Wednesday, March 10, 2010

california children

well here we have it. in my Walt Whitman course I have gotten to know a very dynamic man who was also a master of the long line, something rather beloved to me. we're clearly kin, and even as i acknowledge his poetry's shortcomings and sometimes annoying quirks i find that i will always intrinsically empathize with/ love him. i have been writing with a long line for a few years and i love it well, but reading so much Whitman has given me a sort of insatiable poetic urge which is really very beneficial for me... and crazy for me; i write so often, and every time i do i think that i've just written the best thing i've ever written. it is truly spring for my writing. i cannot emphasize enough the meditative ecstasy of reading a good Whitman poem. though it must be said that many of his poems are a bit of lengthy bore punctuated by sporadic total genius. if you enjoy poetry it couldn't hurt to take a swing at Whitman. he's such an odd character. i was struck immediately by how infinitely dimensional he is as a personality. one is inclined to love him, and hate him, find him racist and unschooled, or naive and simplistic. here as usual the work speaks for itself:

What is commonest, cheapest, nearest, easiest, is Me,

Me going in for my chances, spending for vast returns,

Adorning myself to bestow myself on the first that will take me,

Not asking the sky to come down to my good will,

Scattering it freely forever.

california is my home and it offers endless imagery to any one who cares to look. when i feel moved to write a poem it is generally because i feel moved by my life in california. moved by the land and by the friends that i have met in my time here. i hereby declare that i have the best of california friends, children of california through and through. we have seen wild times, days and nights of nothing to do but get in trouble, 'going in for our chances, spending for vast returns.' i fondly look forward to many more years of by-the-beach laying, camping, river-swimming, road-tripping, land-exploring, laugh-sodden days and nights with all of you. hillary, nora, hannah, lorena, shana, celeste, shiva, chellsee:
i love you all with absolutely drunken abandon. i wrote this poem about it. don't forget the timeless words of john stewart, as sung with the help of lindsay and stevie:

california girls are the
greatest in the world;
each one a song in the making.

California Children

In the sun we are hot and young; we contain the craze and wisdom of our seasons. We kick off the sodden reeds and dank green mud of the wetland we have wandered through to arrive at the present-- covered in dust and free as coyotes. among the things we know is so much flora:

trees of all kinds, burned to the ground, untouched, river-side. Live oaks draw beaded threads of blood along our bare legs. Eyes as soft as a heart in a hand, sun-seeking.

Among the things we know: the drop of a needle on crackling dust, revolving record. The Beach Boys. The Twist. The swell and ebb of a storm in the night, the shifting black tides. The heavy sodden Summer Time.

Leaning into the backseat we could exhale for years. We never do stop. We could sleep as if enchanted infinitely. We never do stop. We long to be light as leaves. We carry weights in our chests, lead-cast, shaped like someone else's heart.

and among the things we have known are thousands of moments of light. some were unmistakable and some revealed in hindsight. the short, black tail of a lynx, the legend of gram parson's palm tree, shading the hot spring. the ones we found beautiful and their shoulders. skewed vision, starry sky, blurred color. succulents thriving in the sun.

whisky or dry red wine; what's mine is yours, what's yours is mine. air heavy with smoke, the things you don't shout about, all that we do admire:

Five gear clutches and room to dance! Young as the moment, seeking our land; our coast, creeks, our red river, our own vibrantly pigmented, fibrous and foliated time.


Variable said...

Allison I'm in love with this, it is gorgeous.

Variable said...

my co-worker called joanna's new album "rambling" can you believe? people don't devote enough time to listening to music, that is there problem. they don't understand the concept of absorption

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