“t’is California–“ says the voice in the sky

pacific coast highway

 .

the meter eats my coins
in rough exchange for parking time,
spits minutes, quarter
hours with metallic tongue & i
buy drinks for change
to feed its hungry mouth,

then sink into pacific waves
& golden sand grains (so cliché–)

1:30 in the night, i wake,
bury my head between a thousand
pillows in a bed too big without you,
and pretend to sleep like some pretend
to be awake, & none of us–
successful (work cell rings), &

he sits in the sand, head bent over
the guitar, face hidden in a wood
of curly hair & i sync softly
with the latin californian beat

“Move a bit further cause the light
is in your back–“, surfer pose,

chrzsch–
 ———-snap–
 ————–snap–
 ——————–snap– says

he studies BWL– economy & how the wind ‘s
a playmate to the waves with
white & frothy teeth

“Keep right, then eXit at–“

i wonder what it is that’s free
on freeways, ask the voice up in the sky but
he just blinKs, 5 lanes, marked
with blood red arrows—i

check traffic in the rearview
 ———-&
a hungry sea licks up my sweaty legs
with cold and salty tongue until the seam
of my burgundy dress curls
like a crab that dances
a lunatic showdown
to the waves’ enchanting beat

.

Victoria has a fantastic MeetingTheBar prompt for us at dVerse today– it’s all about enjambement and things that don’t seem to fit together…being still jet-lagged, this was the perfect prompt for me…smiles…hope to see you when the doors open at 3pm EST

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52 responses to ““t’is California–“ says the voice in the sky

  1. Aw … I wanna be there … this poem’s the closest I’ll get for now, but one day, Claudia, one day. You have the amazing knack of making your poetry zing ~ I feel like I’m there with you seeing, hearing, using all the senses ~ fab.

  2. Really neat look at California. Never been there, but hope to one day. Love the way you describe the sights there, but even better, it’s the little lines, reflections, you incorporate subtly, yet have dramatic meaning, like the bed being too big, very nicely done.

  3. A miraculous poem. I came out here after a dream. I was laying in bed trying hard not to freeze to death in the middle of a St Paul Winter, and Brian Wilson came to me from out of a cloud and said “Come to California”. The best choice I have ever made.

  4. this is really cool claudia, you blended a lot in a verse that is not very long….i love the opening on the feeding the machine, and then you bring in your feelings of loneliness being away from hubs….i know that feeling, so i feel for you…the beach again and the guy with the guitar….getting directions…..its really cool and has us right there…nice use of the enjambment as well, some fun, others….nicely done..have a wonderful day!

  5. Lovely poem, Claudia – great enjambment – and lovely run from feeding quarters to free-way and crabbed seam freed legs. Enjoyed. Hair like wood. (Mine like wood after firestorm!) Ha. k.

  6. You brought back images of California for me. Love your words. I’d miss hubby too if I was alone there, and you made me chuckle at your experience with the meters. I had to get used to those little road thieves too Nice to play with t.he ocean. Enjoy.

  7. When you clock watch the time seems to stand still, until you put money into a parking meter and then it just zooms away! Love this tiny look at California. I didn’t know they had bright blood red arrows pointing directions. The sea and surf sound lovely. Sorry you’re missing hubs so bad…aww No doubt you’ll soon be home.

  8. Ha, I empathize with buying a drink to get coins to feed the meter! Somehow you never end up having enough; and I hate having extra coins in a foreign currency as they always end up being wasted. I still have a little coin purse of Euro coins left, pretty useless but.I guess maybe I will hang on to them. I must say you’re pretty brave driving those freeways. Better you than me. But, of course, it is probably quite similar in craziness to the autobahn!!

  9. How I missed Cali reading your verse, one of my favorite places to visit but usually up north where the beaches are stormy and lined with redwoods. You make the prompt really enticing so I’ll have to try to join. Wonderful, gorgeous descriptors, and the sense, as always, that we’ve stowed away in your luggage.

  10. I stopped by earlier and thought I commented, but it’s okay b/c I enjoyed reading it again. I especially like:

    1:30 in the night, i wake,
    bury my head between a thousand
    pillows in a bed too big without you,
    and pretend to sleep like some pretend
    to be awake, & none of us–
    successful (work cell rings), &

    …and the ending.

  11. Glad to see you’re in my part of the world…my first years in SoCal were a bit like parts of your poem…now I just avoid certain areas…but love driving down PCH.

  12. 1:30 in the night, i wake,
    bury my head between a thousand
    pillows in a bed too big without you,
    and pretend to sleep like some pretend
    to be awake

    If you don’t like that, you don’t know what good writing is. Excellent! Great movement in this piece as well.

  13. Sounds amazing, all that buzz… here I have the golden sands…sometimes white sands, the sun all but that buzz..it sounds so hectic but you make it sound luxurious. Always a delight!

  14. “then sink into pacific waves
    & golden sand grains (so cliché–)”

    Having visited from UC Berkeley, I found this to be true and even logical–the meter, the beach, the precious light and looks, the tiredness without sleep yet spacey looking gearing up to sit in traffic. I hope you enjoyed a bit of friendship, film, stage and scenery when you were there, leaving the “voice in the sky” for the narrator of your poem.

  15. When I read Victoria’s prompt at dVerse, I immediately thought of you, Claudia. No one uses enjambment as powerfully or effectively as you. Today’s piece is no disappointment. The breaks in cadence emphasize points and words most effectively. Nice, as always, work.

  16. “and pretend to sleep like some pretend
    to be awake”

    These lines really jumped out at me. I think there are times when I may be among the sleeping pretending to be awake. Really profound observation.

  17. I really love this one. The image and writing just paint such a strong image in my mind and soul. I just felt a real connection. It’s the same kind of connection I felt when I read Sam Shepards MOTEL CHRONICLES. I enjoy your work. 🙂

  18. The start of your poem sounded a lot like Los Angeles, when your trying to shop on Melrose and at other famous places as you rush through a sea of cars. Cool

  19. Really like. As I read a few of the responses to this prompt, I see a similarity in all our poems which is hard to put into words, but which has to do with mindfulness of two things at once; an enhancement of mindfulness because of seeing something through the lens of another thing.

  20. Lots of great images and line breaks:

    “and pretend to sleep like some pretend
    to be awake, & none of us–
    successful”

    “he sits in the sand, head bent over
    the guitar, face hidden in a wood
    of curly hair & i sync softly”

    “a hungry sea licks up my sweaty legs”

    My absolute favorite:

    “like a crab that dances
    a lunatic showdown”

    Love what you did with “sync”/”sink.”

  21. Someone noticed the randomness of the poem. That’s what gives it a modernist feel – the ability to stay in the moment, even if it leads you to a cliche, or to a stray thought about the word ‘freeway’. Also, yes, that wonderful double-meaning in ‘sync’…

    You continue to amaze me.

    M

  22. …yes, stray thoughts and ability to pick up on the nuances…’ditto’ to all the above comments ..reminded me of my last trip to San Diego…

    • Your photograph above lead me to your very poetic [descriptive and “comfortable”] words:“the meter eats my coins

      in rough exchange for parking time,
      spits minutes, quarter
      hours with metallic tongue & i
      buy drinks for change
      to feed its hungry mouth,

      then sink into pacific waves
      & golden sand grains (so cliché–) “

      Thanks, for sharing your enjambed (Sp) with-in your poem:“t’is California–“ says the voice in the sky…

  23. can feel the trip to the west coast! what’s free on the freeway 😉 yeah 😉

    and that last paragraph is like the area’s power finally taking hold of you

    nice portrait claudia, thanks 😉

  24. The use of enjambment activates your words and phrases–you’ve captured the essence of Cali time and space and enhanced it with a feeling of disorientation associated with jet lag and time change.

  25. Bravo. You captured the allure of California with the waves and the light turquoise blue color of your photo. The free in freeway is well the freeing effect where dreams might occur in Hollywood, at least that used to be. I believe people ventured there to be a star….the allusive feeling of making it. Hope you had a great time!

  26. Capturing California here! And to do so always means diverse elements. Love the rhythm, the Pacific lapping, the white & green, the music, the exquisite juiciness of it all expressed in your inimitable way. This is closer to the real America…what’s next Oklahoma and Texas? Let me know! It’s BIG country out here!

  27. You paint a good picture of razzamatazz impersonal hotels car fumes and the beach.Like you wearing the burgundy dress in the surf…very anita Eckberg in La Dolce Vita.Very you:)

  28. your line breaks work as splendidly as the water to shore. this poem excites Ca. for me. the highway, the water, the heat. “i wonder what it is that’s free on freeways” I love this line and its broad question.

  29. You’ve captured my heart on this one, Claudia. I was raised in CA and could not begin to tell you of the days spent on the beach and traveling down Pacific Coast Highway. With every word it was as though I was home again. Thank You!