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Oct 25th
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The Poems of Charles Atkinson

AE poetryEditor’s note: Charles Atkinson has lived in Santa Cruz for 40 years. He is the author of five prize-winning volumes of poetry. The poems included here are from his most recent collection, “World News, Local Weather,” from Finishing Line Press (2013). To contact the author, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

Visitor

At first I’d step into that room, eyes

down, braced as if something were

coiled beneath his bed. But he would

without fail slide his mottled

arm of bone from under sheets

to find my hand. I’d fold his claw—

still warm—in both my mitts and hold it

till I felt his flutter-pulse;

then I’d start to breathe again.

One day I smelled what huddled under

that bed: my poorest frightened self.

I lifted it, shaking, almost weightless,

into my lap and stroked its cool—

There now, dying looks like this.

ae bookToday I’m at his shoulder, to follow

the jagged breaths where they go,

surprised—not that I can love him,

but that I might love myself.

 

After Wildfire

New Camaldoli Hermitage, Big Sur

The floor of hell could look like this: chalky

orange clay, exploded rock, black stumps.

Shredded pine roots from a ‘dozer’s firebreak.

Thousands of silent acres charred, inert.

Not a leaf on the hillside—till you kneel

in dirt: bindweed tendril, bracken nubs,

poison oak’s buds bronze in the ash. Why are

the noxious always most eager, first to return?

Beside the chapel, wren so quick to change

direction on a twig, faster than the eye:

now east—bald ridge—now west—the sheer Pacific—

intent on aphids from a potted rose.

Rain slides down an iron chain from eave

to ground, a rusty rippled sleeve. Each link

a wavering lens that frames the bell tower—

tiny silver towers stacked to the gutter.

Matins for the Mystery—blaze, vine,

bug, bird. They eddy out the chapel,

tufts of milkweed floss shaken loose

by wind, seeds above bare ground.

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Santa Cruz Restaurant Week

A huge part of Santa Cruz Restaurant Week has always been about offering a great dining experience for an affordable price. For some locals, the $25 flat-rate cost has provided the opportunity (or the excuse!) to try new spots, and indulge in Santa Cruz fine dining in a way they might have thought too pricey before.

 

Scorpio Sun, New Moon Eclipse, Mercury Direct

The Sun enters Scorpio’s mysteries Thursday under a new moon and partial solar eclipse (something essential has come to an end, its purpose completed). In Scorpio we harbor secrets, are devoted to something deep, dark and hidden. Sometimes it’s ourselves. We can bring great suspect to our assessment of others. Scorpio is the scorpion, the serpent and the eagle—three levels of development. As the serpent we take shelter in our beliefs. Sometimes we bite (or sting). The eagle vanquishes old beliefs through its sharp intellect, soaring high in the air, seeking to understand through perspective. Understanding releases us from the bondage of fear. The eagle is like the mother soothing feelings of mistrust, offering protection. Knowledge does this, too.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Light Humor

College comedy questions a post-racial America in ‘Dear White People’
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