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Hōkūle‘a 2014
87” x 144”
by John Babcock

Photo by Linda Babcock

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Jake Young

The Scenic Route Home

Along West Cliff Drive, before the fog rolls in
off the coast and the poppies close, thick orange patches

stretch toward the sun, fans waving in the ocean breeze.
Today, even the ice plant seems to drift,

the tips tinged red, bursting occasionally to expose
tassels of white, yellow, pink, and purple flowers

that move like the tendrils of the sea anemones
that wait below the cliff’s edge in the tide pools

to catch small fish or crabs that stray too close.
All across town, the dogwoods bloom,

and silkworms trail from the trees, the branches
tangled with gauze that unspools overhead.


I’ve been drunk for days, or maybe weeks now,
on nature’s beauty, on the streams
and groves of twisted oaks, the wild irises in bloom

all a short distance from my cabin. Each morning
I sit and look at the bay, and in the evenings
I watch the fog draw near, and the cold air

against my face reminds me it’s time to go in,
a soft voice that sings you can’t stay here forever.
How long do you expect to stay drunk?

As long as I can! As long as there are still
fieldsof wildflowers, as long as the wind
whispers through the grass and I can feel

the earth, a blossom I hold in my hand
like a fallen song bird wrapped in rags,
a drunkenness that never ends.


Yield to the clouds that pass overhead,
to their shadows on the February hills,
yield to the grass that drinks in the light,
yield to the hammock,
to gravity, to afternoon naps,
to a beer before noon,
yield to bird-watching, hiking,
to listening
to the cry of coyotes at dawn
or the rustle of the grass
blowing in the wind,
yield to music and dancing,
yield to the deer that graze at sunset,
to frogs, to beetles,
to birds of all kinds,
yield to the river,
to the water that polishes stones,
yield to the night,
to the stars,
to sunsets and the lunar eclipse,
yield to moonshine
and home-made wine,
yield to silence,
yield to leaves,
yield to the passing wind.



A heron, a sleek harpoon
shot across the sky,
follows the grey clouds south.
In the park, I pick up
a red maple leaf pocked
with sable and gold.
I twirl the stem
between my fingers,
and carry the leaf
to the fire escape
behind my apartment,
above the tattoo parlor,
where the scent of
jasmine drifts between
two buildings,
their windows broken
and boarded up.
Shingles flake off
the teal Victorian
across the street, paint
peels from the walls,
and soon, autumn too
will be gone.

Jake Young lives in Santa Cruz, California, and received his MFA from North Carolina State University. His most recent work appears or is forthcoming in Miramar, Fjords Review, Windfall: A Journal of Poetry of Place, Poecology, pacificREVIEW, The Commonline Journal and Cloudbank. Last spring he attended the 2014 Djerassi Resident Artists Program. Jake is also the poetry editor for the Chicago Quarterly Review.

Wallace J Nichols
Micah Perks

Danusha Laméris
Debra Spencer
Gary Young
Jake Young

John Babcock

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