Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Dear Sebastopol -

I've been working on finishing a new manuscript called, "There's a Ghost in This Machine of Air" which focuses on the history of Sebastopol.  For our assignment this week, we were asked to revise a poem and change the "you" who is being addressed.  I did revise this poem, but when I tried to shift the "you" away from Sebastopol, I lost the heart of what I was trying to do.  So, I switched it back.  (The mural pictured here is the actual WPA era mural that is still in our post office and that I refer to in the poem.) Here is my revised poem.

Dear Sebastopol –

Hard  not to get dizzy, here, under tides of scent—how they grade and terrace the air:

salt thick tang of wet earth fat with limestone against sweet rot of wind falls.

Pine sap town built on stolen ground.  Wagon rutted streets.  Hills once lush

with redwood and oak, cleared to the root for embroidery of orchards.

Century-wide berths of scrub oaks smoldering in the Laguna.

A train that carried its screaming weight down main street.

But the WPA mural on the post office wall still frames:

the hard won promise of rows of apple trees flanked by white chicken coops.

Once your accepted story swallowed me under its bell glass sky.

Now, I wake slowly. Learn to waver in the air above what history we've learned

sense what’s pushing up underneath.

1 comment:

Lakin said...

love this!