The San Francisco Sequence

01. CITY LIGHTS

going down to San Francisco
be a Bohemian too
going down to San Francisco
be a Bohemian too
North Beach
Broadway and Columbus Avenue

I knew a guy in San Francisco
he had a string of girls
I knew a guy in San Francisco
he had a string of girls
it started on Market
went clear around the world

I had a girl in my closet
a girl under my bed
I had a girl in my closet
a girl under my bed
I believed in a woman
I got fooled instead

I believed in a woman
I got fooled instead
I believed in a woman
I got fooled instead
those beatnik chicks
love to fuck up your head

City Lights
that’s the place I’m headed for
City Lights
that’s the place I’m headed for
get my education
down on their basement floor

going down to San Francisco
be a Bohemian too
going back to San Francisco
be a Bohemian too
North Beach
Broadway and Columbus Avenue

02. CHINATOWN BLUE

blue neon light in the deep white fog
blue neon light in the fog
blue neon light in the fog
not a single night owl
you’re the only late night dog

go down the steps you’ll always find a booth
in Wooie Looie Gooie’s Underground
in Wooie Looie Gooie’s Underground
at 3 am it’s the only place to eat in Chinatown

a bowl of beef rice for 25 cents
sliced green onions on the side
a tin pot of tea for a dime
go back to the kitchen
stand in the steam heat line

back on the streets, back in the fog
walking round in Chinatown
walking in Chinatown
at 4 a.m. you’re the only white boy around

Chinatown blue
Chinatown blue neon light in the deep white fog
deep down in Chinatown
at 4 a.m. you’re the only white boy around

03. SAN FRANCISCO BAY

1.
I was born and raised on the San Francisco Bay
I was born and raised on the San Francisco Bay

I’ll tell you a story of San Francisco
the year is 1965
there were a few other people running around
but fewer and fewer are still alive

we had the Bay Bridge with Treasure Island
we had the spotlights at night from Alcatraz
we had the Golden Gate lost in the fog
we did the Tenderloin Slide down on Turk and Hyde
to the hard bop beat of the Black Hawk Jazz

these things have changed
they’re not the same
since the day I went away
I was born and raised on the San Francisco Bay

2.
finger-painting museums
graffiti-covered whalebones
and some guy’s on the radio
singing like a rolling stone

Carol Doda’s dancing naked in a window up on Broadway
Allen Ginsberg’s dancing naked outside the bagel shop
and Kerouac’s down in Vesuvio signing autographs
with fake karate chops

these things have changed
no they’re not the same
since the day I went away
I was born and raised on the San Francisco Bay

3.
we had the whole Pacific Ocean
from Seal Rocks to Pacifica
the Fun House and the Do-Nut Shop
out at the end of the Haight Street Shangri-La

we had submarines in Vallejo,
motorcycles humming
up and down Telegraph Avenue
foghorns singing in the night
the Giants playing ball
at Candlestick – but that’s all gone

the Airplane’s at the Fillmore tonight
the Dead’s at the Avalon

and I’m standing on the street outside
to hear Jessie Fuller play
I was born and raised on the San Francisco Bay

04. JESSE FULLER

Jesse Fuller was a hard workin’ man
he was a one-man band
he could hold the blues in the palm of his hand
Jesse Fuller was a hard workin’ man

he played a kazoo and harp in a mouth harp rack
he played his fondella and one high hat
and a 12-string guitar strapped around his back
he played a kazoo and harp in a mouth harp rack

he played the steak houses down on Fillmore Street
stuck in a corner dancing with his feet
and everybody stuffed their faces with bar-be-cue meat
stuck in a corner down on Fillmore Street

speak up, Jesse Fuller, let me hear what you say
hey Jesse Fuller where are you today?
are you still livin’ out along the San Francisco Bay
hey Jesse Fuller what you say

05. BARBARY COAST SHUFFLE

he’s well-known on the Barbary Coast
tar and feathered he looks like a ghost

7-feet tall, weighs 100 pounds
a couple of buck teeth that almost touch the ground

shanghaied sailors know him well
he opens the door and sends them down to hell

oofty goofty
oofty goofty
oofty goofty
oofty goofty

he walks up and down Battery Street
top hat on his head, nothing on his feet

naked inside a sandwich board
see what’s written there – it says: praise the lord
and drop into Miss Lucy’s for a fine good time
I’ll book you passage on the Shanghai line

oofty goofty
oofty goofty
oofty goofty
oofty goofty

down on the waterfront in the afternoon
he’s drinking whiskey at Bill Maitland’s Saloon

but at night he’s got all the sailors up at Miss Lazerene’s Shop
crowding thru the door to see him do the old Rag Mop

they say he’s a clown, they say he’s a crimp
a theatrical fellow or just an ordinary pimp
some say he’s runnin’ round to chase the devil away
speaking for himself all he can say cay is

oofty goofty
oofty goofty
oofty goofty
oofty goofty

flip him a nickel, flip him a dime
he’ll book you a ride on the Shanghai line

oofty goofty
oofty goofty
oofty goofty
oofty goofty

06. MARKET STREET BACKSTEP

Song in progress

07. GOLDEN GATE

Words & music finished, song yet to be recorded

sail away, sailors sail away
cast you fate into the winds
around Cape Horn we’ll come sails rising
north to the Golden Gate

∙ ∙ ∙

we sailed out of Boston on the Ides of May
on the ship the Gypsy Moth
we were California bound

the Windward Islands off to port
we crossed the equator on St. Elmo’s day
we were going the long way around

God have mercy on our souls
God have mercy
sail away, sailors sail away etc.

∙ ∙ ∙

the coast of the Argentine we passed in a fog
St. Elmo’s fire in the rigging and the sails
whales, waterspouts and the southern cross

we cleared the Cape on a cold and bitter day
ice on the deck. frost bite on our hands
three men overboard, drowned and lost

God have mercy on their souls
God have mercy
sail away, sailors sail away etc.

∙ ∙ ∙

free from the Cape we sailed into the Doldrums
our sails lay still, the winds failed to blow
we prayed for salvation and were answered by a breeze

then the trade winds came down whipped the waves
carried us all the way into San Francisco
we stood upon dry land, under the green leaves of trees

God had mercy on our souls
yes, God had mercy
sail away, sailors sail away etc.

08. OCEAN BEACH

take me down to the ocean
let the waves flow around my feet
the old Pacific Ocean
down on Ocean Beach

the waves roll in
then the waves roll away from the land
high tide—low tide
got my foot prints in the sand

red sun setting
I’m looking into its eye thru the wind
all the way to China
and the Pacific Rim

the fog rolls in
the fog rolls in
and San Francisco slowly disappears
into the night

the fog rolls in
the fog rolls in
and the city is covered
in a cloud of glowing white

down here by the ocean
seagulls circle the sky
out on the horizon
a ship going nowhere
– sails by

the waves roll in
then the waves roll away from the land
high tide—low tide
got my foot prints in the sand

09. TOURIST IN MY HOME TOWN

strange creatures are afoot
on the ladder of my spine
dancin’ to a tune
of time out of mind

ghosts with no name
have caught me in a net
got me dancin’ to a tune
I’d rather forget

don’t ask me why
I keep coming round
I’m a tourist in my home town

can’t get out
can’t get in
the gate’s been closed
and I’m stuck again

the bridges are blocked
and the streets are asleep
the houses are locked
and the steps are too steep

there’s no more kick
in my old stomping grounds
I’m a tourist in my home town

buy a dozen postcards
of the Golden Gate Bridge
ride the cable car
up and down Nob Hill
pass by the house
where I lived in Chinatown
it’s been torn down

my eyes are clouded
my brain is blurred
my heart is speaking
but I don’t hear a word

I don’t think
I’ll ever understand
this drop of rain
in the cup of my hand

can’t go back
to lay my body down
I’m a tourist in my home town

10. TALKING NORTH BEACH

it was an old Italian restaurant on Washington Square
I was sitting there eating from my plate of spaghetti
the cook started talking about a poet friend of hers
his name was Lawrence Ferlinghetti

so I went down to his bookshop City Lights
he had a Manifesto of Human Rights
I bought myself a copy of Ginsberg’s Howl
sat down on the floor and read it right now

the very first line was a revelation
« I saw the best minds of my generation
destroyed by madness, starving hysterical –  »
I flipped out cause the thoughts in my head were much too numerical

I didn’t know if I was coming or going
I just kept reading that god damned poem
I turned a page and there in big words up above
it said the weight of the world is love

I knew if the weight of the world is love,
I’d have to find some way to get my love unplugged
maybe some wild woman who know all about men
or Gary Snyder with his teachings from the Zen

that’s when I saw this guy staggering down the street
drunk as a skunk, no shoes on his feet
he said I used to be a running back
they called me Jack Kerouac

I said Jack Jack, you’re just in time, I need a guide
show me the ropes and how to catch a ride
I read all your books Dharma Bums & On the Road
I think I’ll come along the next time you go

he said man, my hitch hiking days are thru
all the beats are gone now it’s just me and you
and soon I’ll be gone and ain’t it funny
all they talk about now is how to make money

so I sat down at my old typewriter
banged out a poem about The City Lighters
took it down to the corner, hoping to pay my rent
sold it to a tourist for 25 cents

well, this girl came along and said « Tell me what to do
I wanna be a real beatnik too »
She was six foot five weighed ninety pounds
she had long black hair that touched the ground

she had a black cat, she had rings around her eyes
like an old raccoon she caught me by surprise
she said I might look 46, but I’m a chick of 17
I’m a wild wild woman and I wanna make the scene

I said the first thing you gotta do is drop out of school
then we’ll go down to Mikes Place and shoot a round pool
drink some wine, smoke some pot, get astronomically high
go back to my pad and make the mattress cry

then you’ll write a poem about our topless sex
you can print on the mattress which is now a nervous wreck
take it down to the corner and with a little luck
sell it to the tourists for a hundred bucks

you see the cost of living was climbing sky high
for the average beat it was sell out or die
she sold her poem to a New York Rockerfeller
a million bucks it was a best seller

she became famous on the Jet Set Scene
got her picture in all the glossy magazines
got her face on the late night TV shows
the Pulitzer Prize for Purple Prose

she said it’s time for me to be moving on
I could hardly wait until she was gone
she took her cat, she took her raccoon eyes
the only thing she left behind was her beatnik disguise

I said just remember to be true to your beatnik roots
so she put on a pair of black high heel boots
moved across town where the kids were hairy
became a hippie in the Haight-Ashbury

me, I stayed down on the old Barbary Coast
nothing on my plate but tuna and toast
flat broke, no joke, no more tourists, no more chicks
Book of Revelations: Chapter Six

yes there I was all alone
so sat down and wrote a thousand page poem
about life and love and a music all the way from jazz to disco
I was the last beat poet in San Francisco

as the years went by I was always down to my last meal
but I’ve often wondered who got the best deal
was it she with her million bucks up in a cage?
or me with my poem of a million pages?

well, you figure it out if it was her or me
she spent her million dollars on LSD
I might be down to my last dime
but I can still write another line

postscript: just between me and you
there’s only two things in the world that seem to be true
one is that the world is not only inside your head
the other is something Allen Ginsberg said:
he said: the weight of the world is love

11. LAST TRAIN

listen to the clickin’
of the freight train movin’ down the track
listen to the clickin’
of the freight train movin’ down the track
it’s the last train from the city
and I don’t believe it’s ever comin’ back

I’m standin’ at the crossin’
countin’ boxcars on that train
I’m standin’ at the crossin’
countin’ boxcars on that train
most of them are empty
and my head feels just the same

now I’m standin’ on the city
kickin’ at the sidewalk with my feet
I’m standin’ on the corner
kickin’ at that sidewalk with my feet
the last train’s gone now
I’m trackin’ down a one-way street

the sun is goin’ down
and I’m walkin’ past the city limit sign
the sun is goin’ down
and I’m walkin’ past the city limit sign
I’ve got to catch that last train
before it gets too far on down the line

looking over my shoulder
at the city I’m leaving behind
SAN FRANCISCSCO
looking over my shoulder
at the city I’m leaving behind
SAN FRANCISCSCO
I’m gonna ride that last train
gonna ride it one more time

NOTE ON THE S.F. SEQUENCE

1. City Lights
2. Chinatown Blue
3. San Francisco Bay
4. Jesse Fuller Blues
5. Barbary Coast Shuffle
6. Market Street Backstep
7. Golden Gate
8. Ocean Beach
9. Tourist in My Home Town
10. Talking North Beach
11. Last Train

The San Francisco Sequence is a work in progress.
I’ve been working on it for 60 years.

Four of the songs have yet to be recorded
Barbary Coast Shuffle
Market Street Backstep
Golden Gate
Ocean Beach

Only one is incomplete lyrically
Market Street Backstep

To be up-dated.