Noe Valley Voice February 2009


Poems by Genevieve Yuen


Trek home Sanchez Street
bursting blue cobalt twilight
an agent of change
cloud flower epiphany
a glimpse of godhead above

Waiting for the Bus

Bus stop, nonchalant
blackbird spiny feet planted
on asphalt solo
in his universe boarding... stop, the red cyclamen

Burn Baby Burn

You're burnin' up the
planet in your SUV
V Burnin' up the planet


Rose quartz translucent
rose dreams conjugation of
quartz beads each a
milestone, a world birthing a
matrix compression and fire

A Wild Man

A Yugoslav once
told me he loved me in front
of my children They, I laughed
--the joy was pure silver light
lightning gold gossamer threads

Cerulean City

Hanoi City lake
civic heart field of water
pagoda / gate / bridge
oasis of liquid calm
harboring Vietnam soul

New Job Title

I'll be tasting cheese
for a living for the high-
end tasters who've got
the bread Cheesemonger, title
supreme good taste in a job

Terms of Employment

Cheese tasting...tasting...
of nations of continents
salivary glands
wig out on my new job an
improvement on mental health

Epilogue (the Unhire)

Ca$h cashiering / not
cheese tasting Ennui reigns
feet despair machine
ca$h antithesis romance
ancient food memories Art

Café XO

Young Greek god's raison
d'être cakes art decor roses
fat Buddha Grecian
profiles prolific beauty
while you sip read lounge converse

Peach Tea

Wissotzky is
a real brand of tea, art graphics
Persian poets peach
tree dreams of doves' sophistry
high coo of symbiosis

Mole Tasting Contest
(on Day of the Dead)

Mole is not an
animal he explained It's
sauce ancient profound
mystery history bound
together in sublime taste

Fun Eating

Pick here / there your fave
delicious DeLessio's
yummies row on row
imagination's riot
plethora Thiebaud's fancy

Properties of Silk

Silk threads shimmer of
friendship strongest of fabrics
retaining warmth so
light scissor tongue unravels
tapestry moments frayed skeins

The Word Love

Calligrapher's heart
Mao's dictum / new China love's
epicenter now
a sum of oracle bones
a nascent modernity

A Bard Is Born

Fingers flying on
sleek keyboard, ideas crash
burn like Icarus
no matter fingers race a
lifetime marathon short sprint


Poet Genevieve Yuen finds that inspiration for her work is sometimes "sparked by difficult emotional episodes, which allow me to express my turmoil and deliver the drive necessary to put pen to paper. Other times it could be simply observing some exquisite or unusual scene in nature."

Her poems have appeared in Free Spaghetti Dinner, the Tenderloin Times, and the San Francisco Examiner haiku contests. A writing class introduced her to the tanka, which is a 1,300-year-old Japanese verse form, much like the haiku, except with two additional lines of seven syllables each (so the makeup is 5-7-5-7-7). "Being longer than haiku, tanka are more fun and challenging to write," Yuen explains. "I like both forms because they're a relaxing and relatively easy way for me to compose and complete a poem."

Yuen grew up in Chinatown, but has lived all over San Francisco, including at 29th and Noe streets when she was a teenager in the 1950s. She returned to Noe Valley for a few years in the 1970s as a single mother raising three kids. "It was a hippy village," she says. For the past 10 years, Yuen has called Randall Street home. She's currently working on a collection of poems titled sELf.