Santa Cruz Good Times

Nov 30th
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Poetry of Kevin Opstedal

ae_poetryEditor’s note: In this week’s Poetry Corner, we feature the work of Kevin Opstedal who was born in Venice, Calif. He is the publisher of Blue Press Books and is currently unemployed in Santa Cruz. These poems are from the book, “California Redemption Value,” written by Opstedal, published by University of New Orleans Press.

Satan Stole My Surfboard
My heart turns to glass against the
abalone twilight
set as secret coinage
a folded concrete seacliff lament
back among those mile-long shadows
bronze-edged in memory now
making it easy to forget & though you can’t see them
lost souls fly in V-formation
in a part of the sky
dreamed on either side of that
humming interference
buried in the sand
hollowed-out green ocean steel
to rattle them reliquary bones

When the sun slams down behind
the razor-feathered turquoise crest
of the last wave
a fine mist of haze will cancel your eyes
as your precious adrenalin simmers
on the lid of the tide

Endlessly Rocking
The ocean waves never sleep
They suffer from an epic insomnia
Inconceivable to mere mortals
Crashing surf music
Roaring out of a car radio
That picks up the pre-Cambrian
24 hours a day

Playa de los Muertos
The inside of my skull felt as though it had been scraped with a table spoon.  I spoke to leaves that skittered past on the pavement.  Time sped up then slowed down to an agonizing crawl.  If it was true that the mind & the body were one then I was fucked.  Once on a beach just north of Malibu I left my body for a while I think.  I watched walls of sheet glass stand up like vertical swimming pools then crash soundlessly in on themselves.  It was all very quiet.  The girl I was with said later that she thought I had died.  I thought so too but didn’t want to say so.  She had blue eyes that seemed almost silver.  There were broken things in her head.  I guess that was
something we had in common.

57 Cigarettes
I was busy lunging into focus
bending spoons against a wall of rain
& when I turned she was standing there & her eyes
were chrome-plated replicas of the chalice
exempt from the rigors of consecration

Target Practice
That arrow in the heart
wasn’t lodged there it
was just passing through

Love Buzz
The heroine was on heroin
as was the hero
She’s wearing her atomic kimono
& he’s at ground zero

“California Redemption Value” can be found on and sells for $16.95.
Comments (1)Add Comment
written by Max Drake, July 05, 2011
Normally I do not find much in the poetry corner, yet I understand being a part time poet myself, however, this week takes the trophy, beautiful, stunning, such clarity and humility, a real human
weaving all the light and dark threads into a tapestry of his life.

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