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Shelby Graham

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Joanna Martin

Santa Cruz Blue

Oh, Santa Cruz! Bluest county
in the bluest blue state blue.

Blue ocean blue.

Blue morning sky blooming at the horizon,
commingling air and light
and whitecaps blue.

Blue mist spinning figures spectral
along the shoreline blue.

Blue ice plant on the cliff I
wrestled in with my husband
when we first met,
puppies in love blue.

Blue ocean I dive into,
swim with mermaids,
feel my legs scale, my feet tail
as I skin slip liquid
with my nautical sisters,
kick, twist, fin bluer blue.

Blue breath blue.

Blue whale mapping the depths
of Monterey canyon,
imbibing constellations
of krill, spinning underwater stars,
before crossing the bay
stitching back and forth along the rocks
at the yacht harbor
—Oh, lonely whale!—putting on a show
for sunbather’s applause blue.

Blue fog layering surrounding mountain ranges
shades of sawtooth blue.

Blue bruised shadows of protesters
from all walks fanning out
across asphalt
beneath the town clock,
lengthening, interlocking
larger-than-life ideologies blue.

Blue-haired Raging Grannies
belting out folk songs of protest blue.

Blue grey carcass of the last beached whale
decomposing in Davenport shale blue.

Blue breathless blue.

Blue heron dipping yellow beak
into eternal waters blue.

Blue sea glass rolled over and over
with every other color, sea glass rainbow blue.

Blue cotton candy at the Boardwalk blue.

Blue steel—oh, stay away!—cargo ships
at the horizon, stay away from our whales,
our dolphins, our mermaids blue.

Blue ocean imbibing the cement ship
carcass, inch by yearly inch we witness
the slowest burial at sea ever blue.

Blue womb-waters birthing seals and sharks
plankton and anemones
starfish and otters and surfers blue.

Blue prayers hushed into clasped hands:
Unitarian hands, Catholic hands, Jewish hands,
Episcopalian, Islamic, atheist hands,
anarchist hands, Democratic hands,
Republican hands, Peace and Freedom hands,
Mexican, Japanese, African American hands,
Caucasian hands, Pacific Islander hands, woman hands,
man hands, LGBT hands blue.

Blue my pink pussy heart’s wish
—Oh, Someday!—
bluest county
in the bluest state
in the bluest country
within a beautiful blue world blue.



Joanna Martin began writing poetry thirty years ago when she moved to Santa Cruz. Something about the reflection of stars in the midnight sea, something about humpbacks breaching secrets at the harbor mouth, something about the murmur of mermaids in dreams, something about words crashing the jetty, something about lighthouse beams sweeping the ocean clean, something about everything losing bounds in the boundless sea.

In Celebration of the Muse
Jean Walton Wolff
Patrice Vecchione
Dena Taylor
Lisa Simon
Dee Roe
Joanna Martin
Cindy Knoebel
Rosie King
Helene Simkin Jara
Kate Hitt
Clifford Henderson
Carolyn Brigit Flynn
Sigrid Erro
Margaret Brose
Carol Brendsel
Barbara Bloom

Featured Artist
Shelby Graham


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