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Photo by Jory Post

Originally conceived as “local color” pieces for a column in the Santa Cruz Weekly, these hybrid prosems have evolved into a work in progress examining the author’s relation to certain places and attempting to evoke life lived “on location,” in the moment, and in the swirl of sensory perception, language and consciousness.


Unchained Buddha

Somebody, maybe a chipmunk, shat on the Buddha.  So soon since I took the chain and Master lock from around his neck and set him on the retaining wall above the succulents.  Surely it must mean good luck.  But the fire truck pulling up next door at dusk and now idling in the street while the paramedics work inside does not bode well for this otherwise excellent Sunday when the swells were coming in sets for the surfing contest and the multitudes came to the cliffs for January’s angle on light and dogs on leashes met up and got briefly acquainted.  Like us, only more honestly animalistic, sniffing each other intimately.  The fumes of the fabric softener spewing from the clothesdryer next door right through the honeysuckle are as sickening as cigarette smoke but like the skateboarders across the street and the geezers on their front porches and the squirrels tightroping along the power cables, they’re part of the neighborhood ecosystem.  We are all in the soup together, as Michael McClure once said, if not exactly on the same page or even in the same ballpark.  We share only the street where the screeching tires and the screaming farting motorbikes compete with more indigenous noises like the rooster a few doors down, those skateboards scraping the asphalt, garage bands practicing, and of course the mockers.  Why do birds sing?  Why can’t a man retire to his bungalow and be left alone to do nothing, instead of be driven to register every tremor on his seismograph?  How much music can we take pumped through these earbuds until nothing is all we hear?  The sky turns a cooler blue as soon as the sun goes under giving the evening a good shot of Beauty that outlives the flu and almost every news flash, a nuanced indigo of relief and sweet melancholy without regret, of blue gratitude for everything, every ordeal endured, every kiss.  Whatever is said here stays here, as if a shrink were listening, or a confidante in bed in some Hollywood hotel.  Why did the chipmunk shit on the Buddha?  To be enlightened.  

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