Hotel St. James


This transitory home is domicile
To gas lamp buildings lit like bric-a-brac—
And, blazoning scripted signage, its track
Of squiggled neon sings its beacon style.
Backlit by night, the city’s surge decrees
The surf and wash of California dusk
And beauty visits with a thousand vacancies.
The hotel’s silent windows blindly ask
The passing sun to make each pane a bed,
Each frame an invitation and each sill
A resting place where passing fancies perch
Like gulls that gather faith in wind to spread
Their wings. So San Diego’s pilgrims will
Divine each door a way, each room a church.


  1. Big Jon Bully says

    Great poem, thanks.

  2. Louise Orrock says

    It’s true that if you spend all your money on travelling you can’t afford to feed the gulls when you come back but you try putting up with the attention that I have here.

  3. Big Jon Bully says

    Again, terrific poem, but no mention of the infirmary?

  4. QUIN Finnegan says

    Nice! I especially like the windows asking “the passing sun to make each pane a bed”.

    • It was a relief to write it – haven’t written anything in six months…

      When you coming out to the farm? Make a date.



  5. QUIN Finnegan says

    And of course:

    “Well, God is in heaven
    And we all want what’s his
    But power and greed and corruptible seed
    Seem to be all that there is
    I’m gazing out the window
    And I know no one can sing the blues
    Like Blind Willie McTell …”

    • My brother in law, the liturgist who showed up at the WPC, listened to his first BD album from soup to nuts – I recommended Freewheelin’ – just because I wanted him to start out on milk before he went to meat. It was a success – he said he heard all these songs before and never realized they were all written by the guy from Minneapolis.

      Anyway, he’s most likely hooked. God help the world.



      • Quin Finnegan says

        Good work!

        I just missed you in Wisconsin, unfortunately. Professor Hren just got a job in Oregon, and since his wife and the new baby weren’t up for the cross country trip in the car with the two older kids, they hired a professional to help with the driving—namely, me.

        I begged to go by way of SG, bringing up OLG as a worthy site for the chillens to see, but Herr Hren was hell bent for Bismark on the first day.

        Maybe this fall though, no joke. I’m going to Atlanta and maybe Florida in the Fall, and maybe I can swing a return stop at Chicago.

Speak Your Mind