SF Stories: John Ross

Pub date October 16, 2012
WriterJohn Ross

46TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL Coming out of the underground

On the BART escalator,

The Mission sky

Is washed by Autumn,

The old men and their garbage bags

Are clustered in the battered plaza

We once named for Cesar Augusto Sandino.

Behind me down below

In the throat of the Earth

A rough bracero sings

Of his comings and goings

In a voice as ronco y dulce

As the mountains of Michoacan and Jalisco

For the white zombies

Careening downtown

To the dot coms.

They are trying to kick us

Out of here


They are trying to drain

This neighborhood of color

Of color


This time we are not moving on.

We are going to stick to this barrio

Like the posters so fiercely pasted

To the walls of La Mision With iron glue

That they will have to take them down

Brick by brick

To make us go away

And even then our ghosts

Will come home

And turn those bricks

Into weapons

And take back our streets

Brick by brick

And song by song

Ronco y dulce

As Jalisco and Michaocan

Managua, Manila, Ramallah Pine Ridge, Vietnam, and Africa.

As my compa QR say

We’re here now motherfuckers

Tell the Klan and the Nazis

And the Real Estate vampires

To catch the next BART out of here

For Hell.

John Ross (1938-2011) was a street poet, shit disturber, author, and for some 20 years, the Bay Guardian’s Mexico City correspondent