“50 States: 1 Kelp” –a poem inspired by Bob Hicok’s “Primer”
AFTER BOB HICOK’S “PRIMER”
(written on Pine Mountain May 17, 2008)
I remember California violently as the place I go
to be in California. The right hand of America
waving palm trees or the left
flipping into traffic a bird to send home
from the freeway to another. I lived in California
for forty some years. The state bird
is a peacock. The state flower
is Goldie Hawn, which sounds supercilious
though it is merely flashy and sound of breath.
A Californian can use the word “breath”
can surprisingly use the word “surprise.”
True truth California is not west but left.
When I go back to California I drive through Nevada.
There is off I 15 in Nevada a strip, so life
goes scrub scrub scrub strip. I salute at money
which we’re not getting along with
on account of the loans as I slip.
Then Nevada goes scrub scrub scrub
casino, goodbye strip. You never forget
how to be from California when you’re from California.
It’s like riding a Santa Ana and surfing.
The Mojave desert is a spare country
in case the San Andreas faults. I live now
on Pine Mountain which has flies and birds
but is named the same as its trees.
I live in the trees again which is windy
but so is my mouth on my face is doing
shockingly there’s an opening like a cave
needs fire. The statement is blank.
“Hutash, we beseech you, rise and give us surf”
is how we might sound if we were Chumash in August
when June hasn’t ended. June
is 18 months long in California.
We are beach lovers who by June
want to fire the sky for being so gloomy
and damp with us. “Why do I have to grow up?”
is the state motto. There’s a day in fall
when we’re all bronzed, artists
everywhere and kelp are asked
by young artists to be partners. When artists escape
with kelp, you know where they’re from.
In this way I have given you a primer.
Let us all be from somewhere.
Let us all tell each other everything we are.
Ride the Poetry Train! Check out readwritepoem! Write your own primer and paste it as a comment below or as a link! Or join me in trying to write 50 states in 50 days! You might also check out the “mystery box” at poemeleon which is also an inspiration as well as a possible container for this poem…