Cunning Crow Books

Books, poems, and sketches by Dan Richman and friends

The Statue of Mary before St. Phillip’s Church

They made her look about 13. As if she had never been called upon by angels. Never visited by their King. Never delivered a child who two thousand years later still haunts the souls of millions.

That’s alright with me. It’s just nice to look at an innocent young thing in this age of premature sexuality, though this one’s made of stone. Read the rest of this entry »


Sexy Seal

I had to anchor my ancient cabin-cruiser near the San Rafael Bridge after the engine died. While I crawled around down below with a flashlight, I heard my woman friend on deck talking away. To whom, out there, I wondered? Ten minutes later I cautiously stuck my head out of a hatch and heard a splash.

Aw, you’ve scared him away!” my friend complained. Read the rest of this entry »

SF Sketches

winter2011_12 030Living in the heart of San Francisco as I do, I travel through many streets every day, by car, bus, or on foot, and I see and hear things that intrigue me or at least amuse me. I love recording them and I thought it might amuse you to read some of them. As I run into more interesting people, animals, birds, and things, I’ll jot them down and add them to these sketchy sketches.


Cante Jonde

I knew a woman forty years ago, long, long before I began writing things down, a native San Franciscan, tall, shapely, raven-haired. Her face was painfully sensitive. She was generous. She read Virginia Wolfe and Faulkner. And she was an accomplished flamenco dancer. That’s how we connected. I’ve played flamenco guitar since I was a kid, never very well, but well enough to hang around the edges of that world. We met at a party and discovered we shared something a bit out of the ordinary.

We spent some time together, Alicia and I, and she told me her story. Read the rest of this entry »



Houses that have been shut up for a while, that have had no humans living in them, or probably no animals either besides rats and mice and pigeons swarming on the sooty window-sills, are disturbing. I find that to be so, anyway, and having been a builder in San Francisco for more than thirty-five years, I’ve had the experience more than once of pushing open a stubborn door and setting foot on a creaky floor that hasn’t felt a human foot for months, maybe years.

That is, a living human foot.

I only saw a ghost once. Read the rest of this entry »

Bus Sax

One of the best things I ever saw on a bus was on a late-night 9X from North Beach to Market Street. I sat up toward the front. The driver was a very pretty young black woman.
A scruffy white guy got on. No, not really scruffy. He was a beatnik. That was the way you looked if you were a North Beach Beatnik. Never mind that the Beatniks had supposedly died off about sixty years ago. Read the rest of this entry »


Geronimo and I were driving past the BART Station at the south-east corner of 16th and Mission. Even through the closed windows of the car we could hear a woman shouting through one of those public speaking mikes.

“Jesus viene para salvarlos! Quiten sus pecados!” Et cetera.

The arrival of Jesus was imminent, according to her. But I had been hearing her colleagues bellowing the same thing for the forty years I had passed that corner. Read the rest of this entry »

Wor Wonton Soup

The weather was crashing and banging over my head, I was soaking wet and cold, and I had just missed a bus that was a rare creature at night.

OK, I thought. The gods have spoken. Instead of waiting in the rain for the next bus, or walking home in it, I’d pop into Tung Sing’s for a bowl of wor wonton soup, good and hot. Then, with a full stomach I’d see if my luck improved.

The owner, Cindy, greeted me warmly as always. We went back a long way, back to the days when the neighborhood at least had memories of being working-class. Read the rest of this entry »