Monday, February 23, 2009


Outside curve exceeds inner
And solid axles can't
Divide the difference, so
When trolleys turn on
F-line by the bay you get
A quotient screamed
In tortured iron.
Other dinosaurs bray
Back-molar noise
At Embarcadero and
Childhood, but none you
Can ride up
Market Street.


  1. This is an exquisite gem. Even if I couldn't re-experience it here because I've been there on the F-line, I grok it! Will

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  3. Thanks Will,

    I believe you were born in San Francisco, but for those unfamiliar with --or who'd like to hear its noise while touring-- the city, I should say the poem is about curve squeal. Curve squeal is caused by lateral creepage of wheels on railhead. Its frequency runs from 400 to 8000 Hz at around 120 dB. In other words, when a streetcar negotiates the bend between Embarcadero and Don Chee Way peoples' ears have been known to curl up and crawl into their heads to escape.



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