top of page

[Poetry] Two Poems by Charles Joseph Albert

Tourist in the City


When you step off of the train in San Francisco,

you are faced with daunting choices and decisions:

do you rush to Russian Hills, go downtown for MOMA thrills,

or cruise out to the funky ethnic Mission?


And those caffees in the North Beach, all so Euro—

oh, they call to you with roasted madder fruit.

Or within easier reach are the sands of Baker Beach,

where you wouldn’t even need a bathing suit.


You can people-watch the whole day in the Castro,

where the custom is a costume made of leather.

They are stranger of late than they were in the Haight

where the brains are still as foggy as the weather.


Skip the crass commercialism of the Warf, oh!

but not Chinatown’s cheap cow-meined chicken beaks.

You’ll spend more than your fair share if you shop at Union square

and breathe hardest if hike up to Twin Peaks.


But don't ever go off Hunting at the Point, no.

You can also take away the Western Add.

And your stakes will be purloined in the dicey Tenderloin,

Expect prospects in the projects to go bad.


Then when you come back home from San Francisco,

snoozing in your comfy suburbs, flat and bland,

you might find yourself hoping that one day you'll be coping

as a denizen of manic San Fran Land.




My Father Went to Baja Once


My father went to Baja once

to fish the Cortez Sea,

and met a fellow countryman,

an older man than he,

retired in a beachfront home

with two girls, age thirteen.

He said that he had bought the two

"to scrub his body clean."


They cooked his dinner, kept his house,

they filled his every whim.

Their eyes, Dad said, were strangely blank,

and never looked at him.

But in that hard and dusty land

some folks die young and lean

unless some Gringo buys their girls

to scrub his body clean.



Charles Joseph Albert is a metallurgist by day, a husband and father at night, and a poet and author on the trolley ride in between. His work has appeared recently in Short Edition, Jerry Jazz Musician, and the Lowestoft Chronicle.


bottom of page