Lyon Street is a love letter to a perpetually reincarnating city that often fails to remember itself. Reading Lyon Street, says novelist David Scott Ewers, is to imbibe “a San Francisco of the Mind.” This art piece’s linked poems, playing as jazz solos over common changes, evocative artwork, street map design, and playfully archival elements conjure a San Francisco in which past and possibility provocatively entwine. Its poems animate a more dangerous, often tragic, yet truly gentle San Francisco lost, reckon with seismic shifts in this forgetful place, and come to embrace the enduring openness of life at Pacific’s edge.
Marc Zegans' Lyon Street is a unique contribution to the literature of the flâneur, that passionate wanderer keenly aware of the bustle of modern life, an amateur detective and investigator of the city. Zegans' examinations of the conditions of urban life, joy, memory, alienation, class tensions, are not those of a solitary, dissociated urban observer. Instead Zegans turns flânerie into testimony, and he brings the city of San Francisco to life in a Proustian memory palace of pleasure and regret.
—Richard Modiano, Director Emeritus Beyond Baroque Foundation
Marc Zegans’ seventh collection of poems is a work of beauty and truth from cover to cover, a Valentine to a City that never grows old, but that grows on locals and tourists, Beats and Punks. Lyon Street will likely take you back to a San Francisco that once was and still is alive in memory and in the names of streets and places eulogized in its pages. Ginsberg would recite it and howl with delight, Kerouac would take it on the road and perform it at jazz clubs from North Beach to Greenwich Village.
—Jonah Raskin, author of Beat Blues, San Francisco, 1955
Salt spray and bucket water on the rocks. Trieste espresso and I-Beam ejecta. Night fogs served shaken or with a twist. Chasers of dreams and loss. Heroic toasts to last calls. Aftertastes, lingering on empty sidewalks. Distilled evaporation. Reading Lyon Street is like drinking shots of a San Francisco of the mind. It's strong stuff.
—David Scott Ewers, author of Petrichor
In Lyon Street, Marc Zegans guides us through an evocative, at times wistful tour of a special corner of San Francisco, from the Presidio to the ocean, the Café Trieste, to the bawdy Condor. These poems are infused with jazz, ghosts of the Beats, and the first cuts of young love. This collection of love poems from “…the low register of my cabinet of memories…” soothes, informs, and haunts. A true gift.
—Ed McManis, McMania Publishing
Marc Zegans is an old soul who we’re lucky to have living in our times. He’s seen it all and reports back from the front lines in poetry like Whitman, Guthrie, and Ginsberg. He’s got deep San Francisco roots, a keen eye, and a sharp pencil — and the verse he delivers in Lyon Street proves the truth that words have power.
—Brian Hassett, author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Jack Kerouac and many other books
True poetry: rooted in San Francisco streets and cafés, lovingly evoking the actual, flowering into the myth of California, this collection has the look of a classic.
—Larry Beckett, author of American Cycle
For two decades I was obsessed with San Francisco before I even got there. When I finally arrived, I stayed for 25 years, and I still return often. Marc Zegans’ poetic expression captures and embellishes what I love about it: the Beat of City Lights bookstore, the indie-rock of the I-Beam club, delicious Asian food on Clement Street. Read these poems out loud and, “Listen to the Lyon inside of me.”
—Pat Thomas, author of Material Wealth: the personal archive of Allen Ginsberg
A beautifully crafted goodbye to the gone world we shared, Marc. We were wrong to think it would last our lifetimes, but right, I think, to have acted as if it were so. We were all so free!
—Patrick Gleeson master synthesist, noted composer, record producer, and Marc’s finest mentor