Santa Cruz Good Times

Thursday
Sep 18th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Boardwalk Odyssey

ae poetryEditor’s note: Stephen Kessler is the author, most recently of “Scratch Pegasus” (poems, Swan Scythe Press) and “Poems of Consummation” by Vicente Aleixandre (translation, Black Widow Press). He lives in Santa Cruz and is the editor of “The Redwood Coast Review.” "Boardwalk Odyssey" is from a work in progress.

You must pass through the purgatory of the cacophony arcade with its blasting approximations of music and blinking machines that eat your tokens in exchange for noise and flashing wheels of colored lights and bulbs

without the slightest idea. When you emerge into sunlight the Chinese circus is tumbling across the stage above the beach and spellbound mobs are applauding the acrobats, especially the girl in red silk who does handstands on stacks of chairs as if the cable holding her up were pure air, disbelief suspended in space and time. Boys are

throwing baseballs at the same metal milk bottles as always, these games, these rides, these frightful houses haunting eternity with their recurrent hot dogs and fried childhoods, romance of adolescence, eighth-grade girls made up to look like hookers strolling in search of sex when they are, without quite knowing it, sex itself at the dawn of adult regret. Riders of the machines are screaming clamped into their seats by steel bars and you can feel the terror of your first rollercoaster, fear of flying into infinity at Ocean Park in the fifties, your sister and brother powerless to prevent your death, though you have endured and survived these long decades to relive

everything several times over, even this bemusement at the parks of summer where the smells of salt and sugar and bubbling oils and lotions coat one’s skin with a strange nostalgia, current pleasures complicated by consciousness, memory infecting every moment with its endless vanishings and streams of people and their foreign faces recognized as always in the intimacy of myth. Bronzed and fleeting, ancient as Greece itself, you are again anointed with olive oil and laurels as your glistening limbs smile under the strokes of imagined hands, those

of the same girls who tried to seduce Odysseus. The sirens you hear are in your own mind responding to the emergency of remembering everything, just as these refugees hold their phones to photograph moments of escaping play. You and they will return from your journeys tired with tales of perils and wonders beyond your strength to describe.

Photo: Alta Ifland

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Catwalk on the Wild Side

Meet the artists and designers behind this year’s edition of FashionART, SantaCruz’s most outrageous fashion show

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Feeding Frenzy

Culinary journey ‘The Trip to Italy’ isn’t the foodie film you’d expect 

 

Watch List

From Google to the government to data brokers, why your privacy is now a thing of the past
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Sweet Treats

Local cannabis bakers win award for cookies

 

What fashion trends do you want to see, or not see?

Santa Cruz  |  High School Guidance Counselor

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Santa Clara Wine Trail

My memories of growing up in England include my mother pouring port after Sunday dinner—and sometimes a glass of sherry before dinner. My family didn’t drink much wine back then, but we certainly made up for it with the port and sherry.