I Know What I Like
Sometimes you can gauge the size of the mountains in the distance
Through the desert haze; sometimes
They’re inert ghosts. Sometimes
The desert is a placemat with a maze on the back
Leading you here.
The floor of the valley, flecked
With mechanical mosquitoes, sucking the black blood out of the earth,
Even a hundred years later, still thirsty
For the wealth beneath the weepy end
Of the River Kern.
Here are the bastard offspring of a truck farmer
Who knew a good thing when he saw it:
An outpost for weary travelers, a green slash on a canvas of brown,
An oasis in the desert.
An enclave in the nowhere that is now here,
An outpost, in what might be
The last, best place in California,
Just a speck on the edge
Of fly-over country, where the bad habits born of desperation
Fall away like the memories of yesteryear’s World of Tomorrow,
Pre-cast concrete balustrades fitted with faded aluminum fins.
From the eager immigrants
Ready to begin the beguine, produce the produce,
Sluice the juice from the crust of the earth,
Now suburban commandoes, ready
Which is, after all, fairly silly, but at least it reflects how I feel about the place.