This is People's Park
where tattooed fighters planted rose tattoos
and roses grew
It's not a peaceful place.
The vines are tangled with our nerves.
Grass untidy as a drunk's beard.
Trees grow shopping carts.
Bushes grow sleeping bags.
Lilies of the valley smoke cigarettes
they just bummed, but with such style.
Here are sunflowers that'll steal your backpack
when you're not looking,
daisies crooked as game booths at the circus
and violets sticking out
their impudent purple tongues.
Or is that us?
I don't know. It doesn't matter.
When people come to Berkeley
they always ask to see People's Park
and when I show it to them
they don't see it.
I'm not going to walk them a few blocks,
watch their faces and try to explain.
Instead, I'll show them my hands.
"Here's People's Park", I'll say.
from Julia Vinograd's Blues for the Berkeley Inn