Amazing poem from Sally Potter

this is poem that Sally Potter, creator of YES, wrote about san francisco in lieu of her actual presence. like her film, it is beautiful,  insightful and revealing about herself and her reflections on our world today. also like her film, it deals at the same time with both personal feelings and political. i am also trying to attach a video of her reading the poem. one of these will be shown at tonight’s preview in san francisco.

Download YES.mp4

Not going to

San Francisco

I am not with you there because I’m here,

That is to say:

New York

, which isn’t near

You, at least not geographically.

To be in both cities, simultaneously,

Requires a skill I have not yet learned.

But I want to say: your city has burned

Its way into my dreams and memory….

Your crazy hills and mythic Haight Ashbury,

The flowers that I so wanted to wear,

Like the song: fragrant and lovely in my hair.

I was a young teen then in


, hot

To leave, yearning to be what I was not:

A revolutionary, making out

On mattresses with long-haired men, about

To protest at all that was wrong; to cry

For peace, end war, abolish every lie,

Distrust politicians absolutely,

And adore my girlfriends resolutely,

Believing there could be change so profound

That mountains would turn a little in the ground –

Just for the hell of it – and to prove

Nothing is too massive to move

If pushed by love and anger and the will

Of youth to find a way. And I would kill

Nothing for this dream, not one living thing,

For all was sacred and this was my spring.


San Francisco

was where you went to sing

And dance and to celebrate everything

That was the real


: black, white,

Men and women of every gender,

Loving each other, brave and tender;

Anything possible, everything good,

A life lived to the full, just as it should.

They said: you’ll grow out of this vision;

With maturity comes revision.

And, sneeringly, called it idealism.

We knew better: it was realism.

The taste of freedom was on my tongue,

But I was wearing school uniform, too young

To travel far, and poor, and so I read,

Watched films, and fantasized, instead.

If you’re younger than me you have a view

That’s longer than mine was, for you

Are standing on my shoulders, and can see

Farther and wider and infinitely

Faster; for you have the word and the net,

Enough information never to forget

That some things have gone very, very wrong:

We can no longer sing a self-love song.

Flowers, ”peace and love’’, now seem out-dated;

The words may change, but still it must be stated:

Yes, you can write your world exactly how

You want it, and, YES, you can do it now.

Sally Potter   

New York City

12 June 2005

One thought on “Amazing poem from Sally Potter

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