California Poet Laureate Al Young will visit Crescent City on April 13 as a part of his "Top to Bottom Tour" of rural and "out of the way" towns around the state.
While here, Young will make visits to two schools and will sign copies of his most recent book of poetry, "Coastal Nights and Inland Afternoons," at a 5:30 p.m. chamber mixer. The mixer will be held in a tent near the Del Norte Public Library, where winners of The Daily Triplicate/Business Im-provement District's youth poetry contest will also read their works.
Young and local poet Ken Letko will give a poetry reading beginning at 7 p.m. inside the library, for which a $2 donation is requested.
Here are some select poems from Young's book:
Divide a house against itself and truth still holds,
The house, the home, the household where you dwell
someplace that counts, that needs to countwill fall.
Eco in Latin means just that. Economy, ecology
sizzle up from a dialect with an army to defend
and spread its sounded ways of thinking look-and-see.
"Ba-Ba-Bar Bar-Barbara Ann" was what Romans heard
from tongues that did not speak to them. Barbarians
they called such babblers. And now at every gate
you enter or approach, barbarians stand watch.
Like another kind of echo, it bounces back: the slaughter,
the rape, the thieving massacres. Your very daughter
cringes at your approach. Stealing from Peter to pay Peter
puts Paul at risk again and then some. You put it back
together stone by stone. You finally get it straight.
What thunders down through time feels nothing like a horse,
not even one with wings. What runs through time is us
and us and us and us; there never was, nor is there now, an other.
Really no reason to keep notes,
to nose around with no one here
to hear what you favor or see.
Loneliness arrives in so many flavors,
everybody's got something to savor.
Cloud-watching'll trump cloud-catching
anytime. The way to seed a cloud: just take it
in and look inside of you; the story's there.
The pictures clouds suggest rush by
like living forms of any kind, informed
and warming to the breath of lifetimes.
What big-time plays have skies put on?
What stories, what grand narratives?
What soul-tales sweep the rushed horizon now?
The play of light on clouds: dramatic dreaming.
Cumulus, stratus, cirrus, nimbusclouds are us.
Darkness, Its Very Hang and Feel
To sit in the dark and write about love
what could you be talking about?
Cooling, soft shadows, the little town
buried under the city, the woods and trees
or desert before the town emerged,
no margin for error, nothing terrifying,
just love rolling off your fingertips
part one, part two, part-time, partytime, oooh
big notes, little notes, fattening flats;
shimmering (make that shimmying) sharps.
You know how you talk when love comes down.
The way the world worked back in olden times
you came into this world backwards, came
out of the very blackberry darkness you knew
you'd circle back to, crying again; a place
where light gets farmed. Does quiet light shout,
or does it sigh? Lay you to rest down there
where you can be the sun, where you can actualize.
The Elvis I Knew Well Was Spiritual
The Elvis I knew well was spiritual.
The books he'd read on mystics, yoga, Jung
and Jesus, Buddhalong before your digital
technology kicked in and Mao Tse-Tung
became an icon you could clickhe tried
to buy enlightenment. He thought a check
might do the trick: big bucks, love tendered, wide
and blank. No deal. No Ouija board, no deck
of tarot cards could trump his fate. His star
beamed underneath (or far beyond) the God
he knew as blackness, gospel, blues. As far
as light-years went, Elvis could ride and nod.
He couldn't get high on glory, glamour, fame.
Blissless, he drugged you with his moves, his name.
The Alchemy of Destiny
Eternal nights have been known to surface in a day
and never melt away except in quick neglect.
On a blanket of insect sound, under a garden of stars,
night: the side of you that not so much hungers
as thirsts. Years before we left our star-based homes,
ancestral codes were sewn into us, twisted there,
glazed and mapped onto the DNA of our story
beginnings so that we might never forget the origin.
Cricket cricket cricket cricket cricketlanguage
gauged to soothe while inwardly it startles, then
memorizes its moves. On a planet programmed
for electrifying connections, muted, mutable,
all mood and no work, the alchemy of destiny is prized.