July 8-15, Santa Cruz Weekly runs "Love Poem - Ode to Santa Cruz," inspired by Garrison Keillor's recent visit and challenge to locals to come up with a poem that does justice to this amazing place. Here's my little offering...
Santa Cruz poet Robert Sward pens an homage to his adopted home.
Ode to Santa Cruz
--For Sandy Lydon
You want a sunrise? asks the poet,
I'll give you a sunrise. Eggplant cirrus clouds,
pinky smoky blue and gray,
pink, moss pink, pink nether flower
yellow white silicon chip
foghorn, windchime, no-color haze.
O City of Mystical Arts and Live Soup,
Antique bathhouse, casino
Riva Fish House,
A busload of German tourists
clam chowder, O scrubbed blue light
melon balls and watermelon shooters,
arcade, pink neon, roller coaster heart-shaped mirror.
KA-BOOM! House begins to dance,
land moves in waves three and four feet high,
weight machines swaying, mirrors rattling,
a sidewalk of broken glass,
a street filled with jewels.
Loma Prieta, The Earthquake of the Dark Hill,
place, this place, always coming back from a disaster.
Natural beauty and unnatural events,
jazz, blues, canoes, tattoos,
I bow and give thanks to the muse,
Santa Cruz, O Santa Cruz!
A resident of Santa Cruz since 1985, Robert Sward has taught at Cornell University, the Iowa Writers' Workshop, UCSC and Cabrillo College. A Fulbright scholar and Guggenheim Fellow, he was chosen by Lucille Clifton to receive a Villa Montalvo Literary Arts Award.
Causes Robert Sward Supports
Audubon Society, National Geographic, "Green," the Environment, SPCA...