October 26, 2004

Will I ever get time back so I can sit down and read?

While not sleeping last week I read Eleni Sikelianos' The California Poem. Beautiful, utopian, love poem to California. I'm interested in what gets in to the book and what does not show up. And also wondering how it might be different if Eleni had been living in California recently. Not much about dot com and everything else that has spawned the age of Arnold. Not that much about politics really. And not much about California's complicated identity politics (although these show up at moments). Just a lot of nostalgic love. Here is how it ends:

California keep
on, beneficent
as the sun and sea, I ask you leave
to roll on the first inch

of its shady territory; I believe a hundred dollars
and a year would support me in California
The rest I would pluck from the avocado & lemon tree & the sea

where there is no heavy snow but it is "raining behind my back . . . [amd] your rain
will be my rain," in the discovery of apposites that are not bicoastal

California utterly more sky of the looking everything in the mouth of tidelines
the tip of the snail's horn caught in the eye & ice plant poppy bright by the highway deeps

of bituminous, "how do I notice
while being Am, am reading rocks
nothing and riding the surface" my arm rising
out of the dead ring
with rain
over the

At moments it is too much: "California / gives sqwoosky kisses one by one." But in general just a really sweet book. Can there be too much love of place?

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