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  • Amy Stephenson

San Francisco Gothic

(this one's an oldie from tumblr, but you don't have to read it, i just didn't want it to die there)


You scrub at the mold. You scrub until the paint starts to wear. There is more mold under the paint. Your sinuses fill and blood pours out of your nose. No, it’s not blood. It’s mold. Your sponge is mold. 


A man is telling you about an app. “It’s tinder,” he is saying, “but for mismatched mid century modern furniture. It’s VC backed.” Is the man oddly square-ish in the shoulders? No, he is square-ish all over, because you are talking to an app. You absently realize that it cannot love. 

The french woman next door is washing her minivan in her driveway. You think about the water as you watch her. There will be no more water in a year, they say. She turns around to face you, the hose gushing indifferently into the street. “The tech people gentrified San Francisco,” she tells you. 


There is a letter tacked to the door of your apartment. It says only: “San Francisco is in a boom.” It is from your landlord. 

You read a book on the 71. You look up, and realize that everyone else on the bus is looking at a cartoonish map of your city. You quickly go back to your book. “How do you get to Golden Gate Park?” one of them asks. You don’t know if they’re talking to you, so you pretend to keep reading. “How do I get to the bridge?” They’re all looking at you, now. “Where are we on this map? Where are we? Where is the bridge?”


You are talking to a man at a bar. “I am moving to Brooklyn,” the man says. He leaves the bar. As you wait to order another drink, you can’t help overhearing the conversation next to you. “I am moving to Brooklyn,” a woman tells the bartender. She signs her credit card slip and leaves. You look around as one by one, the bar empties out. They are moving to Brooklyn. They’re all moving to Brooklyn. 


On your way home, you stop for a bite to eat. When the check arrives, the waitress informs you that this establishment does not accept credit cards. You walk to the corner to the ATM. There is a handwritten sign taped to the ATM that says “CASH ONLY.” 


An officer savagely tackles a homeless youth and kneels on his back while a nearby dog barks incessantly and strains against its lead. The man standing next to you says “That kid is a loser with a trust fund. They only come here because San Francisco babies them.” The man talking is 32. He is still a libertarian. “GET A JOB,” he yells, not looking up from his phone.  



a coyote in golden gate park, 2013

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