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Apr 24th
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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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Best of Santa Cruz County 2014

The 2014 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll Come on in, and have a look around. There’s a lot to see—hundreds of winners selected by thousands of GT readers across Santa Cruz County. So if some of this looks familiar, it’s probably because you helped make it happen. But there are always new things to discover, too—you could go to a different winner or runner-up every day in the Food and Drink category alone, and you’d be booked just about until next year’s Best of Santa Cruz County issue comes out.

 

Something Essential Disappears

Lunar and solar eclipses follow one another. Lunar eclipses occur at full moons, and solar eclipses at new moons. Two weeks ago at the full moon we had the blood red moon—a total lunar eclipse (the next one is Oct. 8). On Monday night, April 28 (new moon), as the Sun, Moon and Earth align, a solar eclipse (Sun obscured) occurs. Eclipses signify something irrevocably is changed in our world. The Sun is our essential life force. Monday’s new moon, 9 degrees Taurus, is also an annular solar eclipse when the Moon moves centrally in front of the Sun, yet does not cover the Sun completely. The Sun's outer edges, still visible, form a “ring of fire” around the Moon.

 

Sugar: The New Tobacco?

Proposed bill would require warning labels on sugary drinks Will soda and other saccharine libations soon come with a health warning? They will if it’s up to our state senator, Bill Monning (D-Carmel). On Feb. 27, Monning proposed first-of-its-kind legislation that would require a consumer warning label be placed on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in California. SB 1000, also known as the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, was proposed to provide vital information to consumers about the harmful effects of consuming sugary drinks, such as sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened teas.

 

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