This, My Columbia

This, My Columbia
... The Columbia River

" Cosmos Cascading " (10x23)

" Cosmos Cascading " (10x23)
August, 2011 id3300

" Blacking Streaking Black Red " ( Right Corner View )

" Blacking Streaking Black Red " ( Right Corner View )
August, 2011 id3286

Saturday, April 03, 2010

The Bohemian of Carmel Bay ~ by Jay Licata ~

The Bohemian of Carmel Bay

Chase the throe
And the thrill of struggle.
Homestead the soul
And lay down lean and thin and smuggle
Into the opulence of the California coast.

Park-niche Midnight each evening,
With her dark metallic blue paint
Under the shadow of Santa Rosalee
On wharf number two
In the ebb tide summer of ninety three.

Not the tourist wharf -
Replete with seafood restaurants
And shops and curio stands,
Saltwater taffy and espresso peddlers

And boat tours of people watching
The drinkers in the wigwams
Of the whale watchers
On the piers of people,

All within the shorelined distance
Of a boomeranged starfish -
Its twirling tips draw the eye
To its turn and pivot,

Back along a famous cannery row
Of gentrified sardine packing houses,
A la Steinbeck-esque tapestry

...Under the shadow of Santa Rosalee

Each night on the service wharf
Bordering and mooring
The fisher vessels of commerce -
No longer sardine boats
Rather, the squid fishers
Calamari harvesting the night,
With light to draw them up
To the masts of star dappled crosses
In the dark mottled Velvet Sea

...In the shadow of Santa Rosalee.

With some last grandsons of Sicilians,
Their boats seen from across the bay
And the Carmel Beach view

Of night time Christmas candled triangles
Floating on a soft bend sea
For the nets of the Calamari

To the early-light unloading of squid
Other fishes, too
From full-bellied boats
Named for wives and paramours -
Into the sheds that straddle the docks
To gush-rush and slip-slide through chutes
And onto the trucks of Southern-Euro names,
Banner-like spread across their sides,
Extolling the new found power of Family & Sons –

Not like the turning of the Nineteenth Century
Albeit, not unlike any day
Of the ocean giving up her currency
Near the cemeteries of Italian immigrants

And half a hundred miles south
From the Di Maggio Brothers
Who hit the ball long and hard
And watched their Joe
Sweep across diamond framed fields
With the ballet grace of athleticism
And the backdrop of Sardine fisher men,
These grandfathers of baseball players
Who now rest in soil
From days of water and cold and fog

...In the shadows of Santa Rosalee

Where aunts and uncles and darkish-eyed girls
Who brought thin-hard bodies to weddings,
Mostly their own
‘Til later, their little girls
To first communion at San Carlos Cathedral
And whose sometimes Pompeii tempered husbands
Grew boring and provincially bombastic -
Eventually some wives running far off
With blue and pink Scandinavian -American farmers’ boys
From South and North Dakota to Fort Ord
On their way to deaths and trauma
In Southeast Asia

...In the shadows of Santa Rosalee

Yet some having expiated cruel fates
With the sweet and bitter taste and flavor
Of the Mediterranean feminique
As some mamma’s boy princes
To Santa Clara Law School,
Finding red haired girls to marry
Whose grandparents of another novel -
‘The Grapes of Wrath’-
Three generations from the dust bowl,
Now meeting in the irony
Of a pas de deux across the floor
Of the Valley of the Heart’s Delight,
Where the rose dust of San Jose’
Veneers the sweat labor stench of Sardine skin
By the auspice and renaissance
Of each year’s fruit blossom parade
When on Sunday Morning
The wife of the city’s mayor
Rests in the arms of the parish priest
As her family chants Latin
In the mission church that saved
The Ohlone Indians from sins and hell

...Under the long shadows of the Santa Rosalee.

And in the guise and garb of squid fisher-
Though crew member not
Only night time repose lengthwise
Across the bench of Midnight Blue
And against the tat and tatter
Of the tip-toed tattoo

Of harbor patrol lights
And the derelicts both human and wood,
Awakened at the end of fitfulness
By the night shore lapping notes
Of a sea-lioned cacophony
And the waves music of salted air

...In the shadows of Santa Rosalee

And then the stumblers
Into hotel lobbied resting rooms,
Washing away the taint and smirch
Of having fallen from the perch
Of upper class grace
And long legs with lace
While all through the night

The statue of Santa Rosalia –

Thirteen-centuried Sicilian saint,
Stands blessing the fisher boats
For rites of safe passage -
A New York little sister
Holding high mass
For the hovering and gathered masses,

Her seashore liturgy
For the shoals of souls
That beached hard
and lost against the shores,


She now sings God’s encores
In open sky services
Held in harvest-time courtyards
On the public square
Under the arbor and canopy
And the sonata of Santa Rosalee.

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