the useless
scars on your face and cracked bluish lips
betrayed your knowing cynicism
about your tweaker friends
but you prefer speedballs.

hookers bagged legs
and pimps wicked gaze
how could they talk that fast?

I was offered more coca and chiba
than I could snort or shoot in a day

I mingled freely with gangbangers and the broken
because I wasn't visiting,
and yet as a voyeur,
I kept my distance.

mostly of the white
the young come here
for their stint on the other side
or close proximity to their man
or maybe the cheap rent

the bars, boutiques and boulangeries
are here for them
if they never settle,
can they change the hood?

are you the next Haight Ashbury
destined to religation of white hipness?


san frisco | life

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