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Boots on the beach
Photo by Margaret Polinder on Unsplash

San Diego is the city I know
Where I once went home —
Long ago, once upon a SoCal flow:

In my city
Are my haunted memories
I go hard because
My city hardened me
My city has a slow swag
It’s made my fast pace lazy
Seasalt on the windy nights
My city still goes crazy

San Diego
On my rubber kicks
Sidewalk beat, under my feet
San Diegan kids
We knew how to live
We take more than what we give
San Diego soul
Hillcrest on worn-down soles
Toesocks in old Ugg boots
Abercrombie & rich; we loot

In my city
The Balboa Park rings true
Shopping carts, stole from Kmart
Police are deep in blue
Whites and Whites
No Blacks in sight
Until El Cajon Boulevard
There Hispanics join to ride
Saving for green-card brides

Ocean Beach sells expensive peach
You spend more than at Trader Joe’s
The Vons committee in my
Pretty angled city
Has security speed-dial phones
Gated gardens bloom for the rich
Lambs blood on thresholds
Privilege is fed in silver spoons
Hell, injustice on fine china bowls

“No silver in my cavities
My health care covers more than that!”
Pfizer Permanente bragging
Out the mouth of a spoiled teen brat
The pastor has the vintage wine
His sons steal it all the time
When San Diego guys pay the dime
The girl next door will kiss and lie
My city is pretty, all the time

Surfers on coastal time, gangsters only real online
Avoid rush hour traffic at 5 weeknights
But speed on with me and we’ll SouthernCali style stay fly

Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

Heather D’Aoust is a nonbinary writer, artist and author of two books, who also publishes under the pen name Jeff-Free. A practicing Buddhist, D'Aoust is incarcerated in California.