Santa Cruz Good Times

Oct 13th
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Poetry Corner

AE_POETRY1Editor’s note: In this week’s Poetry Corner, we feature poet Ron Slate’s first book of poems, “The Incentive of the Maggot,” (Houghton Mifflin 2005), which was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle poetry prize. His second book from Houghton, “The Great Wave,” was published this year. Slate maintains a literary book review, "On the Seawall," at He lives in Milton, Mass.


A horn blaring and the gut-smash of metal –

I heard the crash and swiveled
on my stool in the Arcadia.

Two drivers met in the street,
chastened and faultless.

Pieces of chrome and glass --

so much care taken not to step
in the spreading puddle of antifreeze.

As children we played in the parking lot
of the hospital, hearing the siren
long before an ambulance arrived.

A policeman said “you kids go home.”

As teens we worked as orderlies,
suddenly we could be trusted to look,
but I soon preferred to avert my eyes.

Notorious intersection,
too costly to redesign.

The insipid righteousness of pedestrians.

Cited, a shaken man,
protesting his innocence --

he took the stool beside me, awaiting the tow,

AE_POETRY2beneath the bleached print of the Parthenon
and a giant gyro hovering above it
poised to punish or nourish Athens.

You’re my witness, he said,
you saw what happened.

But I didn’t see anything,
I heard the sound of what occurred,
and then I turned to look.


Lion of God

Some remember me from those days,
not by that name, given to me,
but by the breach between name and boy.

At ten I pronounced the unspeakable
name of God, my teacher rose from his chair,
dragged me by the scruff, then shook me

in his teeth. Speaking the word to make
a pleasing sound, I neglected
to consider the significance,

committing a grave offense.
Thus I was transformed by terror,
my classmates looking on,

and in the space between name and child
arose fear, respect, contempt,
wonder, loss of faith, awe of the eternal.

I took my seat and read on, wary now
of meaning but loving the lilt, relying now on rhythm
so that time may never be interrupted again.

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Mercury Direct in Libra, Columbus Day, Libra New Moon

Mercury completes its retrograde Friday, poised stationary direct Friday evening at zero degrees Libra. Mercury begins its journey through Libra once again, completing its retrograde shadow Oct. 12. Things should be a bit less complicated by then. Daily life works better, plans move forward, large purchases can be made, and communication eases. Everything on hold during the retrograde is slowly released. Since we eliminated all thoughts and ideas no longer needed (the purpose of Mercury’s retrograde) during the retrograde, we can now gather new information—until the next retrograde occurs on Jan. 5, 2016 (1.3 degrees Aquarius), retrograding back to 15 degrees Capricorn on Jan. 25. It’s good to know beforehand when Mercury will retrograde next—Jan. 5, the day before Epiphany. On Monday is Columbus Day, when the sailor from Genoa arrived in the new lands (Americas), Oct. 12, 1492. This discovery by Columbus was the first encounter of Europeans with Native Americans. Other names for this day are “Discovery Day, Day of the Americas, Cultural Diversity Day, Indigenous People’s Day, and Dia de la Raza.” Italian communities especially celebrate this day. Oct. 12 is also Thanksgiving Day in Canada. Monday is also the (19 degrees) Libra new moon festival. Libra’s keynote while building the personality is, “Let choice be made.” Libra is the sign of making life choices. Often under great tension of opposing forces seeking harmony and balance. There is a battle between our lower (personality) and higher selves (soul). We are tested and called to cultivate right judgment and love. When we align with the will-to-good, right choice, then right judgment and love/wisdom come forth. Our tasks in Libra. 


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