Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Passing Through


Beauty is everlasting/and dust if for a time.  –Marianne Moore

Passing through the desert,
we stop and visit an old home from a past life. 
There is more desert to cover.  More dirt. 
More dull brown housing the praying trees,
the stubby barrel cacti, prickly pears,
sharp yucca.  The sterile, rocky land smattered
with, dappled with, the yellow creosote bush.
It’s not much. Slack fill landscape.   Gradually,
desert slips into tease of life, of fertile land.  Day
                        slips into night and night slips
on her softer evening colors. Elegance. 
Hitting city glitz
and freeway finally-
traffic.  Welcome to California.  It’s Friday
night and the megastores are lit lavender,
                      matching the luminescence
of the weather- gleam.  The mountains look like
 They pose,
                   positioned perfectly,
A charcoal drawing.  Shades darkening down
the page.
Pollution or setting sun – take your pick, prettifies
                  one wavy strip of pink
                   to the west. 
A gust of wind picks up dust.
A van swerves into our lane, then out,
a hand extending from the window. 
An apology.  I look out my window
from the passenger’s side
at the strip mall chapels where travelers pull
off to worship.
An exit sign says, Beaches.  Just- beaches.  Any beach
will do.  I am hungry for seafood at a waterfront
restaurant.  Shrimp
platters, fish and chips, crab.
I can’t yet smell the saltwater but I can taste
fresh seafood.   My stomach fusses,
growling.  Camarillo, A Thousand Oaks, Channel
I anticipate the sea.  Sanctuary.
Maybe, I was a mermaid in a past life. We are not
yet there and I dread return.  Maybe, I swam in pastel
painted waves with whales
still alive.


Driving back through
to desert.  Brown
here on out.
Or shades of brown:
green brush, yellow-
brown flowers, blue-
brown mountains,
grey-brown ground.
We pass a dozen or so
lopped palm trees,
fronds gone, leaning
beheaded, sad. 
A few mounds
of naked,
rocks piled like altars. 
We stopped the day
before at a row
of quaint beachside
antique shops.  Set up
in old Victorian type
houses.  Admired
a long necked orange
bottle.  A wicker
A few expensive
Now, we stop
to worship
at the crowded
outlet mall.
in no hurry to go
back home. 
I sacrifice only
a little to the gods
of brand name. 
in downtown
Santa Barbara. 
Maniacal throngs
past, push through
Coach; Versace;
Louis Vuitton
like seagulls
bickering over
their share of rotting
flesh.  I spend only
a small amount of
money on a
Calvin Klein black
shoulder strap bag,
with my reserve.
Fifty percent off! 
For God’s sake,
there was a wicker
in Ventura for twelve
hundred dollars. 

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