Friday, March 2, 2012

Poem: Stage Coach Trail

Another of my Chelsea poems. If Chelsea had not accepted my work those many years ago, when I was just starting out, I might have quit writing poetry. That legendary journal, now dormant, provided me with the boost of morale I needed to handle many years of rejections, self-questioning and artistic struggle.

Thank you, Chelsea!

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Stage Coach Trail

in a cascade of sandstone,
i sat on a boulder,
staring out over
velvet ears of sage
and angry bursts of
nettle, crying
because smog
corked the San Fernando Valley;
and the mighty Los Angeles River,
once strummed by seasons
into dryness and flood,
cowered within a sheathe
of concrete.

and i wondered at the erosion of
Stage Coach Trail, its fracture
into huge tan molars
no horse could attempt,
let alone Wells Fargo—
how these chunky sharp stones
tore the hills apart
as quickly as developers
sewed them into green lawns.

and i wondered who would win,
lattice or the ancient crone
whose skin is these rocks,
whose hair is the smoke bush
and creosote, whose lips
are desert flowers and toyon berries,
who wrinkles beyond hope
of friendship with the smooth obedience
of asphalt.

twin vultures said no one
could win. but my eyes
lingered, tracked oozy black cloaks
that crept toward a cowardly sun.
an owl gave a rueful moan as i shivered,
waiting for bats to scrawl
their luminous violet prayer.

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